Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Women In Horror Month - Women Writers Or Just Writers?

Elizabeth Black lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. You may find her on Facebook and on her web site.


Women In Horror Month

I need to read more horror written by women because, being a female horror writer, I like to relate to the authors of good works. There's nothing more irritating than listening to some dude mansplain why women aren't scary and can't write horror, therefore cannot be highly-paid authors of stuff that freaks the hell out of you.

There are plenty of scary-as-shit women writers, and I've had the pleasure of conversing with them on Facebook. Here are a few of them:

Lisa Lane
Lisa Morton
Lisa Mannetti
(What is it with horror writers named "Lisa"?  LOL)
Christine Morgan
Carson Buckingham
Billie Sue Moseman
Ann Rice
Dana Fredsdi

I do take issue with the term "women horror writers". Why point out that we're female? No one ever says "male horror writers", "male artists", or "male composers", and that's because being male is considered the default. When I was in college, one of my art professors was writing a book entitled "Profiles On Women Artists". He interviewed artists including Elaine de Kooning and Audrey Flack. Some of these women lived in the shadows of their more famous male artistic partners. Some of them criticized the nature of this book because they didn't consider themselves women artists. They considered themselves artists, which is exactly what they were.

In the eyes of some, being a woman makes you... different. And in some insinuations, less worthy – "You're a good writer... for a woman." I don't believe that nonsense for a second. Still, women have had to take on male names in order to be taken seriously when they've infringed on what men consider their turf. James Tiptree (Alice Bradley Sheldon), Andy Stack (Ann Rule), George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans), and Georges Sand (Amantine (also "Amandine") Lucile Aurore Dupin) are examples. Women also often use initials instead of full names, such as J. K. Rowling, A. M. Bernard (Louisa May Alcott), and J. D. Robb (Nora Roberts). I use initials. Today, when a writer uses initials, it's often assumed that writer is female. My point is that being female should not be considered a part of what makes a woman who writes horror a writer. The stories she writes are worthwhile on their own merit. While horror in many ways continues to be an old boys network, women continue to gain ground. Women are writing and submitting more horror and dark fiction stories, and they are seeing their works published. They are receiving awards. I'd like to see more women submit to horror markets and gain acceptance. Hopefully someday, events like "Women In Horror Month" will no longer be necessary because women won't be viewed as "the other". It would be more than welcome.

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