8 Teen TV Shows You Love That Were Accused of Queerbaiting Audiences
We’ve come a long way when it comes to representing the LGBTQ+ community on contemporary television shows. We’re seeing more and more adorable queer couples appear on popular programs, seen the emergence of diverse families on shows like Modern Family and are finally (although it’s still very rare) seeing transgender actors playing trans characters on screen. Three cheers for equality! If there’s anything that all the controversy surrounding a gay Disney character has stirred up, however, it’s that we still have a heck of a long way to go when it comes to defeating homophobia and accurately representing all people in the media.
LGBTQ characters are frequently killed off their shows, cis-gender stars are continually chosen to represent queer characters, and LGBTQ+ audiences are being queerbaited to in order to financially benefit the series without the show actually doing anything to become an advocate for the gay community.
Queerbaiting (also sometimes called gay-baiting), for those of you who don’t know, is when a show works to attract queer viewership without turning off their homophobic viewers. Basically, the LGBTQ+ community is seen as a resource to tap for money and yet the writers, producers, or whoever is calling the shots won’t actually take a stand against homophobia and give queer characters the representation they deserve. Surprisingly enough, even series that do feature an openly queer person or couple can be accused of gay-baiting! Warning: Some of your favorite ships might be found on this list so remember… don’t shoot the messenger!
Shadowhunters has a few out-and-proud gay characters, so many of you may be wondering how it could possibly queer-bait!
After Malec (Magnus & Alec) became a couple, people couldn't help but notice how the trailers for certain episodes would be focused on the pair, while the actual episode would have very few romantic scenes.
A good example of this came in season two, when the two guys decided to have sex for the first time. Not only was this scene problematic because it contributed to rape culture (Magnus did not give consent on camera after clearly communicating reservations and concerns about getting intimate), but also the ads solely teased the couple "finally" deciding to make love...despite that scene being cut short to show a straight couple having sex. Many viewers felt that the vague nature of their decision to do the deed showed favoritism towards hetero couples.
A Shadowhunters stan who goes by @mightymalec on Twitter @'d the showrunner saying, "We're not asking for a sex scene here. We're asking for Malec to get the same intimacy, at least, as Jace and some random girl did." EQUAL REPRESENTATION. We agree.