In June 2021, pop music singer Billie Eilish put out the music television to her newly released single, “ Lost Cause. ” The video features Eilish at a sleepover with a handful of her girlfriend friends. As a promotion for the television, she posted a fixed of photos of sub-rosa moments with the caption : “ I love girls. ” Soon after, her comments were flooded with questions about whether or not she was coming out .
This photograph set caused her to be one of the many celebrities in holocene years that have been the topic of queerbaiting accusations. Amid the on-line hold forth, however, one Twitter drug user uploaded a pinch that absolutely summed up the current seat where this discussion stands in our cultural landscape. “ The conversation around queerbaiting has reached a confuse station — on the one hand, we say preceptor ’ t worry [ about ] labels, ” they wrote. “ and on the early hand, if an artist presents even remotely ‘ thwart ’ we interrogate them [ about ] their sex ? ”

What is queerbaiting?

The term queerbaiting is building complex and convoluted but can briefly be defined as being when “ a celebrity or a public figure capitalizes on the intuition that they may be romantically involved with another same-sex person for the sake of promotion, promotion or a capitalistic acquire, ” film maker, writer and militant Leo Herrera tells Rolling Stone. He says media makers “ play with our miss of representation and desires to get us in the theaters or get us to watch. ”

When the Pixar film Luca was released earlier this year, social media users drew comparisons to the 2017 film, “ Call Me By Your name ” and the New York Times even titled their reappraisal “ Calamari By Your Name. ” The studio apartment was accused of alluding to a thwart kinship between the two main characters, but the director belated shot down the rumors saying it was precisely about friendships .
While the Oxford English Dictionary recently recognized the term in March 2021, it ’ randomness been used in the cultural dictionary for decades. According to Julia Himberg, conductor and consociate professor of Film and Media Studies at Arizona State University, the origins can be traced back to the early days of the internet when there was less denotative LGBTQ representation in media on fan blogs and internet forums .
“ What has been interesting to trace is that [ the term queerbaiting ] gained more grip as LGBTQ representation has increased and become an accept part of the pop-cultural landscape, ” Himberg says. “ This is because queerbaiting is understood as a tactic where media producers imply thwart stories and media text that are never actualized. ”
She says the reason there has been a energy for representation in media by the curious community is because “ visibility is this form of cultural currency that provides this recognition and establishment that LGBTQ+ people are valued depart of the national landscape. ”

Why do people accuse musicians, actors and other artists of queerbaiting?

Eilish is not the first base — and indeed not the last — person to be accused of queerbaiting. Throughout the years, many artists have been subjected to accusations. Most recently, Normani was criticized on Instagram by a exploiter and accused of something similar, which was former shared across Twitter. In her holocene video recording for her song “ Wild Side, ” featuring Cardi B, the two are pictured naked and gyrating against one another .
While some accusations might not hold a lot water, there are some that do. In 2016, Nick Jonas was promoting his soon-to-be released album “ last year Was Complicated. ” During the promotion tour for his album, he frequently visited homosexual bars, toyed with the question as to whether or not he ’ five hundred experimented sexually with men by saying, “ I can ’ t say I have or I haven ’ thymine, ” among many other things .

Ariana Grande and Rita Ora faced recoil because of songs they made. In 2018, alike accusations were drawn towards Ora after she released her song “ Girls ” with Cardi B, Bebe Rexha, and Charli XCX as Perry finally admitted her song “ I Kissed a Girl ” is baffling. Ora sang lyrics about how she was “ open-minded ” before going into a choir which talks about drink red wine and kissing girls. It not lone overturned fans but other musicians as well like Hayley Kiyoko and Kehlani — who called the lyrics harmful. Ora subsequently apologized and revealed she had relationships with men and women .
Grande ’ s “ Monopoly ” — which featured her close friend/co-writer Victoria Monet — was a topic of conversation in 2019 after singing the line : “ I like women and men. ” Social media users claimed this was queerbaiting, but she late responded on Twitter saying she “ doesn ’ triiodothyronine feel the need to ” pronounce herself .
many cultural moments that were seen as boundary-pushing at the time are now being re-examined as actual queer representation is being presented on shield. Rapper Lil Nas X took the BET Awards stagecoach in June 2021 and kissed one of his back-up dancers. The stunt immediately drew comparisons to Madonna ’ sulfur 2003 VMA kiss with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera .

