[Update at the end of the article]
This just in: the “B” in “LGBTQ” actually stands for “Babadook” rather than “bisexual.” At least, that’s what countless social media users would have you believe since a fortuitous Netflix archiving error made the Babadook, a movie monster meant to represent a family’s grief, into the fiercest gay pride icon this side of Venus. And in a happy coincidence, the rise of the gay Babadook coincides with gay pride month! YASSSS…
About five months ago, reports Bustle, a user on social media site Tumblr with the oh-so-charming handle of “I’m An Easter Slut” posted a screenshot they had taken in early 2017 of the “LGBT Films” Netflix section. Nested among G.B.F and Other People was the widely grinning likeness of The Babadook. Presumably, Netflix had simply misfiled the popular 2014 psychological horror film — Bloody Disgusting notes The Babadook has absolutely nothing to do with romantic orientations of any type.
Teen Vogue later reported that the screenshot appears to be edited and is probably not legitimate. Either the first people to see the Netflix screenshot on Tumblr did not notice that fact or did not care, however, because many of them thought the idea of The Babadook being a movie celebrating the gay experience was a hilarious concept. That inspired those people to take the idea to other forums and push it as a sincere belief, which resulted in some pretty hilarious deadpan conversations.
The domino effect continued when people began screenshotting the Tumblr conversations about gay Babadook and posting the captures on other social media sites, such as Twitter.
my new favorite Tumblr meme is insisting that The Babadook is gay pic.twitter.com/Id1PJpkkgX
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) February 15, 2017
In the conversation depicted above, user Ianstagram claims The Babadook is “a movie about a gay man who just wants to live his life in a small Australian suburb. It may be “just a movie” to you but to the LGBT community the Babadook is a symbol of our journey.”
“The B in LGBT stands for Babadook. Everyone knows that,” chimes in To-Quote-Hamlet-No.
“I cannot understand whether they’re serious or not,” questions a detractor.
“We’re dead f***ing serious,” Ianstagram snaps back. “We don’t tolerate ambiguity in the Babadiscourse.”
Such screenshots quickly went viral, and the gay Babadook has by this point become a full-fledged meme complete with dozens of hilarious pieces of fan art (more on that below).
Of course, not every edgy and semi-humorous post on Tumblr becomes a bona fide internet culture phenomenon like gay Babadook has; there were definitely other factors at play that helped the stars align for this particular meme.
Possibly the most notable of those factors is that it is gay pride month. Again, the initial screenshot was posted back in January, but it was not dug up until now because #LGBTQ is so popular during June.
Also, HisKind points out, the movie is actually weirdly representative of the LGBTQ experience if viewed from the right angle.
“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,” the piece reads. “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?”
But as with most things that go viral on the internet, the gay Babadook meme caught on for the least interesting of reasons: sheer chance. Somebody, somewhere just so happened to decide the concept was funny, and their comments happened to be seen by the right people who would spread them even more.
However the gay Babadook came to the forefront, though, he is here, and he’s pretty funny. He’s inspired some clever art — check out Heavy for the best LGBTQ Babadook memes — and even some new lingo that will become part of the LGBTQ niche dialect (e.g. “Babussy”).
this physically hurt to make pic.twitter.com/xwP8ogaDNV
— alexis (@lgbthansolo) June 5, 2017
So happy gay pride month, and we hope you enjoy the new (unofficial) LGBTQ mascot — the gay Babadook!
UPDATE: Hilariously, a Los Angeles theater is now hosting five days of screenings of The Babadook, and the proceeds will go to LGBTQ awareness groups. They will also be hosting a Babadook cosplay event at a local bar to play Babadook-themed games, sing Karaoke, and participate in a forum entitled “Babashook: From Monster to Cultural Icon.” The event promises to be fabulous.
[Featured Image by Muffinpines/Tumblr]