Thursday, June 20, 2013

THE INTERACTIONS OF WOMEN IN HORROR: HOW A TROLL OPENED MY EYES TO THE FEMALE FANDOM

Yes, this is me at 13 working in a haunted house.

This is going to be a long one, so please, bear with me.

Being a horror fan has never been easy, regardless of gender.  We're often confused as Satanists, or assumed to have demented fantasies about killing other people.  When a kid shoots up a school, they don't blame their mental health stability, they blame the influence of violent forms of media.  Horror is used as a scapegoat to explain away the problems in society, when in retrospect, the horror community is filled with some of the most generous and giving individuals known to man.  Often viewed as a "guys' genre," the all-boys club of horror has put up these strange barriers in regards to the way it treats women.  Many horror films are inherently misogynist (V/H/S/ anyone?) and the most classic of horror movie formulas are centered around the fact women are the "weaker" of the sexes.  In the last few years, women have been bonding together with things like Women In Horror Recognition month in an attempt to give light to the overshadowed women working in the industry.  It's an amazing thing to see female horror fans working together, because there are many more of us than people seem to understand.  However, the fight against female horror fans isn't completely in the hands of men.  No. We women are just as guilty of spreading hatred towards women, and it's time we change that.

For those that follow me on twitter, you may have seen random tweets geared towards some disgusting comments that have been left on my blog.  For a long time, I was forced to put comment moderation (and even get rid of the option to post anonymously) because the things said to me and about me were downright disturbing.  I was sexually harassed, slut-shamed, body-shamed, told I was deserving of rape, and called every derogatory term for "woman" that one could imagine.  I honestly think urbandictionary could have an entire sub-page dedicated for the terminology used against me.  I had someone "catfish" on okcupid using my name, website, and photos.  I received threatening and derogatory emails daily that resembled the prank phone calls of Serial Mom.  For the past two years, I've been weary to write anything because the harassment was getting so severe I wasn't sure I could handle it.  All I kept asking was "why?"  Why don't my male counterparts get this sort of harassment? Why is everyone telling me to "buck up" when I'm getting constant harassment by the hour, even when I hadn't written in over two weeks?  Why were these people spending so much time trying to break me down?  Today, I got my answer.

Rebekah McKendry of FANGORIA
I received an email today from a throwaway account and signed by an anonymous sender.  I will spare the full details of e-mail because I don't believe it would be right to post it in its entirety.  The person in question has been seeking a great deal of therapy and it was at the request of her therapist that this person send me an apology and an explanation for their actions.  This person went in great detail describing how after losing their job, they wanted to start writing about horror online because "women don't write about horror, and I want to be the first."  She soon discovered people like Jovanka Vuckovic, Rebekah McKendry, Lianne Spiderbaby...and me.  In her words, "I was crushed to find out that I wasn't the only one, that what I thought made me special my entire life didn't make me special. There were lots of girls talking about horror, and they were talking about it better than I ever could."  It is because of this realization, that this woman began to fill with hatred.  "Those other girls were too big, too important for me to get under their skin, but you were just a blogger. I wanted you to hurt the way I hurt.  No one ever understood me. No one ever accepted my being a woman and loving horror. It wasn't fair. I knew you didn't have high-tech filters to weed out my comments, and I wanted you to know what it feels like to be hated just for being who you are."  I was shocked.  Absolutely shocked. This woman went on to explain that her hatred of me began to grow because so many people enjoyed what I wrote about, and as a woman in horror, I shouldn't get that.  She believed that because she had been treated poorly and bullied for liking horror movies and being a girl, that all of us should have to endure the same form of treatment.  After a lengthy confession of how many email accounts she made just to comment my blogs and that she would take vulgar youtube comments off of popular videos for inspiration, she began to discuss my appearance.

This woman in question is, in her words, "a fucking lady C.H.U.D. undeserving of any sort of compassion."  This right away shows me that this woman has serious self esteem issues that I cannot help with, but she used it against me.  "Why do you get to be beautiful?  The only thing I have in my back pocket to use to possibly allure men with is my horror knowledge, and now beautiful women like you are doing the same? It's just not fair. You can't be both."  At this point, my heart began to break. This sort of mindset is something that I knew men used against women (ie: beautiful cosplayers are 'fake geek girls') but I never really sat down to think about the way women interact with each other on a basis of appearance.  She even admitted to being the one who made the fake account on okCupid using my credentials.  She only deleted it once she saw on twitter that I had been informed of the fake account, but she had "cyber sex" with many men pretending to be me.  Sorry to those out there that were duped, but it wasn't me.  I've been grateful to have a core group of fellow women in horror that don't image-shame each other, but this woman opened my eyes to something today that doesn't get talked about nearly enough.

