With a mix of terrible singing, questionable fashion sense, and a lot of humor, you get cultural icon Miranda Sings. Yet with the recent allegations surrounding the problematic practices throughout her career, it’s only fitting we analyze the element of homophobia as well.
In March 2020, Miranda Sings (whose real name is Colleen Ballinger) announced that she had a “surprice announcement” to make. Attached was a picture of her in front of a pride flag backdrop.
The fans went crazy–was she coming out? Or her character? What was going on?
Turns out, she was “cuming out” as a Meghan Trainor fan.
Her fanbase did not take this lightly–although Ballinger did apologize, her actions were still wrong and an instance of queerbaiting. It was a mockery of celebrities who actually do come out in similar ways and a means of discrediting their experience.
Regardless of one’s personal opinions on the issue, the discussion of queerbaiting is an important one to have. Social media portrayals of queer folk are often seen as a point of drama, both politically and romantically. This in conjunction with a strong focus on sex and lack of diverse representation in gay media often results in the hypersexualization and fetishization of the queer community.
To utilize the queer identity for one’s personal gains and views is absolutely unacceptable as it profits off of a complex system of stereotypes that often perpetuates material harm.
In addition, Colleen’s nephew, Parker Ballinger, appears in many of her videos. The videos in question are all sexually suggestive, whether it be exposing the young child or requesting he places a diaper on Miranda herself.
Parker is both very young and described by viewers as “not the most masculine.” His feminine personality and young age were exploited by his family to get more views, going back to the portrayal of queer populations as overly sexualized within media (to clarify, this does not mean Parker is queer–it just means that his traits are assumed by the fanbase to lean towards a more effeminate side). Not only is this exploitation by views, but is particularly encouraging to homophobic viewers and pedophiles, further putting Parker at risk.
Overall, this article is not intended to take an opinion on the personal merit of Miranda Sings. It is simply meant to highlight particular behaviors and tie them into a broader discussion on LGBTQ portrayals in media.
Let us hope that this is a powerful lesson on how important media representation is and how devastating its misuse can be.