By now, we’ve all had our tentacles wrapped around Netflix’s masterfully made Squid Game, but I think it’s time we had a conversation about the VIPs — those awfully acted Americans who are wealthy, twisted, and oddly queer-coded out the wazoo.
Now to get things started, let’s talk very briefly about who the VIPs are just in case you forgot.
These characters represent the richest of the rich. They’re essentially a bunch of lousy (mostly) white and (mostly) American men who have become bored with worldly pleasures and seek to bet their wealth on the lives of those who compete in Squid Game‘s death sports.
The main VIPs are bull, lion and panther, the latter of the three being the one who unmasked himself in that gross and perverted scene with police officer Hwang Jun-ho.
Sure, there are others, like an eagle and a bear, but they barely ever talk and are hardly ever seen.
What concerns me about these characters, however, is how their frivolity and glut for excess can often be read as a queer-coding of these characters. They can pretty much all come across as perverted queer men with a penchant for overindulgence, and something about that doesn’t sit right with me.
We see it most with panther, the main example of this, who is the most blatant with his desire for men. His lust for Hwang Jun-ho is presented as just another part of his ruthless want for pleasure. His homosexuality presented as perverted and hedonistic.
It’s almost like these characters represent all of the seven deadly sins in one, and the dirty sin of lust is expressed through secretive and wayward acts of homosexuality.
It really doesn’t help that this character is so clearly a gay man, and is also extremely perverted. He coerces people into sexual acts, like some caricature of a twisted gay man from a straight man’s diary in the ’80s.
What is worse is that panther’s fellow VIPs all laugh with encouraging voices, cheering him on and applauding him for ‘scoring’ an attractive man to do things with.
They all have this strange element of gaiety about them that feels odd to watch. They puff cigars, swish glasses, and smile menacingly while luxuriating in their chairs, and make snappy quips with sassy voices, much like Brad Goreski on Fashion Police or Carson Kressley on RuPaul’s Drag Race.
Point is, while these people exist in their queerness and are thoroughly entertaining, the characters in Squid Game feel like gay parodies.
We’ve seen the queer-coding of villains countless times in the past. Hell, we grew up on Disney villains, for gay God’s sake, many of whom possess a strange queer nature about them (see: Scar, Jafar, Ursula, Captain Hook, Ratcliffe, Hades).
They galavant about the place, revel in their riches and villainous desires, and are oh so conveniently single, all the time.
Sure, it’s fun to see a bunch of characters represented with (unfortunately) stereotypical traits of the ‘gay and bitchy’ character in the media, then point and laugh at how absurd they are, but it begins to feel odd when every villain starts to possess homosexuality as something that adds to their wicked perversion and general evil.
And sure, you can argue that only one of the VIPs is confirmed to be gay, but my gaydar was going off for the whole lot of them. Besides, the worst one of the lot was the gay one, and something feels weird about it all, not because of this single instance, but the regularity in instances just like this.
Fuck it, Netflix, give me a gay hero next time. I’m tired of seeing people like me swishing wine and cackling over their balconies. I do enough of that in my own time.