Today I am going to talk about a very sensitive topic, but I felt the need to discuss it with you, my dear bookworms. Everyone has had their fare share of complaining about how women are not seen as good as men in horror writing. I do not want to complain, because I know that complaining will not resolve anything, in the contrary I want to explain to people, and convince them.
First of all, I have to mention that women in society are seen as less strong, less powerful, and more sensitive than men. Doesn’t the society say that a man shouldn’t cry? We may not like this stereotyping, but deep down we let ourselves fall into these categories, because it is much easier and less painful. Horror is a genre, which is always associated with gore, violence, pain, torture, and according to the society men can “handle” these things. The society looks at men as if they were very strong human beings. A woman is often seen as a fragile being. This is completely wrong! I am a girl, and I am not a fragile being! I can endure physical pain, I have had three surgeries done, and each of them have taken at least one week in bed to recover myself. I have endured terrible physical pain. I have done 25 cycles of chemotherapy, and I am used to study with nausea, headache, and low blood pressure. This is my example, a simple one, and I have endured everything, like everyone else. Therefore the claim that men are stronger than women mentally and physically is irrelevant. Of course, for example, I have never trained in my whole life, and I will be weaker than someone (woman or man), who goes to the gym every day.
Let me tell you something! There are physically strong men, and physically strong women, mentally strong men, and mentally strong women. There are men, who can “handle” horror, and gore, and there are men who don’t. There are women who can handle it, and there are women who don’t. And there are people, who do not feel neither a man nor woman, or who feel both. They might “handle” horror or not.
Secondly, horror doesn’t need any “handling”. Just because you are not scared, it doesn’t make you good at it. Just because you can sit through a whole horror movie, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a horror master. It doesn’t make sense. For example, I love horror movies, I get scared of them, and I spend many nights awake, but ask my friends if there is any other person who can scare them like I do. Horror is genre, which is meant to make you feel scared, just like comedy makes you laugh. How could you like a movie or a book, if it didn’t accomplish its’ mission, in this case to scare you? Think about that!
Thirdly, being a horror writer doesn’t mean that you have read all the horror books ever made, and you have seen all the horror movies. You may watch all the movies of this world, but if you cannot scare me, then you aren’t a good horror writer. Being a horror writer means that you have to work, you have to upgrade yourself. You have to write, to find out what ticks a human brain, you have to find a way to make me feel uncomfortable, and you have to dig deep into my heart, find out my fears and secrets, and expose them. You have to know how to play with my mind, not just give me some gore scenes. Being a horror reader and a horror writer is not the same thing.
Women are often said that they are too sensitive to be writing horror. First of all, a lot of people are sensitive, and there is nothing wrong with that. I have a lot of female friends, who are not sensitive at all, but they can’t write horror. I am extremely sensitive for example, but that has nothing to do with my writing. Horror is tragedy, in its’ finest form. It is supposed to make you feel scared, petrified, sad, hopeless, and to accomplish this we, as writers, have to feel too.
Next time you think men are better than women in horror, think again. Women aren’t better than men either. Horror does not have a gender!
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Anika was not born an artist, neither a writer, but she was born a dreamer. She spent most of the days daydreaming, reading, writing, and painting. She loves my life and she’s grateful for every single day. She is completely in love with horror literature, folklore, mythology and cappuccino.