The Rest Will Come Book Tour

November 23, 2017 - 6:42 pm No Comments

I am glad to be part of The Rest Will Come book tour.  A horror written by Christina Bergling. Today we are going hear from the author herself on what it is like being a women in horror.

Being a Woman in Horror
Christina Bergling

Ghostface: Do you like scary movies?
Sidney Prescott: What’s the point? They’re all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can’t act who is always running up the stairs when she should be running out the front door. It’s insulting. (Scream, 1996)

Scream was the first horror movie I ever saw, my real introduction to what would become a horror obsession. And this dumb death scene fodder model that Scream mocked was the first female horror archetype. I am just glad I entered the genre when that stereotype was beginning to be challenged.
Traditionally, in the slasher-driven heyday of horror, women served very few purposes. They were eye candy who later became part of the body count, or they were the final girl. Just like the character of color was almost guaranteed to not survive the storyline, if not even the opening kill.
Horror has undoubtedly evolved from these more restrictive roots; however, I would contest that horror is still seen as a bit of a boys’ club. I have known multiple female horror authors who have elected to write under a pseudonym or their initials because the unspoken understanding is that audience does not take female horror authors seriously and male horror authors sell better. I chose to take my chances as Christina.
When I tell people I am a horror author, the reaction is almost always interesting. A slight gasp, maybe a cringe or grimace. Most often, it is followed with the question, “Why?”
I can appreciate the mainstream confusion as to why one would want to mire oneself in a genre dedicated to the terrible and horrendous. Why would one choose to fill their mind with suffering? (I have written about this before.) Yet the question does seem to be at least partially motivated by my gender. Why would a woman want to fixate on such topics?
I think some people assume that women are more sensitive and the majority of the gender shy away from the upsetting and the grotesque. I can definitely affirm that I, personally and as an individual, am overly sensitive; however, I would argue that that heightened emotional state makes me better at crafting horror. Horror is about fear, and fear is an emotion. Who better to manufacture fear than someone fluent in emotional evocation and experience?
I have also encountered the expectation that I should be uncomfortable broaching certain topics or crossing unspoken social lines. I should shy away from the truly traumatizing. I should refrain and fluff, maybe even pretty up the topics. I have been critiqued for being able to write about rape, for going into extensive detail on torture (dubbed torture porn), for creating stories where bad things happen to children. As if the estrogen in my bloodstream should make me allergic to such extreme topics.
Again, I consider my relationship to these more taboo ideas (even in the horror genre) to be a strength. As a woman, rape scares me. The ideas of abduction and torture keep me locking my doors. As a mother, the idea of anything bad happening to a child utterly terrifies me. When I am trying to scare people, inevitably I must start with my own fears.
And let’s not get into the trolls. The avalanche of unsolicited penis pictures that grace my author Facebook inbox. The comments that I must like it rough since I’m into horror. The way anything I do professionally is somehow sexualized.
I think women in horror are expected to be gentler, tamer. I think the mainstream culture holds some of the unfortunate echoes of the “softer sex” idea. I do not think we should be soft or gentle or tame. Instead, I think we have a unique opportunity to bring something new to the genre. Something more than being stalked by a serial killer. Something more than running up the stairs when we should be running out the front door. Something more than bringing breasts and a body count.
Regardless of gender, everyone’s life experiences are unique. Everyone’s fears are individual amalgamations of physiological composition and life events. Obviously, people with similar gender identities will have more congruent life experiences. My fears are monsters that crawled up from my bones and fed and grew off the byproducts of everything that has happened to me. Many of those influences were framed and shaped by being a woman.
The best way to vary the horror genre, to truly expand the content, and to develop more diverse stories is to be comprised of a deeper pool of creators. More voices, more perspectives. New horrors we have never imagined.
Being a woman in horror is challenging when you are consistently underestimated or dismissed based on the stereotypes and expectations socially assigned to your gender. I am not arguing that this is the universal experience, but I am saying that it is something I have encountered more than once as I fumble my way through both this craft, and this genre.
We need to branch out from the tired narrative of a relentless killer who feeds his homicidal lust by executing teenage women classified as whores. We need more female voices in the conversation. We need more non-binary voices, more voices from people of color (put simply: more voices) in the conversation. Every additional perspective broadens and deepens the genre, unlocking an unfathomable amount of fear for sport.
Christina Bergling

http://christinabergling.com

http://facebook.com/chrstnabergling

https://twitter.com/ChrstnaBergling
http://chrstnaberglingfierypen.wordpress.com

http://goodreads.com/author/show/11032481.Christina_Bergling

http://pinterest.com/chrstnabergling

http://instagram.com/fierypen/

http://amazon.com/author/christinabergling

 

Join me tomorrow when I will be reviewing The Rest will Come.

 

 

 

 

Leave a Reply