Here’s why you need to stop accusing Harry Styles of queerbaiting
ID says accusations of queerbaiting have been rife in our recent pop cultural discourse, flung extensively and scattergun at many a celebrity, with the most recently accused including Madonna, Billie Eilish, and repeat offender Harry Styles. The allegation in short: that seemingly non-queer stars ‘appropriate’ queer culture and aesthetics in an attempt to secure the monetary support and standom of LGBT fans, without actually committing to identifying publicly as queer. It purports that this facade allows them to brush up against the perceived edginess of queer identity — without the cost of openly occupying one in a queerphobic world.
One central tenet of the queerbaiting critique is aimed at celebrities’ often on-the-fence declarations of sexuality. Comments that have brought on widespread criticisms of queerbaiting range from Andrew Garfield’s irritatingly pandering “(I’m) a gay man right now just without the physical act”, to statements that refute labels, like Ariana’s tweet stating that she [hasn’t labelled her sexuality] before and still [doesn’t] feel the need to]”. Then there’s those that draw upon and foster a playful ambiguity, such as Harry Styles proclaiming “we’re all a little bit gay”.
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