Unlike kids of today with their Euphoria-this and TikTok-that, I had to spend a lot of my formative years desperately searching for queer subtext in every single piece of media I consumed. Matilda? Miss Honey was a lesbian. 10 Things I Hate About You? Kat was clearly queer. Titanic? Rose was into Jack because he looked like a soft butch. Flubber? Flubber is homosexual.
That’s why, when I recently watched the 2002 movie The Ring, having not seen it since it came out, I was shocked at what I saw. I wasn’t shocked at the twists in the story, or at people using VHS tapes, but at what I had clearly missed back then:
Every single woman in The Ring is queer.
I don’t know why I didn’t see it the first time round, perhaps my nervous system was distracted by the spooks and scares (not sure what the nervous system does). But this time, I noticed.
You might be all like “wahhhhhh but there’s no evidence, nobody does anything gay wahhh” (in this scenario you are a baby with critical thinking skills). To you, tiny critical baby, I say this: As a gay subtext and signs expert, having dedicated my life from the age of 12 onwards to reading queerness into things, that is for me to decide.
KATIE AND BECCA
The movie opens with Katie and Becca, two high-school friends hanging out alone in one of their bedrooms, sitting on a bed together. Feels queer immediately, but doesn’t prove anything on its own, until we put together a few other clues.
As you can see below, Katie is picking at her nails. I believe this is her doing her due diligence as a queer woman about to finger her secret girlfriend in a single bed.
Becca gets jealous as she learns that Katie went away with her boyfriend and didn’t tell her.
They seem like very good friends! What reason would Katie have to lie to Becca about that, if it isn’t that she knows Becca would be jealous? There are literally no other reasons, don’t waste time trying to think of one.
Katie pretends to be undergoing some sort of ghostly attack in order to lie down across Becca, initiating physical contact. We’ve all been there!
After Katie undergoes a real ghostly attack and dies (which Becca sees), this lands her in a mental institution. Why is she so upset? Just because she saw her friend killed horrifically by an evil spirit? No, it’s because she was in love with Katie. Watch any movie about two queer women made in the past 30 years and you will know that this is how lesbian love stories always end. This is essentially the plot of Portrait of a Lady on Fire, except the evil spirit in that is societal expectations.
Naomi Watts plays Rachel Keller, and her sister Ruth is the mother of Katie, the first victim. You can tell they are sisters because their hair is the exact same color. We only see Ruth at one point during the movie, which is at the wake of her daughter. Very sad, but it doesn’t stop me from seeing that she is definitely queer.
Ruth is the most lesbian name in existence. If I was playing a video game where I had to build the archetypal lesbian, perhaps the game is called The Lesbian of Zelda, I don’t know I haven’t really thought about it, I would name my character Ruth. If you are reading this and your name is Ruth, you are queer. Congratulations.
Look at this face, look at her beautiful tear. This woman cries like this listening to Phoebe Bridgers songs in her car, I am certain of it.
RANDOM FUNERAL GUESTS
This is three bisexual women from Melbourne in a beer garden discussing Marxism and astrology. Later they will have a regrettable threesome.
This is their queer transmasc friend. He finds them all really annoying but they have hookups for ketamine.
She’s stylish and queer and caring, talking to Rachel about her creepy iron-deficient son. Look at the body language going on, Rachel is obsessed.
If you look closely at the schedule, you will see more evidence. “Take a walk to observe trees”? “Rest”? Self-care queer queen.
VHS TECH LESBIAN
We only see this woman for a brief moment, but the lesbian energy radiates from her with enough force to power 10 million VHS tapes.
She works in tech.
I can’t adequately show you, or describe, how this woman walks. But you simply must believe me when I say that she walks like a huge lesbian.
Martin Henderson plays Noah Clay, Rachel’s ex-partner and (surprise) father to her very creepy child Aiden. He thinks of himself as handsome and charming, irresistible to women everywhere. Not this woman.
You can all see her hair I assume.
When Noah tries to charm his way into looking at hospital records, she strenuously denies him at every opportunity, and looks affronted at his attempt to flirt with her.
Is she straight?
If you recall, Anna Morgan is the mother of Samara. Hers is a tragic story, full of awful events. She is queer.
She is absolutely obsessed with her hair. And then there’s this:
Anna Morgan Hosts Horse Show.
God the woman bloody loved horses. She can’t get enough. She partially killed Samara because Samara killed her horses. Would a straight woman do that? No.
Even though I believe every woman in this movie to be queer, Doctor Grasnik is the most “Capital L” lesbian in the movie. And perhaps the world.
Sensible grey hair, a warm cardigan with a pattern on it, cheap jeans, and comfortable shoes. Drinking tea. This is what Lesbians would hand out as uniforms if we went to war.
Facing away from the person you are having a conversation with in order to be dramatic.
Unfortunately the most gay thing about Dr Grasnik is the one thing I can’t put on the page. Her voice is the siren song of lesbians. She sounds like if Bea Arthur and Helen Hunt had a baby. And that baby smoked a lot and also was a lesbian.
SAMARA THE GIRL IN THE WELL
Depending what stage of the movie we are in, Samara is either an evil little girl or an evil spirit, intending on killing everyone in the world. She is also queer.
She is a messy bitch who wants to force everyone to watch her bad media studies class project.
One word: Cottagecore.
You’re trying to tell me this woman is straight? Okay sure. You can’t see me, but I am doing the jerkoff motion. That’s actually not true, it’s hard to do that motion when you are typing. Wait a second I will stop. Okay I stopped and did it. She’s queer, you fool.
Rachel is not only queer, I believe she is so queer that she regrets getting knocked up by Noah, and shows disdain and regret to her son at all times.
Case closed. If you do not share this article within 7 days, a queer woman will emerge from a well to show you photos of her cat.
Bec Shaw is a writer for TV and heaps of places on the Internet.