Thursday, 14 July 2011

Genre Talk: We Are Not Bloody Unicorns...

But I'm sure they'd be tasty with a dash of pepper. 

I know this doesn't need to be said, but in a way it does. Women in the Horror biz are treated like unicorns. Fairy-tale creatures that can't possibly be real. They couldn't possibly really love the genre the way a man could. That they are only in it to have that "Ooo scary!" moment when they can cuddle up with a guy and he can protect them from the fake horrors on screen. Like we don't truly know what real horror means, because we sometimes wear pumps, we sometimes wear dresses and we sometimes like makeup and other "girly" things. People have done studies on the subject, showing that women are not pretending to like the genre, and are a huge community within it. Why is this still a big deal? It's as stupid to me as banning gay marriage. If two people are in love why can't they be married? If women like horror why can't they get respect like any man within the genre?

Give me a break.

I don't do normal "girly" things. I am turned off by most of what society deems as proper womanly behaviour. I cuss, I am tattooed. I prefer pants over skirts (though I do enjoy a sexy corset every so often), and I am aggressive. I'm not ashamed of it either. I am still a woman. It means more to me than if I have tits and and a bleeding “ax wound”. I have hated my body many times, loved it others and the relationship I have had with the world is colored by the fact I am a woman, who happens to see herself in bewtween genders anyhow. It doesn't make me less of a woman, I just have the perspective of someone who is "GenderQueer."

I personally get tired of seeing how we are treated in the genre. While it is getting better in some ways, there is still a section of the community who treat the genre like a boys club. It doesn't matter if they work in music, film, comics, writing (I sadly see this happen too much in the writing circles I'm a part of) there are some men out there who seem to think women wanting to work in horror is silly. Like we need a pat on the head and sent off to bed like good girls because we are the weaker sex and can't handle real horror.

All I have to say is this:

The times are changing but slowly. There are many more women involved in the genre now, and some making it big too. But I still see people fighting for women's equality within the genre, as well as other places because it's still a problem. Why is it STILL an issue guys? You still get your boxers in knots over the idea women want to be a part of the horror world too? What is it about our darkness that scares you so much?

It's not a boys club. And it shouldn’t be treated like one. Horror is about fear, disgust, darkness, etc. And most of all, horror is about breaking conventions placed by the "mainstream". Horror is supposed to be the place where people talk about taboo subjects, explore the dank recesses of the human spirit. And if you think women don't have voices to go along with that...

People shouldn’t be treated differently due to their race, gender, creed or any of that, but in reality we are. In reality the absurd stereotypes some horror movies implement (like for example: The virgin always lives. The black guy dies first. The “slut and jock” die having sex, etc) are just reflections of the ones we live with in reality. Horror is a dark mirror that way. It reflects back what we see in society and twists it on its head. In a lot of ways, horror helps you experience the darker parts of humanity in a safe way. My body doesn't make me who I am. But my experiences do shape me. As a woman, I have had experiences different from a man. This does not devalue the stories I can tell, and take away the horrific impact of those stories. If we stop focusing on sex, maybe we can get down into the nitty gritty of telling twisted tales. If I had my way, gender wouldn't be an issue at all. It’s about entertainment and darkness. Let’s get working on that.

Ignoring us is not going to make us go away. Trying to force us out will only make us louder. We love this genre too, from women who enjoy a good slasher, to those who write novels about monsters, to those of us who make films about the truly disturbing stuff to seek catharsis. We are as varied as men's voices within the genre, and we are here to stay.

There, I'm off my high horse. Let's get to the business of how awesome horror is!

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