Friday, May 11, 2012

YOU LIKE HORROR? BUT...YOU...YOU DON'T LOOK LIKE A HORROR FREAK.

During my Holliston fest last night (see previous post) the final episode definitely struck a hell of a heart string with me.  Over the past three years, I've been criticized for writing a horror blog as a woman, as someone under the age of twenty five, and most recently...for not "looking" the part.  Adam Green's character on Holliston is hopelessly in love with a very anti-typical horror gal complete with blonde hair, cutoff jean skirts, and perfectly manicured everything.  Adam and Joe pick on her for "not ever having bought anything from Hot Topic" and she makes a comment on "missing the memo on wearing black" before completely transforming her appearance to fit in with the rest of the convention.  As funny as it was, it would be far funnier if this wasn't the constant annoyance "girls like me" deal with every fucking day.  While Adam Green and plenty other celebs featured on the show pick on the things they deal with as celebrities (having iMDB pull things offline, being harassed by uberfans, etc) with a sense of a light hearted nature, they're also celebrities with the ability to fulfill their dreams and not struggling twenty one year olds fighting hordes of twi-hards and sexist horror trolls. They've got people to do that for them.  Not only that, but I'm pretty sure having a fan pester them about their new movie isn't as insulting as "until you have tattoos, you're worthless to your genre". I'm not dismissing their trials of the shit they put up with as "lesser", it's just...I can't exactly explain it. The image above is an actual screen cap from an anonymous comment I received on one of my Cabin In The Woods articles.  I hate to admit it, but this comment is one of the more tame that I've received over the years. I gotta admit, it's easier to take an insult than graphic sexual fantasy requests for video blogs from strangers.

No tattoos or colored hair? Who do you think you are?!
Anyway, I posted the comment to the Day of the Woman facebook page to get some feedback from all of you on whether or not a horror "look" is required to take someone seriously and I was pleasantly confirmed that you all aren't judgmental and ignorant (not that I ever thought you were). However, while YOU may be smart enough to understand that your exterior doesn't define your interior, there is an overwhelming amount of people that haven't been able to break that barrier. When I first started writing Day of the Woman, I'll be completely honest when I admit I garnered a good amount of my "following" because the idea of a beauty queen writing about horror movies was interesting or different or something.  I only know this because the comments I've received in comparison from 2009 to 2012 have changed drastically.  I sometimes pull the "I'm not a stereotype" card every once in a while, but when I first started...it was almost a shtick people used to talk about me with.  As much as I enjoyed making friends with other horror bloggers and readers, I was always wondering if they read me because of my content or because I was some novelty item.  Even deeper than that...why was I being marketed this way? I've discussed previously on the topic of having tattoos, but it seems that this judgement stems further than the tattoo parlor.  (PS; I am wearing a strapless top and if any of you say I get harassing comments " because I post pictures like that" you're a slut shaming son of a bitch and you can leave my blog right now because again, it's my blog and I can do whatever I want and a human is entitled to dress however they want without it constituting"asking for it") I just want to know, why did everyone make it such a big deal that I didn't fit in the horror "mold" if it "doesn't matter" what a horror fan looks like? Why is everyone commenting "it's your brain that counts" when people are saying "read this girl she's beautiful AND smart"? Why should it matter if I'm a baton twirling beauty queen? It shouldn't, and it doesn't. It doesn't fucking matter because you are who you are and that's all who you are. 

That being said, I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I've felt an awful lot of pressure to change my appearance to appeal to the horror crew.  The way it was presented to me was honestly exactly what I've been trying to fight against.  I was always wanting to put a hoop in my nose instead of a stud and do you know who pushed me to the hoop side? You all did. When I wasn't sure whether or not I could take the plunge for a darker shade of lipstick, it was my horror comrades that really told me to go for it while my pageant friends told me I'd look "goth".  As a woman, I constantly have to fight twice as hard to be taken seriously when writing about a genre that is arguably (stereotypically) male dominated. To top that, I'm also twenty one years old and thanks to my generation's obsession with Twilight, I also now have to fight harder to earn my street cred and prove my chops.  EVEN FURTHER, I don't have Elvira tattoos or an edgy haircut or a wardrobe consisting of corsets and striped tights. I just don't.  That isn't to say that I don't adore that "look" it's just not my personal style.  It does appear that whenever I do a video blog where I appear "darker" or "spookier" it garners far more attention and hits than my typical pajama clad rants.  Some may argue it's the subject matter...but I gotta tell you, hits don't lie. 

