I’ve been noticeably absent from my blog – not through choice but rather time constraints – I thought it fitting to return to it today. Just past Women in Horror Month, and it being International Women’s Day, what better time?
I am a woman working in horror, I am a woman writing horror, I am a woman raising a young woman… I am woman. There are some, though, who don’t approve of that fantastic mix of women and horror (I’m not linking to any of that shite), and refuse to read any horror stories penned by women. Hell, there are those who won’t read anything written by a woman, and while this might surprise some, it doesn’t surprise me – not in this world we find ourselves in.
Elitism exists in the publishing world, and has long-since been an issue for women who love the horror genre – those who write, read, act, direct, edit, et al – have faced criticism, ridicule, anger, disdain for daring to venture into horror. We’ve been mocked, derided, ignored, threatened, doxed, we’ve been made to feel unwelcome, our passion for the genre belittled because we don’t swing that Y chromosome. Get out of our man-cave!
I’m here to tell you that Y chromosome means squat when it comes to writing horror; the X chromosome means squat, too. You see, writing horror isn’t about chromosomes, it isn’t about being a man or a woman or neither of the aforementioned. It’s about writing a good story, a great story. It’s about making good art.
Unfortunately, there are those who believe horror/dark fiction is the bastion of men, and that’s why Women in Horror Month was born; to break down those walls, those prejudices, the ignorance. Women can’t write horror because they don’t know it? We don’t understand fear? Terror? Subjugation? Do my ovaries automatically signal my inability to dissect, disembowel, decapitate, dismember a character? Can I not create a world only to destroy it with impunity? Look away, uterus, there’s gonna be blood…
I’m not the only one who sees the ridiculousness of this. I’m not the only one who sees the disparity of the perceived belief of a woman’s “place” within the horror genre; within any publishing medium. If you think women are fairly represented, then take a look at this video and tell me this is right.
There are women writing amazing horror, women are editing, acting in and directing kick-arse horror movies and programs. Don’t limit your reading and viewing; horror and dark fiction is the greatest genre you can indulge in – a wide variety of voices and styles only enriches us all. Find storytelling from women, people of colour, from diverse backgrounds, from those who identify as LGBTI, from those with disabilities, from all walks of life, culture, religion and the non-religious. Open your scope and take in the wonder of diversity.
So as I sit here writing and drinking coffee from my Wonder Woman mug, here’s a small list of women writers and editors you should be reading:
Lee Murray, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Kaaron Warren, Rivqa Rafael, Christine Morgan, Nalo Hopkinson, Kirsten Cross, Sophie Yorkston, Angela Slatter, Octavia E Butler, Joanne Anderton, Catriona Sparks, Rose Blackthorn, Zena Shapter, Paula R Stiles, Maria Lewis.
The above list only scratches the surface of women writers making their mark, and I encourage you to source more – diversity of voice will open worlds that ignite your imagination and take you to places of wonder.
And really, we’re all welcome in this place of storytelling.