Welcome to the 2012 Women in Horror Month at Dreadful Tales! While this is our first opportunity to celebrate Women in Horror Month, twenty-twelve actually marks the 3rd annual event, dubbed WiHM for short. WiHM is the brainchild of Hannah Nuerotica of Ax Wound Zine fame. If you haven’t heard of Ax Wound Zine, I strongly encourage you to check it out. Ax Wound is a magnificent DIY zine filled with gory little bits of intelligent horror coverage from a feminist point of view, all pulled together with the blood-covered glitter, glue, and tears of Miss Nuerotica.
Some of you may already be familiar with this annual event. For those that aren’t, here is a not-so-brief explanation about what this event is and what you can expect from Dreadful Tales in the month of February.
Simply put, Women in Horror Month is a celebration of women in the horror genre. We ( writers, journalists, bloggers and others who participate ) pay tribute to the women in the genre who inspire, terrify, and move us. We recognize all the hardworking artists, writers, journalists, actresses, directors, producers, and femmes of all trades that leave their mark on horror. Some of you might be saying, “That doesn’t seem fair that they get their own month. Why should they get special treatment?” I would ask you to name your top 5 favorite female horror film directors. What about your top 10 favorite female horror authors? I’m guessing this would take a bit of thought and even then you may not be able to hit all five or ten. The response would be much different if I asked you to name your top 5 favorite female horror actresses. Is this because women don’t direct, or is it that they don’t write horror fiction? Well, of course not. They’re out there, working their fingers to the bone with the best of them, but unfortunately it requires more than a bit of overtime to get the same recognition as their male counterparts. Hell, just the other day I came across a Top 20 Greatest Horror Writers of All-Time list on Mania.com and not one woman was included among them! This is why we celebrate Women in Horror Month.
Here is a short quote from the founder herself, Hannah Nuerotica, about why WiHM is important:
Every day we should recognize women in horror and bring attention their projects but having our own month works to bring AWARENESS. It helps bring attention to people who may not even realize how marginalized we are as artists in this genre.
Women in Horror Month isn’t just
a time to shift focus to the horror heroines, it’s also an opportunity for the community, both genders, to discuss the ever-changing role of women in the genre. In a guest post about females in comedy, by Molly Knefel on Feministing, she makes many eloquent statements about the role of women in comedy – statements that are applicable to our role in horror as well. She criticized one journalist for his piece “Are women funny? Yes. Now can we please move on?” Her response is aligned with my own personal opinion of this month and why it is relevant; “As much as we are all tired of hashing this stuff out, as long as powerful men and powerful institutions are complicit with sexist behavior, we must continue to call it out.”
Yeah, Dreadful Tales will cover our favorite female writers, and there will be interviews, articles, and cake… Whoops, sorry, there will NOT be cake! I’m getting hungry. OK, more to the point, while we will have all that fun stuff, this is, more importantly, a time to rehash the uncomfortable discussion of blatant and invisible sexism in the genre.
Is this a time to bash the journalists who show favoritism toward the men in horror? No.
Is this a time to criticize women and men who, not always deliberately, perpetuate negative stereotypes of women? Absolutely not.
This is a time to come together as brothers and sisters in blood and guts to show our solidarity for the
genre we love, while educating people on the shortcomings of it, discouraging divisiveness and hate, and helping us as a community become stronger in our journey to move beyond it.
I will admit that there were times where I may have perpetuated negative stereotypes of women, and engaged in invisible sexism. Imagine my surprise when, already nearing the age of 30, I realized my bookshelf was a full–on sausage fest! But I believe that as long as I am still breathing, I have the opportunity to change. That’s what Women in Horror Month is for me.
Another great point made by Knefel in her Feministing guest post is that discussing sexism isn’t about pointing the finger at someone, thereby proving them innately bad. We want people to “confront your beliefs, learn from them, and move towards a world where sexism, and any other form of oppression, will not fly.”
That’s what I hope to do for myself and my sisters in horror.
This isn’t all about me, though. Colum and Jason have their own contributions to make in celebration of WiHM. Dreadful Tales is a website dedicated to horror
in literature and entertainment. We love great writers and we strive to promote their work, male or female. For us, Women in Horror doesn’t stop at the end of February. We understand how important it is to spread the word about talented female writers beyond this month and that is exactly what we intend to do.
I want to also include this quote from Hannah Nuerotica’s Women in Horror Month Manifesto that aptly expresses the role of men in this movement:
I want to double and triple stress that this is not some fucking ego trip for me. This is coming from the bottom of my female horror loving heart. This month is not about me coming up with the idea but about how we can ALL TAKE ACTION to bring AWARENESS to women in the industry. Please help me brainstorm how people can go about this. And you do not need a vagina to take part. Just like with any feminist issue if men don’t get involved NOTHING will change. It takes everyone to make a difference and I’m not separatist. So, men, please take note and help as well.
OK, I’ll stop preaching at you, dear fiends! Come back tomorrow for Day 1 of Women in Horror Month. We’ll be here each weekday with a new female artist to check out. So, bust out the ol’ to-read list ’cause you’re gonna have a bunch more to add to it!
Oh, and to find out more about Women in Horror Month, visit their website.
Please leave comments, tell us what you think, and keep the dialogue going!
(Appropriately, this post was written while listening to the funkadelic Queen of Badassery, Betty Davis. She may not be a woman in horror, but she is one bad mutha…)