So, I have a weird one for you guys today.
News has been going around for a couple days about this weird looking creature being a new gay icon. That’s literally how news sources (gay or otherwise) have been reporting this, “Meet the Internet’s New Gay Icon.”
When I saw those I thought, “Oh, that’s kind of interesting, but not enough to make me click on it.” But, since the news cycle is a little slow right now, I eventually caved and looked into it. And it was just so weird, and stupid, that I knew I had to talk about it.
Let me walk you through it.
(Caution: The next two paragraphs contain spoilers for the film The Babadook).
That creature in question is called Babadook. He comes from a 2014 Australian/Canadian horror film about a woman named Amelia whose husband died in a car crash while they were on the way to the hospital to have their baby.
Amelia then lives with her six-year-old son who starts to see visions of a monster. To try to calm him, she reads him a children’s book about a monster called The Babadook, which then becomes real and torments the both of them.
If you want a full summary or synopsis, you can look it up on Wikipedia or IMDb, but that’s the gist of the story.
Some have taken the monster in the story to be a metaphor for Amelia’s grief, anger, and depression after losing her husband. But, some on Tumblr (of course) have come up with other ideas.
At this point, that honestly just seemed like a gag. People on Tumblr were making a joke out of it, which is funny, stupid, and a little insulting as at the end of the day they’re making gay representation a joke.
But, this then became an ongoing meme and eventually people took the idea and ran with it. That then lead to Netflix adding the movie in December, and placing it under the LGBT Movies category. As you can expect, things just skyrocketed from there.
Ultimately, what started out as a small joke has blown up into the next internet fad. The gay community and the internet have hijacked this metaphor for depression and grief and have turned into an “icon” for gay culture.
Anyone is allowed to interpret a story as they see fit, (Coming from an English education background, I know that more than anyone) but Babadook doesn’t have anything to do with queer culture. This is just the acquisition of an image and transforming it into something else. I can’t say if this is right or wrong, ‘cause at the end of the day it’s just a joke, (Plus, it’s getting some attention for the film) but I can’t help but tilt my head at it all.
Though the question is, will it be a lasting and running gag or will it be an in-joke that dies out in a month or two until its just an obscure “remember that time?” We’ll see.
In the meantime, meet and laugh with Babadook, the gay icon of today. We’ll see if he’s here tomorrow.