Features and Columns · Movies

The Difference Between Queer Coding and Queerbaiting

Here’s a video essay about the difference between queer coding and queerbaiting and what that difference can teach us about the history censorship and queer representation in Hollywood.
Star Wars The Force Awakens Queer Coding
By  · Published on July 18th, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’ve got a video about the difference between queer coding and queerbaiting.

Look, it says it right there at the top of the page: we are film school rejects. Academic theory can feel obtuse and inaccessible. Luckily, the internet is full of talented creators who excel at untangling tricky terminology and empowering folks to feel more informed about the content they consume.

I’d heard the terms “queer coding” and “queerbaiting” before. But I would have struggled if you asked me to explain the difference between the two. So, what’s the difference between queer coding and queerbaiting? And, more to the point, what can that difference teach us about the history of queer representation and the censorship of queer stories?

The feature-length video essay below answers these questions and then some. It is, effectively, a free documentary about how the subtle queer nods of the Pre-Code era evolved into a troubling modern pattern of media that draws in queer audiences without committing to queer storylines. This is an exceptionally structured video essay. And, as a result, it’s length never feels rambling or indulgent. For anyone curious about the terms, their origins, and their modern iterations, this video has you covered.

You can watch Unrequited: A History of Queer Baiting” here:


Who made this?

In the past couple of years, James Somerton has cornered/created the market for long-form video essays with a queer lens. You can subscribe to Somerton here. And you can follow him on Twitter here.

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Meg has been writing professionally about all things film-related since 2016. She is a Senior Contributor at Film School Rejects as well as a Curator for One Perfect Shot. She has attended international film festivals such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and the Nitrate Picture Show as a member of the press. In her day job as an archivist and records manager, she regularly works with physical media and is committed to ensuring ongoing physical media accessibility in the digital age. You can find more of Meg's work at Cinema Scope, Dead Central, and Nonfics. She has also appeared on a number of film-related podcasts, including All the President's Minutes, Zodiac: Chronicle, Cannes I Kick It?, and Junk Filter. Her work has been shared on NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour, Business Insider, and CherryPicks. Meg has a B.A. from the University of King's College and a Master of Information degree from the University of Toronto.