Archive for 2018

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[ecrea] Journal of Fandom Studies 6.2 published

Tue Sep 25 04:21:18 GMT 2018

Intellect is delighted to announce that the Journal of Fandom Studies 6.2 is now available! For more information about the journal, click here >>

Special issue: Queerbaiting


Introduction: Queerbaiting

Authors: Joseph Brennan
Page Start: 105

Fans employ ‘queerbaiting’ to call out media producers and performers who they believe have deliberately inserted homoerotic subtext in order to court a queer following and yet never actualize this subtext; it has attracted a level of cultural currency in the popular and scholarly field. In this introduction to the Journal of Fandom Studies special issue on the topic, the issue’s guest editor sets out how the term has developed in extant scholarship, including more recent expansion to account for manifest queerness deemed negative. Articles of the present collection, five in total, are then introduced in line with their connection with current debates and how they advance understandings of the term. Future research directions for scholars writing on the topic are also considered.

A genealogy of queerbaiting: Legal codes, production codes, ‘bury your gays’ and ‘The 100 mess’

Authors: Elizabeth Bridges
Page Start: 115

Contemporary queerbaiting is a historically situated phenomenon that in significant ways parallels reactions to nineteenth-century legal-medical discourse on the nature of homosexuality, and the subsequent punishment of it through enforcement of sodomy laws and/or blackmail against (primarily) gay men. In the twentieth century, movie and TV morality codes enacted a parallel dynamic of enforcement and punishment, at first with the banning of any mention of homosexuality altogether. Later, as codes relaxed and homosexuality became visible on-screen, film and TV moved from silencing to punishing, with the tendency kill queer characters or otherwise present them as miserable and morally compromised. The ‘bury your gays’ (BYG) trope, a phenomenon adjacent to queerbaiting, developed out of these decades of the enforcement-punishment dynamic and continues even decades after the codes lost sway. In contemporary television, where queerness is no longer entirely taboo, queerbaiting often gives way to canon queer characters, who are still killed at vastly disproportionate rates compared with their heterosexual counterparts. The fandom of one such character – Lexa, killed off from the American CW network’s series The 100 in March 2016 – brought the dual problems of queerbaiting and BYG into the open via a series of unprecedentedly well-coordinated media actions that have, perhaps, led TV writers to rethink how they present their queer characters in the context of socially aware, interactive audiences.

The contest of queerbaiting: Negotiating authenticity in fan–creator interactions

Authors: Michael McDermott
Page Start: 133

Queerbaiting emerged as a named phenomenon through fan communities challenging the purportedly intentional exploitation of their queer sensibilities and desires. Analysing how this dynamic is staged through fan–creator interactions is paramount to understanding queerbaiting. I suggest that ownership over and claim of a single, authentic textual meaning and story is at the heart of the contest of queerbaiting. I employ fans and creators of the television shows Supernatural and Teen Wolf as case studies and analyse their interactions in online videos of fan conventions. I argue that the authenticity and commitment to a supposedly singular meaning is negotiated in these interactions through the humorous sexualization of the actors and characters. My central argument is that fan–creator contestations demonstrate that accusations of queerbaiting ultimately rely on notions of authorial intention and control.

‘Smile, Derek. Why don’t you smile more?’: The objectification of Derek Hale and queerbaiting in MTV’s Teen Wolf

Authors: Jaquelin Elliott And Megan Fowler
Page Start: 145

Holding in mind Barbara Creed’s assertion that the werewolf is a ‘feminized male monster, a queer creature aligned to the primal uncanny’, this article explores gender trouble and queerbaiting in MTV’s Teen Wolf – a series infamous in online fan circles for baiting fan favourite pairing Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski (dubbed ‘Sterek’ by fans) while largely failing to fulfil its promises of dynamic, three-dimensional LGBTQ representation. This article enumerates the queer cues embedded in Stiles and Derek’s narratives, paying special attention to Stiles’ implied bisexuality and Derek’s constant objectification by the camera, repeated sexual victimization, and the often queered repositioning of his body into the role of ‘damsel in distress’. By doing so, this article attempts to contextualize Teen Wolf fans’ reasons for shipping Sterek and will argue that this queer reading is indeed not a ‘willful misreading’, but one drawing upon a complex web of queer affect and queerbaiting in the show. This article will also examine the ways in which fans use both fan works and social media not only to explore readings of Derek and Stiles as queer and fight back against queerbaiting, but also to articulate the reparative potential of a consensual relationship with Stiles for Derek’s healing from his repeated trauma.

The homoerotics of the boyband, queerbaiting and RPF in pop music fandoms

Authors: Emily E. Roach
Page Start: 167

This article analyses pop music fandoms, exploring the relationship between LGBT communities and popular music, the homoerotics of the nineties boyband, Nick Jonas and performative allyship, the phenomenon of One Direction and related slash ship, Larry Stylinson and the queer appeal of solo artist and former One Direction member, Harry Styles. Through these examples, this article explores the trends towards marketing and styling boybands with an eye towards homosexual men and heterosexual teenage girls and/or a large fandom producing queer works of ‘Real Person Fiction’. This article interrogates the perilous line between being baited for economic gain and the transformative possibilities of queer coded pop and homoerotic subtext, which can have an affirmational impact on queer fans. It considers the problems with making incomplete assumptions about fandom demographics and draws out complexities involved when real lives and sexualities are at the forefront of anti-queerbaiting rhetoric and fan activism takes a toxic turn. The article explains why ‘queerbaiting’, as the term has been broadly defined in relation to fictional narratives, is not quite the right terminology to use when interrogating the behaviour of pop stars and their interactions with the fandoms built around them

Slashbaiting, an alternative to queerbaiting

Authors: Joseph Brennan
Page Start: 187

This article analyses discourse on gay and lesbian Internet forum DataLounge that discusses homoeroticism in the BBC’s Merlin. Merlin is a cult series that is commonly associated with the ‘queerbaiting’ phenomenon, a fan activist term that criticizes unrealized homoerotic suggestiveness in mainstream texts. Textual analysis is performed on seven relevant threads created between 2009 and 2012, which have attracted in excess of 700 responses. The threads were authored by predominately gay men and align with the airing of the series, commentators posting in real time. Focus is given in the analysis to discussion of homoeroticism in the text, in particular on how this homoeroticism is interpreted by viewers. Notably, across this sample, homoeroticism in Merlin is discussed in a celebratory way, with no mention of queerbaiting or the exploitative connotations that underscore the term. In fact, such homoeroticism is routinely described as a form of ‘fan service’ across the sample. The study provides empirical evidence that a sizeable proportion of the Merlin viewership (gay men) have a more ‘playful’ approach to the queerbaiting phenomenon. The discourse also supports the coining of a new term, ‘slashbaiting’, which is in line with a view of homoeroticism in contemporary media as a form of fan service, in particular for slash fans.

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