Madonna later posted a collage of Lil Nas X ’ s snog and her ill-famed kiss on her Instagram history with text that said, “ # DidItFirst. ” She was immediately called out by fashion watchdog account Diet Prada, who said that her kiss was “ hardly adenine revolutionary as Black curious men doing so. ” They continued, “ White [ cisgender ] [ heterosexual ] people have always been given the space to do whatever they please… including, but not specify to queerbaiting. ”

History of homophobia and the “Lavender Scare”

If one was to look back even further, the term was used to describe “ homophobic practices in politics and law, ” Himberg says. During the early 1950s, there was the Joseph McCarthy-era “ Lavender Scare ” — not to be confused with the “ Red Scare. ” The “ Lavender Scare ” was a policy that was based on “ unfounded fear that gay men and lesbians “ posed a terror to home security because they were vulnerable to blackmail and were considered to have weak moral characters, ” historian David K. Johnson told Time magazine .
historian Nadine Hubbs wrote in a 2009 academician study for the University of Nebraska Press that when law enforcement attempted to round improving and question people they suspected to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community, political officials used queerbaiting as “ information-gathering tactics. ” Himberg says this scheme during the McCarthy era was “ about drawing out ‘ distrust homosexuals ’ using respective tactics including entrapment, blackmail, affiliations with assorted organizations, and aesthetic traditions. ”

Of course, it wasn ’ t besides long ago that “ gay panic ” was a common legal defense against “ indecent advances ” — so the fact that younger generations are now courting LGBTQ+ audiences through denotative queer performativity is seen by many as a progress and a plus development. In fact, it ’ s become an expand field of media and cultural studies, as Judith Fathallah explains in a recently published test in Journal of Popular Music Studies. Fathallah claims that “ a restrictive impression of ‘ truth ’ in discussions of queerbaiting ” can close off the “ very possibilities of transformation and open-ended configurations of sexuality. ” She investigates emo bands as a “ natural character study, ” since it ’ s an outgrowth of hard-core and punk rock, which “ sought to complicate the hegemonic masculinities dominating those genres, both in its musical and lyric content and the “ performativity of its artists. ”

Why false claims of queerbaiting can be harmful

In the age of social media, however, sometimes people are forte and wrong in projecting ill-conceived accusations, similar to the ones Eilish and Normani faced. Jesus G. Smith, an ethnic studies professor at Lawrence University, tells Rolling Stone that false accusations — or those premature to critical think — are harmful to any motion on-line. “ People besides have to decipher the dispute between those who are performing for the heterosexual lens and queerbaiting, which are identical different. ”
Smith says there are pros and cons to having these sorts of discussions online. On the one hand, writing helps people better articulate specific points than speaking, but on the other, “ it can flounder in all different ways, ” he said. “ These spaces can be very harmful to have these discussions. ” He added, “ It depends on how people utilize and manipulate technology. ”
regardless of the discussions, LGBTQ+ community has been asking to let themselves been seen in roles/storylines that were made for fagot people and by thwart people. One way the militant Leo Herrera connects with his followers is through text posts uploaded to his Instagram report, where he gives his opinions and thoughts about events taking place in the fagot community .

In December 2020, Herrera wrote a post titled “ Scraps ” and declared he was tired of the “ scraps ” the LGBTQ+ community is given for everything from miss of healthcare to the miss of fagot representation in media, while headlines and media outer space is given to straight men wearing dresses. He writes, “ Tired of decades-old scraps repackaged as ‘ visibility. ’ Scraps are for famines. We are not starving. Queers have feasts in our history and banquets in our closets. Keep your fucking scraps. ”

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