This is a pint-sized primer about the differences between queer representation, queer coding, queer reading, and queer baiting because I wanted to have something small to keep around and kind of… wave it at folks that want an easy way to know the difference.
This is literally the simplest I could make this (because I’ve got dense academic brain) and so it skims over a lot of crunchy academic writing to make its points and be as clear as possible.
If you want more in-depth texts or conversations about this, I personally love the late Alexander Doty’s work along with Harry Benshoff’s Monsters in the Closet, but there are a bunch more academics and whatnot writing about this in media fandom and related academic fields. I’d be happy to point y’all in the related directions.
A fair amount of people not only read Kylo Ren and Hux as queer-coded within their canon, but:
Queer coded villains are actually kind of shitty and they definitely shouldn’t be something to aspire to or admire, and
I don’t know how they leap to that conclusion of Hux and Kylo as queer coded in the first place.
For one thing, there’s a difference between a character – especially a villain – being coded as queer in their canon (typically via stereotypes about femininity/masculinity, style of dress, speech, interactions with other characters) and a queer fan deciding to read a character as queer because they see themselves in the character.
If they’re actually present in canon, queer coded villains typically come from a place of homophobia – conscious or otherwise. They come from a fear of supposedly non-normative genders and sexualities and from society straight up repurposing queerness (or stereotypes about queerness) as a go-to for “spooky and scary” because well –
Heterocentrism kind of needs to portray queerness as a dangerous avenue to stroll down.Read More »
For my critical literary theory course during my first semester of grad school, I did a final paper looking at applications of queer theory as it applies to textual and subtextual queer perceptions of Batman.
You know, because I just love a challenge and the fun of blending my fannish interests with my academic ones.
At the end of it all, I came up with “Holy Homosexual Batman”: Queering the Caped Crusader via Text and Subtext. It was almost thirty pages long and super in-depth to make up for the fact that my professor wasn’t a comic person and needed introduction to the genre’s history and culture.
It is, in a word, my baby.
I have so many plans for this paper that it’s ridiculous.
I mentioned from the start that I wanted to share my list of references for y’all to look at and purchase from if you’re interested in working out your own academic thoughts on queerness as related to Batman and Robin. So if you’re interested, continue on!
(Note that all of the links to Amazon are affiliate links so consider buying some books, y’all!)