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Cultural Analysis and Social Theory


Queerbaiting refers to the way that consumers are lured in with a queer storyline only to have it taken away, collapse into tragic cliché, or fail to offer affirmative representation. Recent queerbaiting research has focused almost exclusively on television, leaving gaps in the ways queer representation is negotiated in other media forms. Using video games as a starting point, this Major Research Project seeks to fill in these research gaps by applying Eve Ng’s queerbaiting theory that situates queerbaiting at the intersection of contextuality and producer paratexts. Persona 4 and the Life is Strange series have been charged with queerbaiting and were selected for analysis on this ground. Each text was analyzed for queer potential, queer contextuality, and paratexts surrounding negotiated queer readings to make a case for queerbaiting in each text. Ng’s queerbaiting definition is then expanded to account for player agency in video games. Ultimately, this Major Research Project seeks to provide new areas of growth for research on queerbaiting, especially during a time of heightened awareness of the trope. It also aims to highlight Ng’s definition as an apt tool for the expansion of queerbaiting’s definition and application.