June is officially known around the world as Pride Month, in commemoration of the Stonewall riots held in New York in 1969. Parades are being held all over to celebrate the LGBTQ community. We have come to associate the brightly colored, rainbow flag with Pride and the LGBTQ community. This iconic symbol has its own origin story. But this year, a new icon was created. And his name is Babadook.
The unlikely creature has emerged as an unofficial symbol of Pride Month as LGBTQ communities across the internet have adopted the mythical beast as an icon. The Babadook, whose origin story lies in the 2014 Australian horror movie by the same name, has been showing up around the United States at Pride parades.
The Babadook first came into being as an LGBTQ icon back in October 2016 when a now viral, then ironic, Tumblr post captured the internet's attention. The poster posed the question, “Whenever someone says the Babadook isn’t openly gay it’s like?? Did you even watch the movie???” The post's popularity surged as nearly 100,000 responses prompted a discussion of the possible deeper meanings of the independent film.
The theory was furthered by another post to Tumblr when The Babadook was listed under LGBT movies on Netflix. One commenter cleverly noted, "the B in LGBT stands for Babadook." Obviously.
In an interview with the L.A. Times, Karen Tongson, an associate professor at the University of Southern California said, "Someone was like, 'How could The Babadook become a gay film' and the answer was readily available...," the professor of gender studies and English postulates. "For many LGBT people, that's what it feels like to be in your own families sometimes."
In The Babadook, it is not portrayed openly as a gay character; however, many draw parallels from the plot itself. "Mister Babadook" as he is known, is only half-acknowledged by a young boy and his mother. All the while, he has a significant and indisputable impact on their lives. The phrase, "If it's in a word, or it's in a look, you can't get rid of the Babadook," is repeated throughout the horror movie.
As June grew closer, people all over the internet began sharing fan art of this newly adopted darling.
However you interpret the Babadook, it is a symbol that brings people together in a way that is loving and supportive. Maybe the Babadook was just was what 2017's Pride Month needed in light of the recent political climate: An icon that to unifies in both humor and hope.
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