How the Babadook Oddly Became a Gay Icon Overnight

Come on Babadook, let’s get babashooook!

Correct, you read that right ladies and gentlemen. The Babadook (as in that tall, slender, shadow creepy monster) has found an unlikely fanbase of die-hard social media users claiming and demanding that the Babadook is a gay icon and LGBT hero. After a Tumblr post emerged with someone pointing out how the Babadook was categorised under the “Gay and Lesbian Films” section of Netflix, the internet did it’s thing and – yup – the illustrious beast became an online trend.

The Babadook as illustrated by Twitter user @melongifts

The meme, following in light (or, in this case, in the shadows) of the “this is what liberals want the future to look like” meme is a major satirical and sarcastic exaggeration following someone claiming the babadook was gay and Trump supporting snowflakes moaning about SJWS, millennials and gays taking political correctness too far. Basically someone, somewhere decided the Babadook was a gay icon. Nobody understands how or why but in a strange alignment of the stars, the claim was universally acknowledged and agreed upon.

The Babadook, for those who don’t know, is the name of the 2014 Australian-Canadian film that has been dubbed as one of the most horrifying of the decade. The story follows a grieving and stressed mother coping with an ill-behaved young boy. In a bid to calm him down, she reads him a story she finds – The Babadook. The story manifests some pretty disturbing rhyming couplets and, before you know it, the duo are launched into a monotonous life of petrifyingly terrifying nights together that will have you sleeping with the lights on for a good week or so after watching the film.

Directed by Jennifer Kent, the film had a huge success gaining $7.5 million over a $2 million budget and gaining a 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating. Scenes were shot at uncomfortable angles or very close to characters faces. Kent injected her ability to ensure viewers constantly felt on edge, from start to finish in an original and innovative horror film with depth and integrity. Of course, what Kent really meant with the manifestation of the Bababook was a hamfisted metaphor for grief of a loved one, not just the depression felt by the grieving mother but all the related (and equally as difficult) stages of grief, from entrapment, panic and – eventually – domesticity.

If you ignore me being “babashook” by actually writing this article and terms like “babussy” entering the queer niche vocabulary, why and how on earth one of the most terrifying monsters in recent horror history has become a meme and icon (of some description) of queer narratives and gay iconography is actually quite endearing.

The Babadook ultimately tells an LGBT narrative of being cast to the shadows, manifesting identities in closets and, to live up to modern stereotypes, wearing all black. In the end, the creature’s monster-like identity and traits are subdued when *spoiler alert* he comes out of his shadows and shares his truth with those he loves. Sound familiar? Despite the meme merely picking fun in the internet’s reaction to nearly anything LGBT related, despite how trivial or serious, there are arguably parallels that follow the Babadook – a lonely, confused and misunderstood creature often depicted as a monster – and the LGBT community. In an age where coming out is still tough and the notion of suppressed identities and mental health issues are still strife within the community, the brief skeleton of the Babadook story – like many a ‘tortured soul’ storyline – may be considered a little too close to home for a community where more than half of LGBT pupils have experienced direct bullying and where gay men are three times more likely than heterosexual men to suffer from depression.

Of course, suggesting that the Babadook is a true gay icon may be considered to discredit those who really are heroes to the LGBT+ community, but in our day and age, of Trump and Brexit and terror attacks seemingly every day, if we as a community don’t laugh, we’ll cry. This pride month, celebrate your true icons, from the Marsha P Johnsons and Harvey Milks of yesteryear, to the modern day trailblazers making the world a safer and happier place for LGBT+ people.

The Babadook loves men and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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