The Babadook: how the horror movie monster became a gay icon

Top-hatted ghoul has been hailed as LGBT figure in corners of social media after it was jokingly floated on Tumblr that he was gay

Queer communities of the internet are embracing an unlikely icon this Pride Month: the Babadook.

The top-hatted monster, from the Australian horror film of the same name, has been hailed as a LGBT figure in corners of social media since the end of last year, when it was jokingly floated on Tumblr that he was gay.

In recent weeks, the Babadook-as-queer-icon has gone from a internet in-joke to a Pride Month figurehead, with remixed representations of the monster he appears in a storybook in the film featuring in celebrations online and off.

jenna (@jennafenwick)

current favorite meme is the lgbt community insisting that the babadook is a gay icon pic.twitter.com/jetZomtDzd

June 11, 2017

Gay Babadook was born when a somewhat ironic post to Tumblr in October went viral: Whenever someone says the Babadook isnt openly gay its like?? Did you even watch the movie???

The post drew close to 100,000 responses a jokey back-and-forth about the deeper meanings of Jennifer Kents 2014 independent film that prompted one user to complain it was JUST A MOVIE.

A movie about a gay man who just wants to live his life in a small Australian suburb? replied the original poster, ianstagram, from Boston. It may be just a movie to you but to the LGBT community the Babadook is a symbol of our journey.

In December, a screenshot was posted to Tumblr showing The Babadook listed prominently among LGBT Movies on Netflix more likely to be a doctored image indicative of the memes gaining momentum, than a categorisation error.

The B in LGBT stands for Babadook, another user responded.

The so-called Babadiscourse meme riffed on the strident debate over cultural texts and authors intent that is a cornerstone of online discourse, as well as projections of a queer identity or significance onto public or historical figures in the past.

In the film, Mister Babadook is half-acknowledged by a widow and her young son, even as he has undeniable and chaotic impact on their family unit: If its in a word, or its in a look, you cant get rid of the Babadook is the horror movies refrain.

As Karen Tongson, an associate professor of gender studies and English at the University of Southern California, told the LA Times: Someone was like, How could The Babadook become a gay film and the answer was readily available. … For many LGBT people, thats what it feels like to be in your own families sometimes.

JuanPa (@jpbrammer)

openly gay and with an affinity for hats and drama, the Babadook was the first time I saw myself represented in a film

April 19, 2017

Your Friend’s Dad (@ReginAdeleRey)

Most people have never even seen the most iconic workroom entrance in Drag Race herstory pic.twitter.com/YMUnzIPGR8

June 9, 2017

sami (@ezekielfiguero)

don’t call yourself gay if the babadook hasn’t entered your home through the pages of a children’s book

June 11, 2017

pu (@AndyRockCandy)

Breaking News: @HRC to honor The Babadook with the Visibility Award pic.twitter.com/IO0VXYlqEG

June 7, 2017

The Babadooks status as a symbol of equality was cemented with the beginning of Pride Month in June in the US, with the teeth-baring spectre spotted at rallies in Boston and Washington.

jacob (@jacobbullards)

happy pride month from queer icon the babadook pic.twitter.com/f2JxwQbRDd

June 3, 2017

alex (@anathemalex)

babadook made it!!! pic.twitter.com/pxosxlAdbH

katya of blades (@gyyllenhaal)

just met my future spouse at #BostonPride #babashook pic.twitter.com/6Cd7cfvszY

June 10, 2017

(@rogueIeader)

y’all there was straight up a babadook at dc pride and. i just can’t believe the babadook is an actual symbol of lgbt culture. what a time

June 11, 2017

The Massachusetts attorney-general, Maura Healey, tweeted on Saturday the Babadook waving a pride flag: We believe in equal rights for everyone and we mean everyone.

Maura Healey (@MassAGO)

We believe in equal rights for everyone and we mean everyone. Happy #Pride2017 #Babadook pic.twitter.com/So6jdIyIbf

June 10, 2017

Miles Jai, an LGBT YouTube personality, dressed as The Babadook to the taping of the season finale of the reality television show RuPauls Drag Race.

Miles

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figcaption class=”caption” caption–img caption caption–img” itemprop=”description”> Miles Jai dressed as The Babadook at RuPauls Drag Race Season 9 finale. Photograph: Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Though director Jennifer Kent is aware of the meme, she has not commented on it.

But Tim Purcell, the actor who played the monster in her film, told New York magazines Select All that the character demanded he wear not only the hat but a heavy jacket, contact lenses, a prosthetic mouth and crap all over my teeth.

I didnt feel like a gay icon at the time, I can tell you that much.

Ianstagram, the Tumblr user credited with sparking the Babadiscourse, told Select All that it had almost become a joke around queer representation in the media a very deep reading on a mindless post I fired out one night.

Its been fascinating to watch.

Kents next film is due to be Alice + Freda Forever, a love story about a lesbian relationship in 19th-century Memphis.

<figure class=”element” element-tweet” data-canonical-url=”https://twitter.com/TheNathanz/status/873686034394918913″>

– nathan – (@TheNathanz)

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p lang=”en” dir=”ltr” class=”tweet-body”>when people complain about the babadook meme pic.twitter.com/bkpVcoSrmK

June 10, 2017

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jun/11/the-babadook-how-horror-movie-monster-became-a-gay-icon

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