Friend and fellow female in horror Krystal Fancey Beck easily gave the most provocative of opinions on the topic, and she's so right it's scary.  "Here's the thing: you're kind of fucked either way. I HAVE the look- y'know, the one that supposedly earns you Horror Points or whatever- and  it's already been suggested that us SpookyOnTheOutside folks are "trying too hard", wearing a uniform, or maybe even overcompensating for not possessing the right amount of horror knowledge. You know what? I wear/decorate myself with the things that make me happy and make me feel good about myself. Yes, it gets me some attention. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. And while way too many people assume at least part of the reason I prefer to adorn myself in such a manner is because my poor, fragile self esteem craves the attention... dude, I have a good case of social anxiety. Attention's one of the last things I want! But I've weighed both options and feeling content and, ultimately, true to myself trumps anything else. I'm sick to death of people trying to feel better about themselves by making other people feel shitty. I'm sick of standards. I actually saw someone make a list of criteria that you have to have in order to call yourself a horror fan by their vastly superior standards. You know what *I* think makes you a 'true' horror fan? Liking horror movies. I don't care what you look like, if you've never seen ____, or if you don't like ____. I don't care who or even really *what* you know. If you've this, this, and this in the horror community or if you just simply... watch horror movies. I DON'T CARE. If you like horror and are nice to me, we're cool- let's talk. Ultimately, stay to to yourself, and do what genuinely makes you happy, without concern that you're living up to anyone else's ridiculous standards." Yep. That about covers it. She's absolutely on par. We as female horror fans are damned if you do, damned if you don't, and that's the god's honest truth.  Hell, even when a "SpookyOnTheOutside" type of girl was confronted at the convention on Holliston...she was called a poser at the end because her day job was working at Express.  The sad fact of it all, is that this is something far deeper than just convention etiquette. To be honest, women in general are judged based upon their appearances, and there's this obscene concept that women are somehow new to the idea of being fans of genre entertainment. I don't know why people think this is a new thing, but it's a weird epidemic I've experienced first hand far too often.  It's like we cause annoyance just by being in the room because we're assumed to either be posers tagging along and trying to impress someone or we're some social inept mouth breathers jonesing for an autograph.

It's as if women are constantly torn between choosing a side in the debate of "pretty vs. intelligent" and it's total bullshit. I would like to bat my eyelashes and poke my dimple to say "oh, we're all a giant happy horror family who accepts all forms" but that's a bold faced lie.  Do I surround myself with non-judgemental people who are the cat's meow? Obviously, I choose not to surround myself with douchebags...but it seems that every article I write is under microscopic scrutiny and even a misplaced comma makes me a "stupid girl who knows nothing about horror".
Kristy Jett and Zach Shildwachter: Two of the biggest horror nerds I know at the Amityville house looking very "non-horror"

This isn't only a feminine issue either.  I think women are more specific in that we have to fit into either the "overly geeky super-fan" or the "gothic sex kitten" roles to find acceptance in convention land...but men experience this just as much. I'll be the first to admit that I could count on one hand the amount of men that go to a convention in something other than a black t-shirt (not including celebs or cosplayers).  As a woman, I don't think I'm really qualified to speak much more on the topic, but maybe someone with a penis will tackle this issue one of these days.  Honestly though, this nonsense is absurd. We should be supporting each other and taking care of one another. We're already the weird kids in class for worshipping murderers, torturers, and monsters...the last thing we want to do is generate animosity towards each other.  So I have a preposition for you all.  BE WHO YOU ARE. If that means wearing black all the time, rock it out. If that means wearing frilly white lace and rainbow socks, work that shit, but for the love of Cthulhu...don't change who you are because you have to "fit in".  We love you for who you are, as you are. 

19 comment(s):

Kweeny Todd said...

*claps* We really are caught between a rock and a hard place. I have hung out with my fellow horror writer ladies, and they complain about this as well. They can write books just as well as any man, but even the book industry treats them poorly just for being a woman. And this is why we need things like Women In Horror Month. Because we work our damn asses off!

