Oh, hello. It’s February again. Time when thoughts turn to love, horror, a love of horror, true love, and blood. This month arrived and has so far done a good job of flaying my heart, soul and head open in many ways. Most of us know February by the Hallmark-oriented commercial fest, designed to grab your dollars a month after Christmas *just* when you might start to be making a dent on the debt incurred from December. It’s the month that every retail window is red, pink, and white, even car parts which just plain confuses me (Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a muffler!) but it is a little different for me.
A few things: just because I’m not taking any guff from the greeting card industry doesn’t mean that February isn’t full of love. In fact, as it’s Women In Horror Month, where women in the horror industry get recognition for their contributions in what is still a very much male-dominated industry. While it’s not love that comes in a heart-shaped box full of slightly chalky chocolates, it’s a deeper love that is born of passion and suffering, sweat, grit and blood. The women’s horror community fosters a lot of the same ethos I see in the burlesque community; support, solidarity, and celebration of one another in our chosen art forms… the difference is one has a lot feathers, sparkles and fluff while the other tends to involve more celluloid, blood and sticky bits. But the love of the art is meant to overcome any bitchiness or competitiveness among the ladies which is a good message regardless of artistic discipline. It’s a sad fact that with our pop culture we play on more baser instincts to cut each other down rather than build them up, and I’m bothered that we are teaching this as a normalcy to our daughters rather than educating them in the reverse.
Fact: remember the basics of preschool? Share? Be nice? Don’t hit? Basically don’t be a dick to people if you want them to play with you? It seems somewhere we not only forgot this but reimagined the whole damn playground as a competition, egged on by spectators who fuel the discord as loudly as rabid hockey moms and dads at a peewee game. It’s unsettling, and I’ve decided while I can’t change the world, I’ll at least hopefully infect people with good intentions and try to set an example. Going back to the topic of love, horror and supporting the sistahs…
A really good example of how easily I fell into the Bitch Trap was last Tuesday night. I was going to see Emilie Autumn at the Rio Theatre. While I’ve been online friends with one of her performers, Veronica Varlow for years without ever managing to meet her face-to-face, I was invited to watch the show. I lurked in the empty balcony of the Rio and watched the show from my perch. I won’t lie, my first impressions were that someone had seen Suckerpunch too many times. But as the show wore on, it grew on me and despite the trappings of the aesthetic (which in all fairness I DID really like, I just feel Zach Snyder fucked the dog on that look for the rest of us) the message of the show was clear: you don’t need to feel alone, we need to support one another, stay strong for your sisters. I saw a large demographic at the show, but seeing all the younger baby bats there made me realize that Emilie was the role model I’d have liked to have as an adolescent me. I found mine in other, strange places, but she is offering something for girls that age when the choices are Rihanna going back to her abusive boyfriend, and Britney Spears who’s best talent at times has felt like having a really good PR agency. Emilie not only promote support and awareness for mental health issues, but acceptance of self and on top of that is a virtuoso violinist to boot.
It’s a good caveat for all of us to heed. I try to explain it to others in these terms: If broad mythology has any basis, then all women are descendants of the Amazons. The warrior women who also trained in agricultural pursuits, hunting, and the art of war. If we behaved if we are part of the same supportive tribe, working for the same things, then we’d not be so quick to cut each other down. It most diseases are of a negative bend, I’d like the ideology of Women In Horror month to infect us all on a global scale. Cause ladies, this third-wave feminism thing isn’t going to pan out if we’re fighting each other instead of getting our shit together and getting everyone out there in the big, wide world on the same page and equal.
The other day in the changeroom at the gym, I overheard a group of 11 – 13 year old girls getting ready for a swim. One was telling the rest about Warm Bodies, the latest zom-com out there. One little lady goes, “Zombies? I LOVE zombies!” and the rest of her group agreed and started to list their favourite zombie movies, and were arranging a time to go see Warm Bodies together.
I feel there might be hope for the future yet.
Little Miss Risk