Being part of a mostly marginalized group has its moments of extreme suck. You can take pride in being part of that group and still speak out about the suck. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to be part of the group (I like my tits, thank you very much) but that you want people outside group to realize that being part of it does not in any way denote that you are lesser/inferior in some way.
Put more plainly, and in keeping with this being Women in Horror Month, my tits have nothing to do with my ability to tell if I think a horror story (or any genre, honestly) is good or bad. They don’t perk to attention whenever someone gets a good stomping. They don’t gasp in dismay whenever a character we like gets killed. (Note to self: Boobs with mouths for nipples. Some bizarro author somewhere has written about that, right?)
Now, get your mind off tits and consider this: It can be bad enough just being a female reading and reviewing horror, but writing it? The side-eye you get when you’re in the horror section, perusing the white sausage-fest as you look for your next great read transforms into the Eau de Poo of judgment about our mental status or the half-mast as particularly obnoxious hormone-riddled men consider that because we like that freaky stuff, maybe we like other freaky stuff. Or, sometimes it’s not even about the pair of tits attached to the body looking at horror. It’s just about the fact that we’re reading or writing horror, but that is a discussion for another time. Anyways, being a woman and writing horror? I’m going to channel my inner Tracy (a beloved member of the SF&S crew) and clutch my pearls. So shocking, y’all.
Well, once you realize the issues inherent with just having boobs (thought I was gonna say tits again, didn’t you?) and being involved in horror, it’s a short step to looking around at the horror community and realizing that, just like in life (imagine that!), if someone belongs to another marginalized community as well, they’ve officially entered the Venn Diagram overlap labeled “thoroughly fucked”. Just take a look at several best-of lists about horror that came out at the end of 2019 and count the amount of page space that women, let alone women who are POC or LGTBQ, get.
I’d like to claim that I’m aware enough that I realized this all on my own and took steps independently to help correct things, but that would be a damned lie. However, I helped create Ladies of Horror Fiction, a group specifically dedicated to lifting up the underrepresented voices of women in horror, and that was a good first step. The next step, though, was one that might have happened independently but who knows how far down the road that would have been? I’m talking, of course, about the team at Sci-Fi & Scary deciding that we were officially going to devote ourselves to primarily focusing on diverse voices in horror. Because until we reach some magical Equality Utopia, there are never going to be enough voices making people aware that Hey? Guess what! People other than straight, white, able-bodied men write horror (and sci-fi)! Our team taking this step is primarily due to two of our team members: Violet and Sammy. Especially Violet’s work with lifting up Latinx voices. Our respect for them, our recognition of their circles of marginalization, and our admiration for their dedication to lifting up not only their voices but other diverse voices as well was the impetus behind our decision.
In 2020 (and every year from here on out), Sci-Fi & Scary intends to make sure that a majority of the books that we review on the site are from diverse voices. Once you recognize the disadvantage that just being part of one or more marginalized groups puts those writers at, to sit back and do nothing is a privilege, not a right. Also, stepping outside the comfort zone of people who have lived experience that you can identify with leads you to discovering some amazing stories. The fact is that diverse voices add a richness and depth to storytelling.
Reading the same stuff from the same viewpoints over and over again gets boring. I, personally, say give me new lenses, voices, experiences, creatures, and worlds! Make my escape from this cesspool of reality hell one that’s drawn with more than just a hand attached to white sausage. I like sausage as much as the next girl, but it’s no longer going to be my main staple at every meal. You know?
To wrap things up, I’m going to end with the most important voice for this particular subject on our team. There is no greater sign that you are on the right track for being the best ally and supporter than you can be than when one of your team members specifically affected by the issues you’re throwing your weight behind says this:
“Writing can be lonely. Writing has so many ups and downs that only other writers and people in the writing community would understand. Being part of SF&S has given me a second family I trust with those experiences because I know they truly care. It has also been incredibly important to me to be part of a team that supports me as an author of color. This team is dedicated to diversity which is crucial right now. One look at their reviews and you know it’s more than lip service. They are an honest bunch of misfits I can’t imagine not knowing.”
Thank you, V. We’ll keep doing our best to do you proud.
Lilyn G is the owner of Sci-Fi & Scary, a science fiction and horror focused reviews site supported by a multinational team. Check it out at: http://www.scifiandscary.com.
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