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How do you feel about implied non specific LGBT+ representation in media?

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I was reading a discussion in the aromantic group on reddit about whether Elsa in Frozen is aromantic or not. Apparently the second movie gives some implications on that while also kinda giving hints to those who head-cannon her as lesbian. It got me thinking that lately there seems to be many of these examples of characters who are implied to not be straight but their orientation is so vague that everyone can kinda read what they want into it. Similar with captain Marvel. And a third one is maybe Will from Stranger things?

Do you feel that this is something that has gotten more common or is it just that it's become more popular for people to make their own head-cannons like that? How do you feel about these vaguely portrayed orientations?

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From Will I actually expect the writters to give an answer in next seasons so I won't see him this way. For me the character may have not realizing it yet.

 

About vaguely portrayed orientations, I won't say I like it. I mean, you can be subtle and not go with big lights screaming "he is gay/bi/aro" or something else. But I prefer when it is clear. Because otherwise, I feel like the writters are... some kind of cowards? Like they want to please LGBT community,  but at the same time don't assume their decision, or don't want to create polemic. I really don't think they do it so we can headcanon character as we want. In particular when it comes to "children movie" : just think about what happen with Beauty and the Beast 2017 because Le Fou danced 2 seconds with a guy... I think they just don't want to live that, so instead of saying there is LGBT characters, they prefer to hide them. I think this is what queerbaiting is about, or it is something else?

 

Also, when it comes to orientations that people don't know about, I think it better to clear it. Even if the character don't say the word, makes clear that he has no interest for romance or it won't change. Or only aro will canon him and allo or questioning people will still don't know we exist.

 

I mean, I am not against the non-clarification at all if the idea really is to let people canon as they want, but I don't think it is possible right now, and that it is just a way to make LGBT less visible without saying it. For Frozen for instance, they know LGBT canon her as lesbian so they won't say she is not. But at the same time they don't say she is because it would be polemic. I don't think such a behaviour is great.

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On 12/6/2019 at 8:59 AM, nonmerci said:

 I think this is what queerbaiting is about, or it is something else?

I think you're right. I have thought of queerbaiting mostly in terms of relationships between characters, but I suppose it could just as well be about portraying one character as queer.

 

 

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On 12/6/2019 at 8:59 AM, nonmerci said:

I think this is what queerbaiting is about, or it is something else?

 

 

I think,  queerbaiting is about specifically implying that a character is queer in order to get more LGBTQ+ viewers, whilst at the same time denying that the character is queer. If it is purely to get more viewers it's queerbaiting. If it's because they aren't allowed to show explicit LGBTQ+ content, but they still want to give the LGBTQ+ viewers something, it isn't, then they're just hinting.

 

There are also some gray areas, where fans queer-code, despite it not having been intended, which is then often said to be queerbaiting.

 

I don't know if you know Supernatural, but it's a common fandom for this type of gray area. On the one hand there are the fans claiming that Dean and Castiel should be together, with one of the actors making jokes about it and hinting about it, whilst also dropping some clues in the show that they could be together (e.g. other characters calling them 'boyfriends'). On the other hand, there are several confirmed LGBTQ+ characters in the show, which have been confirmed (e.g. Charlie <girl kissing another girl and saying men are 'not her type'>, Chuck <'Yeah, I had some girlfriends. Had a few boyfriends'>, characters shown as both male and female <e.g. Raphael, Castiel, Hannah>, and various gay couples), which would make queerbaiting in the form of 'Destiel' useless -- they already have queer characters, so they don't need to 'bait' anyone.

 

Clear queerbaiting is seen in Harry Potter, with JK Rowling claiming that Albus Dumbledore is gay, despite there having been no evidence in the books and now just ignoring his and Grindelwald's relationship in the movies. Many people might have gone into the cinemas, hoping to see their relationship at least hinted at... but nothing. In such a case, this revelation was for profit, since they could have easily made Dumbledore gay in the movies as well.

 

Not queerbaiting would be Oscar Isaac saying that he would have loved for his character in StarWars (Poe Dameron) to be with Finn. That wasn't allowed because Disney feared that they would loose profit that way, instead adding a scene of a second with two girls kissing, which could easily be edited out of the movie in countries like Singapore. This was just Oscar Isaac voicing his opinion, never once hinting at the relationship coming up in the movie.

 

Also not queerbaiting would be the show 'Good Omens', where you can interpret the main characters (Aziraphale and Crowley) as being in a relationship, since it's been clearly stated that neither are male (in fact, both have no gender, whilst usually presenting male, with some exceptions for Crowley, who had been shown in typical women's clothes), along with the author saying that you can interpret them however you want -- male and gay or non-binary and asexual and aromantic. Since it is made clear that they will not be confirmed in a relationship, whilst having the opportunity to imagine whatever you want, this is just the author giving you the freedom to decide, not wanting to label the characters, instead of queerbaiting.

 

Well, this is how I see queerbaiting. Hope this cleared everything up. Feel free to disagree!

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I kind of get annoyed by it, mainly because I'm like "Finally we'll have some representation that is actually confirmed!" And then they just go with the classic "They don't like labels." It feels like they're too scared to actually confirm that a character is LGBTQ+ on screen . 

 

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Posted (edited)

I think some orientations need to basically be spelled out/stated because implied isn't enough.

 

Of course you can get into issues depending on the setting but still representation matters!

Edited by Cgirl294
Left out part of my last sentence on accident
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Posted (edited)

The authors should do what they believe is right, independent of what fans make into fanfic. But they should stand by what they want to make and not try to bait people into believing something that is just not right. The fear of losing ratings and viewers is a poor excuse, because if you lose some you can gain others, it is not complete lose. What I want is to tell me straight up: hey this character is X. That should not be so hard. A label helps people feel identified, it gives them validity in a society that actively tries to dictate and choose for us. I did not like labels until I saw the importance of them, so authors should be able to understand something that basic.

Edited by Blake
Left all the text :3
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