A still from the documentary FANTASM
Women are just as guilty as men for judging other women for being horror fans.  I've seen it first hand, but because our struggle against men is so deep, we pretend the struggle within our own gender doesn't exist.  Obviously the woman above is a very, very, VERY extreme example of hatred for fellow woman, but she really showed me the fall out of the slippery slope that is hating on women in horror.  Let me say this loud and clear, THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO BE A HORROR FAN.  I don't care if you know the amount of freckles on Stephen King's ass or if the only horror you've ever seen was in a Regal Theater and released by Anchor Bay.  I don't care if you have met every zombie of Night of the Living Dead and have them on speed dial or get George A. Romero confused with Stan Lee.  I don't care if you look like Miss America or the Brenda Monster in Slither. Everyone has to have a starting point, and horror fandom is not exclusive for a certain TYPE of person.  There is no measurement on passion.  If you like horror, even in the slightest bit, you're invited to the party.  If there is one thing the horror community has shown me over the years, it's that we are an equal opportunity fandom.  We as women are already the ones looked down upon, so why would we judge each other?  I hate to quote Mean Girls, but "we gotta stop calling each other 'sluts' and 'whores' it just makes it okay for guys to call us 'sluts' and 'whores.'"  How are we ever going to get out of the proverbial hole at the bottom of Buffalo Bill's basement if we're continuing to push and pull each other down?  It's a cycle that needs to end, now.

9 comment(s):

Rg Lovecraft said...

Hey there, I am new to Blogger, I was running a blog on Tumblr for a while before I decided to move over here, and your blog happened to be the first horror blog that I came across on here.

I just wanted to say, that while I'm a guy and my opinion may not be as warranted here, I think that what you're doing is awesome. I love women who love horror, because as you said, it does seem to be a male dominated world. I don't understand that hatred that women seem to imbibe either, women have made such amazing contributions to the world of horror. Angela Bettis and The Soska Sisters are the first two that pop into my head.

If it counts, or if it doesn't, I may be a new reader but I have your back. Keep it up! In a sense, us horror fans are like a family and we have to stay tight. As the Sawyers say, The Saw is Family. Let's keep it that way.

Can't wait to read more posts, cheers!

Bob Mallett said...

BRAVA! BRAVISSIMA!

Spike Ghost said...

Sharing that everywhere

Roger said...

Thanks for sharing this, even though it (we hope) is an extreme and uncommon example. But this is not the first time I've heard of a female horror fan finding hate in unexpected places, finding her own empowerment used against her by another woman.

Keep up the truth and the love and the good news is, the person who sent you the email is finding help and was able to empower herself (I hope) by understanding that what she was doing and feeling was completely not right.

Cheers, Roger

Maude Michaud said...

Thank you for posting this!
Sorry to hear you had to go through all that, but I think it's important that people be more vocal about stalkers as this is a sad reality of the online world, especially for women working within the genre.

All the women I met in the horror community have been wonderful and so supportive of each other and it saddens me to know there are still some that are so mean-spirited. Hopefully, your post will be an eye opener for a lot of people!

Keep up the awesome blog! I only recently 'discovered' your writing, but I'm definitely adding your blog to my reader!

Best,
Maude

DirtyGirlReview said...

Wow! I am speechless after reading about all the trouble you have been going through lately. I think you have a bonafide stalker on your hands. I also write Horror Reviews and keep a small blog so I have had my own fair share of Trolls and even a stalker. It seems to go with territory for us ladies that love this crazy genre. However, I have never heard a bad word from another female fan. I think that is what makes your struggle so sad. She should have been supportive instead psycho.

Growing up, I rarely met another woman that knew any Horror much less liked it. Ofcourse now that we have the Internet and Horror Conventions to reach out to other ladies that have the same interests its fantastic! Why would she feel angry about it? That is so bizarre!

I am glad she has come forward and admitted the terrible things that she did. Hopefully the abuse will stop now. I hope you know there are lots of us female Horror Geeks out here to help and support you. Keep up the writing and video blogs!

-DirtyGirl

Spectra Ghostseeker said...

In high school, I was a metalhead and a horror fan. I grew up in a small, very right wing town, and believe me, I was pegged as a Satanist. I threw 'em the devil horns and gave 'em an evil chuckle. I think I was the excitement in their boring little lives.
One thing I notice these days is that it's thought of in certain circles as "kind of cool" if women are into horror or sci fi, but only if said women can be judged as conventionally attractive/sexy (i.e. the "Booth Girl" type.) A woman like me (pushing fifty, heavyset, starting to look more and more like someone's grandmother every day) is certainly not welcome in these circles. Not that I would want to be, but it's frustrating that here it is, well into the 2000's, and women are still supposed to either be housewives or whores. We aren't people. Rape culture is alive and well, and if we say something against it, we're "Feminazis" who "can't take a joke."
Sorry you've had to deal with the assholes who don't have balls enough to treat women as equals. Kudos for not letting them take you out of the game.

DrunkethWizerd said...

Very kind and womanly of you to reach your heart-breasts out... but there's a time to cut loose ties, and when that loose tie is someone pretending to be you online before you've even spoken to said person, then the time is last fuckin' night lady. I understand the mentally disturbed, and therefore I know when to do what and when to do it. Trust me, this chick has a whole house full of Stephanie Meyer books and your face is pasted on all the covers with her spit and vaginal juices. Don't freak out by that last comment please, for I'm trying to help you.

You're being STALKED! I know the behavior. Trust me. I'm currently stalking three different chicks right now. You may or may not be one of them. How exciting!? Listen, sometimes it's not about men or women. Sometimes it's about crazy ass motherfuckers. Ok? You worry WAY too much about gender honey-bunz. When this weird shit starts to happen to you, either totally disregard it like a man or destroy it dead heart-first like a woman. Don't give in and post things like these, looking sympathetic.

Caring isn't sharing.

Sharing is provoking.

Athaena Albert said...

This made my day! Thank you for this genuinely awesome and sincere article!! :D

Related Posts with Thumbnails