I wear what I want, I do what I love, and I wont let anyone tell me how to live and dream! It's why I read your blog. You are a REAL person. You do what you want, how you want it. I respect that. (Also, your Twit-light posts make me laugh my ass off!)

Stay strong Beauty Queen!

~Kweeny

Dr Blood said...

There's a lot to comment on here so I'll just pick on one point and let everyone else do the rest. The tattoos thing.

I don't have any tattoos and I've been a horror fan twice as long as you've been alive. That whole tattoo "scene" is fairly recent and just another way for stupid people to get ripped off by others who have nothing better to offer the world than trace a picture onto somebody else, disfigure them, infect them and take their money for the privilege.

When I see a so-called "horror fan" covered from head to toe in tats, all I think is "fucking idiot". It's so peer, un-individual, and kind of pathetic really. I also think they are full of disease (which they are, both physically and mentally) and steer well clear of them.

The truth is you don't have to dress a certain way or have a certain look to be a horror fan but there are some people which make me ashamed to like the genre. They are the unemployable, tatted-up, bone-through-nosed, earlobes-round-their-knees mental cases who for some inexplicable reason want to look like Pinhead from "Hellraiser".

I don't get it and I never will. Most sane people try to make the best of themselves no matter how hard or in vain it may be and don't want to look as if they belong in a freakshow.

As for the horror knowledge, that's all about time spend reading books and watching films. You won't get it from having some dirty biker/ex-jailbird trace a picture of Robert Englund on your tits for $60, by wearing a "Motel Hell" or hipstery "Manos Hands of Fate" t-shirt, or by hanging out at those rip-off horror fleamarkets called conventions.

Just my two cents.

EerieErik (Drunketh) said...

Fuck anyone who tells you how to dress and look (not Literally, mind you)... be yourself and do what you want to do. I'm a grown man with a scraggly long beard and a shaved head and if I wanna watch Twilight in a sparkling snuggie I'm gonna do it I don't care what anyone says.

titania86 said...

I am totally in the same boat. I'm a super cheerful girl who just wears jeans and a T pretty much all the time and people always assume that my boyfriend (who looks ominous in black) is the horror fan. He hates it with almost every fiber of his being, but he comes with me to horror events or movies to spend time with me. I get a lot of double takes when I'm the one getting excited or nerding out over horror stuff. Anyone can like horror, no matter what they look like on the outside.

@Dr. Blood: The judgmental point of view goes both ways. Just because someone has or likes tattoos doesn't mean they are diseased or idiots or losers or infected or unemployable. If you don't want to be judged for looking fairly normal and being a horror fan, you shouldn't turn around and do the same thing to people who look like they fit the horror fan mold. You seriously missed the point of the entire article if that's all you took away from it.

Dr Blood said...

@titania86

The fuck? I think it's you who missed the point there.

"If you don't want to be judged for looking fairly normal and being a horror fan, you shouldn't turn around and do the same thing to people who look like they fit the horror fan mold."

Wait!!!! People who look like they fit the horror fan "mold" are the normal looking people not the freaks. You don't have to look like Sideshow Bob to be a horror fan.

The buggers who do are poseurs as mentioned in the article which you obviously got nothing out of yourself.

Oh, but you're probably one of "those" who thinks everybody is equal, everybody is the same on the inside, everybody has rights, vegetable rights and peace. Fucking tree-hugging hippy bullshit. You just have to defend them and have a pop because you're hiding behind your computer and think you're safe from anyone who doesn't think the same way you do.

If you look like a freak, don't expect a job, don't expect a relationship except with another freak, don't expect anything. You've put yourself outside of decent society because of your own stupidity and nothing you ever do short of surgery is going to change that.

It's not just me, it's human nature. No guy wants a Freddy Krueger staring at them when they are on the job and no woman wants some gangster looking motherfucker with neck tattoos of Elvira and a cat's asshole on his belly button when they are thinking of bumping uglies either.

We all look for the best that's around. We watch horror for fantasy and escapism. It's sad that some of us may also have to watch horror now for clean skinned, fantasy women rather than the over made-up, pock-marked, tattooed high-street skanks who come twenty to the dozen everywhere else.

BJ-C said...

There will be no fighting, no slut shaming, and no discrimination on my comment section. Either make nice or the comments will be deleted. This is a safe zone for horror fans and I will not tolerate insulting banter.

