In an era of unprecedented LGBTQ+ representation in media, the troubling practice of queerbaiting, whereby a show teases an LGBTQ+ attachment only enough to maintain viewership within key demographics, remains a prevalent stain on an industry that typically prides itself on its progressivism.
Why Is Wednesday Being Accused Of Queerbaiting?
Canonically, the two were strictly platonic, Enid dating Ajax and Wednesday having shared a kiss with Tyler, but this precarious tightrope walk between suggestion and actual depiction of gay relationships is precisely what has frustrated fans of Wednesday. Social media attitudes, however, would suggest that audiences want to see a relationship between Wednesday and Enid. The pairing has already garnered thousands of tweets and engagements across multiple platforms.
How Wednesday & Enid’s Friendship Falls Into Queerbaiting.
Nonetheless, the two forged a friendship marked by extreme loyalty and love. Enid made a conscious and consistent effort to respect Wednesday’s boundaries, while Wednesday expressed a willingness to slowly expand these boundaries to allow more room for Enid. It was the type of character growth that television shows typically develop for the purposes of romantic storylines.
Why Wednesday’s Queerbaiting Hurts Netflix’s LGBTQ+ Representation
Whether or not season 1 of Wednesday is guilty of queerbaiting is not the point; rather, the point is that the media still excludes queer stories from taking center stage. Whether this is a function of fear over losing non-LGBTQ+ viewers, a lack of LGBTQ+ writers and executives, or — most likely — a combination of both does not necessarily matter as long as television continues to fail its LGBTQ+ audiences. the advent of streaming services coupled with the diversification of the TV landscape mean that queer relationships no longer need to exit in obscurity.Wednesday maintains the character’s morbid disposition but fails to push the envelope further, and the series has suffered for its cautious approach. If indeed this was the tactic, then it has failed.