The First of Its Kind: "Queerbaiting and Fandom"

§ I received a copy of this book via NetGalley to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this novel. § 

"Queerbaiting and Fandom" is the first of its kind: a non-fiction book that contains various essays that look at queerbaiting on television, in films, and even marketing techniques of celebrities. In doing so, the essays focus on various popular examples such as Supernatural, BBC's Sherlock, as well as Harry Potter. It also takes a look at more left-field approaches, and examines the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as Nick Jones' possible queer-baiting.

Queerbaiting and Fandom - book

The book starts with an introduction into what queerbaiting is and which tactic they prefer to use. Often dropping little hints or cultural references that a queer viewer can identify and build up hope that there might be a written queer character in the text at some point. At the same time, the producers deny such content or keep making vague hints like "watch this space".

Since this is a bound book, I have to presume that it is meant to be written for "everyone" but especially queer folks who are familiar with fandom culture. However, when reading, I could never shake the feeling that it had been a couple of bachelor thesis bound together. I am not referring to footnotes - which are perfectly valid in this context - but instead the tone remains very formal and high-educated throughout the whole book. Thus, I feel that someone who is interested in this topic but has not enjoyed a higher education or is still young, might find this harder to read and even stop halfway through.

Through this, it also does not become a "thrilling" read - for lack of better words. While there are passages that are more interesting to read, some chapters even felt repetitive. There are two who look at Harry Potter - one as the whole with focus on The Cursed Child, while another later in the book only looks at The Cursed Child.

Nevertheless, there is a lot of insight into queerbaiting on these pages. It also looks at sides outside of "traditional" fandom and as a simple marketing strategy: such as Eurovision - which is a very pro-LGBT event; where some bands play right into the queer theme to gain points. As well as celebrities using this to find another market: Nick Jonas had been used as a prime example.

There is also an importance to this book that comes from being the first to look at queerbaiting. There are no other writings with which to compare this, and it is a good book to have in libraries. Through the writing, you can get a peek at the topic and even helps to raise awareness to the practice. As well as offering different perspectives and popular examples that help in understanding. Because of this, I am glad that there is a consistent and published collection of essays about this topic.

Queerbaiting and Fandom edited by Joseph Brennan
Published2019by University Of Iowa Press
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  1. My plan for today was to comment on your latest post, but then this one caught my eye and I needed to read it for the simple reason that I didn't know what queerbaiting was. It's one of those words that have been introduced to some people and all of a sudden everyone talks about it but no one explains what it actually means. At first, I thought queerbaiting would entail giving a queer character a shitty role or making them out to be relevant to the plot while they're only there for a page or two (which could actually be a very interesting premise for a novel, but now my mind is starting to wander in a different direction).
    What I want to say is: I appreciate this book for what is offers. I think it would be a nice introductory book in a university course on literature/gender studies. I also now totally understand why JK Rowling is sometimes frowned upon for saying that Dumbledore is gay.

    x Envy
    Lost in Translation

    1. Thank you for the lengthy comment! I really appreciate the time you put into it. It's also great to hear that you learned something new, and yes, I agree it seems more suitable for university students than everyday people.


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