I Smell a Rant: Why I Do Not Celebrate Women in Horror Month

By: Heather Seebach

It's February, and that means Women in Horror Month is here. Founded by Hannah "Neurotica" Forman in 2009, the month-long celebration seeks to bring exposure to female horror filmmakers and other industry professionals. While I am all for women making horror films, I have never been one to celebrate this month. I know I won't be making any friends by saying this - in fact, many bloggers I consider friends and deeply respect will strongly disagree with me here. I get it, and I totally respect it, but since I have been meaning to write a little rant about being a woman and a horror fan, I figured this is the perfect time. This is purely my personal perspective on the topic, and I mean no offense to the ladies (and gents) who support this cause.

I do not consider myself a "female horror fan." Yes, I have all the anatomically correct parts, but I resent the notion of being categorized. It tends to automatically suggest I am inferior or at least different. Even if, best case scenario, it meant "special", I would still eschew the title. I am a horror fan, plain and simple. People do not generally call me a "female cinephile" or a "female blogger." In fact, I would be pretty offended if they did, as doing so just deepens the wedge between me and my male counterparts.

 I also dislike the assumption that I am particularly interested in or knowledgeable of female filmmakers, scream queens, and feminist theory in the genre. While all those things interest me, they have just as much chance at catching my attention and affection as, say, Ti West, Bruce Campbell, and the theory that R.J. MacReady was assimilated.

 While I can see the benefit of WiHM propelling lesser-known female filmmakers into the spotlight, I personally dislike the idea of using my gender as a source of attention or stepping stone to success. The idea of hiring women as filmmakers, actors, writers, etc. should come naturally based on their gender-neutral talents, not some hiring quota or desire to be different. So often I have seen horror news sites seeking female writers. I should be overjoyed at this leg-up I have, just for having a vagina, but I'm not. I want to be recognized and appreciated for my skills just like a man would be. Isn't that the very essence of gender equality? 

If it would be sexist to have a Men in Horror Month, then I am not interested in one for women. How about a celebratory month for all indie horror filmmakers? Or for horror fans in general? So long as we keep perpetuating the divide between the sexes, how can we expect men to view us as equals?  

There is no denying sexism has played a role, but women have grown in the genre over the last few decades (and it started well before WiHM). I'm not so naive as to think producers, agents, etc. don't look at gender, but over the last few years, it seems the tide has shifted and women are specifically getting extra recognition just for being women. 

So we get a special month (the shortest month) all to ourselves - what about the other eleven? I guess they belong to the men. For me, celebrating women in horror is an all-year event, and the same goes for men in horror. It's a genre and a community I love, regardless of the genitalia involved. 

Having said that, I recommend you read Brittney-Jade Colangelo's article at Day of the Woman where she makes her points in defense of Women in Horror Month. I certainly do not want to discourage anybody from celebrating if they believe in the cause, and BJ-C is a great writer, so do check it out!

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