Dr Blood said...

@BJ-C Delete them then if you don't want my support of your post.

I've now written my own post on this very subject anyway which is the honest male perspective which you asked for.

http://www.drbloodsvideovault.com/2012/05/tattoos-have-nothing-to-do-with-horror.html

Anybody who wants to argue about anything in it is welcome to join the comments section there. It won't change anything though.

Fefe said...

Well said!!! I too don't really fit into the "look" of what a "horror fan" is thought to look like. I adore the looks with tattoos and piercings and one of these days when I don't chicken out, I will have many tattoos and a nose piercing. Until then, I will still be the same horror loving, geeky girl that spends too much time watching horror movies. It's doesn't change my love for horror b/c of the way I look. By the way, girl...You look awesome! Just sayin'... ;)

Brad said...

Maybe if you invested in a penis this wouldn't be an issue.

BJ-C said...

@Dr. Blood-I will not delete your comments because they are your opinion and you are entitled to them. I was just leaving a gentle reminder for everyone to try an avoid name calling, unnecessary insults, and slut shaming. I will be glad to read the article you posted.

This article was written based solely on my own experiences and I would also like ALL of you to respect that within each other. Thank you :)

EerieErik (Drunketh) said...

I'd just like to jump in here real quick and say that my sexual fantasies of you have not ever been in request form, nor have they been too graphic in nature... not that I've described them. But I assure you, that in my dreams, we had a candle-light dinner, put our baby Dr. Blood to sleep, and then had naughty time like a married couple in some kind of Satanic conspiracy film. Either way, things didn't end well for you.

LJRich said...

I from this same thing on two fronts.

First of all, I'm 40. Most horror bloggers aren't as old as I am. Secondly, I look like a soccer Mom from the burbs who would watch horrible chick flicks and eat Hagen Daas on the couch.

I blog not only about horror, but about paganism. And, I look like the furthest thing from either a horror fanatic, or a pagan. I've never posted a photo on the new blog for exactly this reason.

Stay true, stay strong.

titania86 said...

@ Dr. Blood: You make a lot of assumptions about me because of my post just as you make a LOT of assumptions about the mentality, well being, and worth of people who choose to get tattoos or other body modifications. If you don't want to be judged by your appearance, then don't judge others by theirs. The point of the article is in huge letters: BE WHO YOU ARE, whether it's tattooed and pierced or not.

Michael Kamp said...

Really? People are that way in the US?

I mean, dont sweat it on the internet - playground for assholes and trolls since Al Gore invented it - but people are like that in real life?

I don’t think I have ever met a horror-fan that acted that way, so maybe I have been fortunate.

This is a picture of some of the finest horror-authors in Denmark. None look the part. :)

http://www.michaelkamp.dk/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DHS_Hald.jpg

Michael

Real Queen of Horror said...

Be who you are, I think is the most important thing you said & I totally agree! :)

LJRich said...

@ Michael Kamp:
Yup. They are like that in the states. Sad, but terrifyingly true. Everything is about appearances and stereotypes in the states. I've actually been stared at and glared at when I arrived at horror movies in the theaters before. Because I don't look like any horror fan "should" look by the stereotyping we do, here. I've also been called a poser by several people in offline circumstances when they find out I collect and review horror.

Someday, I hope we can break out of the maze of stereotyping.

francisco said...

glubss it looks like the real horror is being a horror fan in the USA... in Spain we don't have this kind of controversies

dr blood I think like you about piercings or tattoos but the way you response to titania86 clearly demonstrates you're a kind of intolerant

by the way bj-c you're a really pretty and funny girl, you've got a message from me on facebook

Melissa said...

Let's all be realistic. They want us horror female fans to have that look but they want us to be thin as well. No, not all duded are that way but it is the majority. As a bigger lady, who also happen to be foxy I haven't really had a lot of fat comments in real life but sure, I have been insulted more times than I can count online. You don't have to dress like a punk to be a punk or a metalhead, goth, jock, etc.

People who can't handle it, fuck em! Just keep doing what makes YOU and your friends happy. I really don't like to use the word fans because it seems tacky. We are all human, we all bleed red. The end!

Lindsey McNeill said...

Love this post! I get the exact same reaction and it's completely absurd. Just the peanut gallery trying to shove you into a box, good on ya for being bigger and better!

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