AfterEllen.com has written a great article here on queer-baiting.
For the two people left on planet earth who don’t know what queer-baiting is – it’s that tiresome practice of television shows drawing in queer audiences by using subtext and hinting at a romance with no intentions of ever following through. Usually accompanied by “no homo” jokes to appease the straight audience.
I am done with queer-baiting, it’s exactly the reason I stopped watching Rizzoli and Isles. I have never seen a show use queer-baiting so rampantly and offensively before in my life. The fact that some lesbians continue to watch it is beyond my comprehension. It’s like playing with the bullies in the school yard, attempting to be accepted but knowing in your heart of hearts that they are laughing at you. Sherlock is rapidly falling in this direction also.
But I think we as a community have to be careful when making claims of queer-baiting. It’s an important, offensive tactic and we mustn’t dilute it by complaining about it when it isn’t there. Subtext is one thing, out and out queer-baiting is another. Fandom communities have grown strong, especially in the last five years, from people seeing potential in characters and shipping them even when the possibility of them being together is minute.
I shipped Janeway and Seven, Miranda and Andy and now Cat and Kara. None of these pairings would ever work on screen in my opinion and there comes a point where the fandom diverts from the show. I can happily watch any of these shows with no romantic pairing between my ships because I enjoy the shows independently. The lack of queer-baiting makes me look at these ships fondly and feel a sense of ownership and community.
Queer-baiting TV shows make me feel like I am being coerced and managed. Not to mention the fact that it is a terrible, horrible and morally reprehensible practice that we need to start fighting against.