Gal Gadot made her hosting debut on October 7th's episode of Saturday Night Live, and the anticipation surrounding what to expect from the Wonder Woman actor's comedic chops was sky high. The Israeli actor didn't disappoint, embodying a range of characters from a modern, mad Cinderella to the innocent, unsuspecting date of O.J. Simpson. She even went head-to-head with SNL cast member Leslie Jones in a comparison of who better embodied Wonder Woman.
That wasn't the only time Gadot channeled her inner Diana Prince though for her #SNL debut. One skit during her show, which got particularly strong reactions online, was centered on two lesbians visiting Wonder Woman's home of Themyscira. The skit culminated in a lip lock that set the internet on fire and managed to undermine an entire community of queer fans in the process, in what some might classify as queerbaiting.
In the skit, Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon (noticeably dressed suspiciously like lesbian media icons Cameron Esposito and her wife, Rhea Butcher) stumble on Themyscira, only to be baffled by the lack of actual lesbians in the all-female society. As the inhabitants of Themyscira continue to go about their innocent routines (think sparring matches with swords that are strikingly similar to similarly queer-coded pillow fights and Jell-O wrestling matches between women we see in other films), the newcomers call the ladies out on what the deal is with their sexuality.
Diana steps forward to determine once and for all whether she and the rest of the Amazonians have even one gay bone in their bodies. After some tongue-in-cheek debate, Diana passionately makes out with McKinnon's character only to casually lament that she felt nothing. Of all people, this prominent lesbian comedian in particular should know better than to participate in this kind of queerbaiting lip service, and here's why.
This Skit Is A Prime Example Of Queerbaiting
The character of #WonderWoman has been confirmed by DC Comics as bisexual, and her LGBT identity is richly woven throughout the pages of her story. Although Wonder Woman didn't outright confirm her bisexuality, it was rampant with subtextual implications that although the women of #Themyscira were not ignorant to the concept of lust, love and sexual gratification.
In light of the recent confirmation that Patty Jenkins will indeed helm the sequel to Wonder Woman, fans began circulating a petition for the superhero's sexuality to be more clearly stated in the next installment. Now, hot on the heels of this petition, Gadot (and McKinnon) is appearing in a skit to subtly mock the claim that Wonder Woman is indeed one of the LGBT community.
The timing and context of this skit is in poor taste and mocks a group of people who have been beaten down far too hard and often recently. The end of September marked Bisexual Visibility Day, and October is LGBT History Month, two landmark occasions that spread awareness about the community and how far we have come and still have yet to go in the uphill battle for equality.
As a member of the LGBT community, McKinnon in particular should be sensitive to a skit that exploits and scoffs at bisexuals and their desire to have representation. She is one of the most prominent voices in comedy right now, so it's disappointing to see her use it for self-deprecation rather than progression in a skit that could be read as serious queerbaiting.
A kiss that only serves as means to create a ton of Twitter GIFs along with a firm denial of any inkling of queerness permeating Themyscira (which has already been made canon in the comics and films) is a brutal blow to a community that's consistently given its support to Wonder Woman. Whether the intention was to be cheeky or chiding is unclear, but the message Gadot and McKinnon sent in participating in the skit is one that is too problematic to ignore. It's exhausting to have to keep saying this, but it bears repeating as many times as it takes: LGBT fans deserve better.