Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why We Need Women In Horror Month

As a new writer (so far as publishing is concerned), the one thing I've learned is that the profession is filled with friendly, helpful, supportive people. Most of the time. But, like any group of people, there are a few bad seeds that sprout up from time to time and spread their vile spores. Nobody knows why. Maybe my friend Mercedes has them pegged and it's simply because they're 'whakadouches'.

As a writer of mainly horror, I can't help but be thankful to women writers of horror. They were key in bringing forth the modern era of horror with authors such as Ann Radcliffe in the 1700's, to Mary Shelley in the 1800's and on into more modern times with Shirley Jackson. If not for these women, authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and many others probably would not have had a horror platform to stand upon.

Now, the blog post that inspired me to write this, by the awesome author and lovely woman of darkness, Mercedes M. Yardley (hopefully with permission):

This is Exactly Why We Need “Women In Horror Month,” You Jerk.

Well. I’m mad.
I’m not trying to be inciting or hysterical. But I am angry.
A “fellow” horror writer lambasted a dear friend and amazing woman for doing book signings while in costume and…I’m not quite sure what else. Being a woman? He said women were especially bad at trying to grab attention (“claiming” we’re horror writers when we aren’t) and most of us are hags anyway.
That’s right. Most of us are hags.
I’m sorry, but how did appearance even manage to worm its way into this conversation? This author has one book out and a second releasing soon. Yet he has the authority to decide who is really a horror writer and who isn’t? And bringing physical appearance into it is exceptionally personal. He doesn’t like the way most of us look? Next time I’ll be careful to wear a helmet while signing so I don’t offend readers. I thought writing was about the *writing* but apparently I was wrong! Silly woman, “claiming” to write horror! Thank goodness this random dude was there to set the #LadyHags in our place.

The Helmet of Haggishness will hide my face nicely at signings. Oh, and look! An Anti-Hag Cooties visor, as well!
Hags? All right. I’ll hop on that broomstick and ride it.
I’m not naming names for a few reasons. The first reason is grace. Perhaps the ranting author had a really bad day. Perhaps he wrote something without thinking and didn’t realize how hurtful and misogynistic he was being. Perhaps these aren’t really his true thoughts. I wouldn’t want to cause this individual pain, even though he so clearly caused it in others.
The other reason that I don’t want to share his name is because he doesn’t deserve the attention.
The third is because the woman he attacked (before his vitriol spilled over to the rest of womankind) has the right to share his identity, not me. If you’d like to talk to her about it, feel free. Besides being a fun, compassionate writer and person, she is also a mother dealing with a sick child. Her son has cancer. That’s right: cancer. And some random whackadouche decided that she wasn’t up to his standards.
You see why I’m so furious right now. My hands are shaking.
Meme Created by Sister Hag Tonia Brown
This isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a constant thing. February is Women in Horror month precisely because of things like this. Women are often shunted to the back or otherwise demeaned in this genre. Definitely not by everybody. If we’re hags, then we have a strong troop of hag supporters. Team #LadyHags. There are men inside this genre and out who link arms and stand with us. Which is how it’s supposed to be, by the way. Who has time for pettiness and division, really? Don’t you have lives you’re trying to lead? Children you’re trying to feed and keep alive? Don’t you have loved ones worth fighting for? Why spend your time attacking women that are of no concern to you?
You don’t have the right.
We are here. We are beautiful. We are strong. We’re going to write what we want and how we want. If we want to do readings in libraries, good. If we want to do booksignings on a lawn, more power to us. Our path to success doesn’t concern you. It doesn’t impede yours. You don’t like what we write, where we hold signings, or what we’re wearing?
Nobody asked you. And more importantly?
You don’t get to tell us what to do.
If you’re going to judge us as writers, then judge us on merit. Like us for who we are or what we bring to the table. But don’t turn us away because of something stupid like, oh, having female anatomy. Besides, women are wired for horror. Believe it.
As for the rest of us, Happy Women in Horror Month. Support your favorite lady hags and pick up a book. If you already have a copy, gift it to somebody. Let our haggishness shine! ‪#‎LoveYourHag‬ ‪#‎ladyhags‬

 Please stop by and visit Mercedes' blog, A Broken Laptop

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