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Miss Misanthropist

Writing With Myself

Women Can't Write Horror, There, I Said It

Anti-Feminism, WritingMonica EdwardsComment

I was thinking about women and their contributions to several different genres of writing. Then I was thinking that there aren't many women who are good at writing horror or science fiction. That's not to say no women are good at it or women cannot write in these two genres because I don't believe that's true either. However, really think about it. Think about horror authors, famous ones that are practically household names. You would most likely always get Stephen King first (if not within the first few). Even if you don't like King (and many people don't) you'd still hear his name as synonymous with horror. I mean, I personally can't stand the later work of Eli Roth but he's a big enough horror name that I accept that like it or not he's definitely got enough of a following for I guess some people to think he's amazing. 

Now try to think of a female author. You will be excluding vampire fiction in this too because vampire fiction and women have pretty much become an excuse to write erotica and pretend it's horror. Before you shit all over me, I actually like some of Anne Rice's stuff but I recognize it for what it is. When it comes to recent vampire fiction hers is the most tolerable in way of darkness and whatever else but it's still basically erotica described as horror. Mary Shelly might come to mind for some people but, I'm not sure if that's a big enough name. Off of the top of my head and looking at my bookshelf right now, I do not have one horror novel that was written by a woman. 

Overwhelmingly in the horror genre with writers, you will find that it's men writing it and men who are the best at it. This isn't even a complaint, by the way, it's an observation. If a woman wrote on par with King or Barker it wouldn't matter to me, but are there women writing to that level? 

I've noticed, for instance, the lack of quality horror when women do write it. For example, there was a show called Fear Itself....

Note: I may also be thinking about the show Night Visions and I'm too lazy to look it up but ultimately it won't matter for me to make my point.

In any case, one of these series definitely has episodes written by women. The show is episodic so it's a new story every time. One of the plots of one of the episodes in one of these series I remember being very awful. Mostly because it had a lot of potential but the outcome had to pretty much be a happy ending for everyone and it was more of a moralistic and family story that had a good resolution which ultimately made it cheesy instead of scary. This is what female authors in horror tend to do for some reason. This also tends to happen in science fiction. Focusing more on relationships and emotions than the science fiction part, which is what I want to read. 

I can't even think of a woman who wrote any sci-fi on par with someone like Asimov. The one woman I can think of who wrote something wrote Star Trek books and I certainly wouldn't call her a household name (even though I really like the Star Trek books she wrote). I wouldn't call Star Trek that hardcore of science fiction though, especially not Star Trek Voyager. Don't get pissed off at me either I really like Star Trek Voyager but it's not the equivalent of something like I, Robot. There are vast differences. 

Now, I read way less Sci-Fi than I do horror so for all I know there is totally a famous female sci-fi author that I just am unaware of. Maybe it's recent maybe it's just someone I never heard of but I can't think of names like I can for horror (regardless if I like the author or not). This isn't to say that men can't write bad horror as well (Take Bryan Fuller for example and whatever the fuck happened to M. Night Shyamalan after his first few hits). This also doesn't mean men can't write awful science fiction not claiming that. Can't think of any examples but I'm sure they are out there. 

The thing is that these two areas seemed dominated by men (and trust me I'm fine with that) because women seem to not know horror to the level of men when it comes to writing. I know that I, personally, can write some pretty damn gruesome and horrifying stuff. Whether it'll ever see mass publication or get me a following is another thing entirely. I also have female friends who can write dark and fucked up things, things which even guys read and go "what the fuck". I've had plenty of people read my horror and think it was disturbing. It's not unfathomable that a woman can do it but can women ever be known for it? 

Even the screenplay I'm finalizing, though it would be classified in the horror genre it's also classified in the dark humor genre. There are gory and horrific scenes and concepts (such as having sex with Lucifer and not knowing it until it happens) but there are also off color jokes and parody elements that are in bad taste and aimed to get a laugh out of people. Could I do it completely seriously? Yeah, but for this particular story, I wouldn't choose that (as it wouldn't make sense and taking myself too seriously with this particular plot also runs the risk of making it look like a parody even if I don't want it to). 

Here's the thing, and why I'm bringing it up anyway. Over the past few months, I keep seeing things like, "WOMEN ONLY HORROR FILM FESTIVAL". Not meaning that only women can attend but they are movies made completely by females in some way. Like usually directors or writers or both. Something big and also female. Whenever I see this I think, "Man that's gotta be bad if your biggest selling point is someone with a vagina made this". Same with sci-fi anthologies. I saw one recently on Kickstarter and it literally said: "SOME OF THE MOST BELOVED FEMALE AUTHORS WORLDWIDE!". I looked at the Kickstarter and who was listed as being in the anthology. Literally never heard of 99% of them and the one author I did recognize is absolute SHIT and I don't even know how the fuck she's called an author or for what reason. Obviously, one could say that I'm assuming they are bad because I've never heard of them or because they are women or both. I agree, but hasn't history set up enough of a precedent that women suck at these genres for me to know that if something is being promoted as "ALL FEMALE" Whatever before the genre name, it's probably going to suck? 

Also, these days, if you promote a festival as "ALL WOMEN'S" then that immediately cuts out anyone's ability to criticize anything. If you gave me two horror movies, let's say, didn't tell me who wrote or directed it, and I watched them, and then I judged them based only on that....what then? What if the worse one happened to be written by a woman? Would that make me sexist even though I had no way of knowing that? No. But, yelling at the top of your lungs that "OMG THESE ARE THE WOMEN OF HORROR" pretty much also denotes (to me) that you want to make sure no one can criticize anything they've done and you are informing the world of that before they watch or read the product. 

I admit there are probably thousands of women who are good or even great at writing in these genres who just aren't getting exposure (or don't want to, some just write as a hobby) but I also think (sorry) that women mostly suck at these genres, to begin with. I don't share my horror writing with most people, I don't know how good it is, I certainly wouldn't start saying I'm the best ever at it (because I know I'm not) but in the world of horror and sci-fi, men dominate and I'm happy for that. If all I had left to read was Twilight or some shitty romance story that took place during a zombie apocalypse I'd go insane. 

The same holds true with the comedy genre for whatever reason. There are plenty of funny women but men dominate. The problem we face now is that you cannot criticize a woman no matter how shitty she is at anything or else you are a bigot/sexist/whatever. The problem is that we can't filter through all the shit female authors (like Stephanie Meyer or Cassandra Clare) because to criticize them is to be sexist or it's hate speech and this isn't allowed anymore. Even if you are criticizing just based on content if the author happens to be a vagina you are a misogynist dudebro who hates women and lives in his mom's basement.

Maybe it's time to accept the fact that in some areas men are better and some areas women are better. This doesn't mean women can't be good at the same things it just means they are less likely to. Has anyone else noticed anything like this or is it just me? I'm fine with it because to me a good story is a good story no matter what gender wrote it but I think we have come to a problem with all of this since certain genders aren't allowed to be criticized anymore and this opens up to a world of shitty horror and science fiction that we also can't easily get rid of.