The Babadook is the world’s newest LGBT+ icon, but not everyone seems to be clued up on the specifics of it all.
For those who may not know, The Babadook is a 2014 horror film about a mother raising her son in the aftermath of her husband’s death. After reading a pop-up story about Mister Babadook, a top hat clad monster who torments people after they find out about his existence, the Babadook comes after the pair in a variety of creepy ways.
The Babadook is a film about grief, motherhood, and loneliness – with no queer representation on the surface. Or is there?
What if The Babadook is really gay and just torments people to stir up drama? That’s what the internet seems to think, thanks in part to a queer reading of the film.
— This is horrible (@melongifts) June 4, 2017
The ‘queering’ of films occurs when academics or audiences take film characters with no explicit sexuality, and they ‘read’ them as LGBT+, taking evidence from the text. Alexander Doty famously envisioned The Wizard of Oz as a lesbian fantasy. In his book Flaming Classics: Queering the Film Canon, Doty envisions Dorothy as a young lesbian, with the Wicked Witch and Glinda representing the “wicked butch and good femme” respectively.
This is exactly the kind of reading audiences have given The Babadook. The titular monster has no obvious sexuality, so there’s nothing that stops him from being a queer stunt queen who lives in the basement of an old house.
One Tumblr user notes that The Bababook’s creation of “a pop-up book of himself for the drama of it all” is evidence of his queerness.
my new favorite Tumblr meme is insisting that The Babadook is gay pic.twitter.com/Id1PJpkkgX
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) February 15, 2017
He has even been imagined as a Drag Race queen:
babadook a true gay icon pic.twitter.com/Pp8Aj23zsG
— JuJu (@amadojuju) May 14, 2017
Now queer people across the internet have expressed their admiration of The Babadook for living his best life:
openly gay and with an affinity for hats and drama, the Babadook was the first time I saw myself represented in a film
— JuanPa (@jpbrammer) April 19, 2017
— lina (@jetstlife) May 26, 2017
We should elect the Babadook as the mascot of this and every subsequent Pride Month
— Cameron Colwell (@Cameron___c) June 6, 2017
happy pride month from queer icon the babadook pic.twitter.com/f2JxwQbRDd
— jacob (@jacobbullards) June 3, 2017
The Babadook is a stunt queen. Go off bitch.
— cotton eyed hoe (@ineedahitta) June 5, 2017
imagine being unable to watch the babadook and take it seriously bc every time he appears u just think about how he’s a queer icon
— ULTRA KENDY (@revolocities) June 5, 2017
What do you think? Should The Babadook sit alongside Judy and Barbra in the annals of queer history, with his top hat cocked to the side and claws manicured to perfection?
Watch the trailer for The Babadook below: