WIHM: Sisters in Horror
Sisters in Horror
by Jessica McHugh’s Vagina
You’re used to doubting yourself as an artist. Hell, you’re used to doubting yourself as a human being. No matter how comfortable you are (or feel you should be) in any given situation, you question if what you’re doing matters, if you’re any good at it, and if you’ll ever feel like you belong.
And you never doubt yourself so much as when your vagina becomes a horror writer.
People have tried to steer you away from using your vagina in this way—most ways, actually—for your entire life. Sometimes it has to do with what’s “appropriate” or “sanitary,” but most of the time, they say vaginas just aren’t great for writing horror. Sure, if you work hard and exercise those kegel muscles you can eventually grip a pen and scribble out a few measly words about sad ghost children or dead lovers, but it’s tourist horror hitchhiking on the ballsacks of giants.
It’s discouraging, but you spirit through. You snatch up that pen, you squat and kiss the keys, you do whatever it takes to tell the stories in your gut. You go for the risk and the kill, you are honest and unmerciful, and you’re proud of what you create—and how strong you kegels are getting. Unfortunately, you now have to face the assertion that vaginas are obsessed with hiding personal agendas in horror fiction. Messages. Politics. Social Commentary. All code words for, “MEN RUIN EVERYTHING AND WE OWN SEX NOW LOLOLOL.”
Some people say vaginas write horror like the reader needs to know the story came from the clenched fist of a feminist cunt, and OMG, is there anything ruder than complicating a reader’s escapism with thoughts of your pussy? When these kind of dicks slap out horror, the reader is too mesmerized by the brilliant emotionless narrative and Lovecraftian tug-off to think about the author’s gender, but you better believe they can tell when a character’s got that twatish touch. When a multidimensional female character shows up in horror fiction, it’s such an obvious and desperate attempt to push the unbelievable agenda of the “empowered woman.” Add in talk of gender identity and pronoun preferences—god help you if you say a person can actually be a woman in horror without having a literal vagina—and it’s not even about telling a story anymore. And while we’re at it, do you really think a girl her size could swing that ax or outsmart that villain or resist a shoe sale in the zombie-swamped mall? What’s this really about, ladies?
Oh, you know. Writing horror is just the beginning.
Ever since your cunt realized it belonged to you and only you, it’s been throwing itself into all sorts of political arenas. Sometimes you wake up to find your vagina has written a story for a horror sci-fi anthology featuring female-identifying authors and it volunteered to host a Planned Parenthood meet-up, but before you can deal with that, you have to battle a rash of wilting cocks complaining that your vagina is making all straight cis white dudes fade away like Marty McFly—albeit whinier, more ignorant, too cowardly for Battle of the Bands auditions, would rather die than wear purple panties, wangshart versions of Marty.
It’s exhausting. And what have you gotten for all your snatch-scrawling and labia-flapping? If anything, you inky hags are dividing and alienating readers by shoving social commentary down their throats. Waving it in their faces. Massaging it into their prostates. And maybe they’re right. Maybe when it comes the blood and guts of the horror genre, the kind of terror that shreds up your insides until you’re quivering, crying, nearly shitting in your shoes, vaginas haven’t added much to the conversation.
Or maybe there were just a bunch of loud, broken dicks in their way. And maybe those dicks are about to get wrenched the fuck off.
Or not. Because that would be rather horrifying and not at all politically correct.
The thing is, my fellow women in horror, you will doubt yourself no matter what you write. Others will doubt you too, and you should let them. Let them motivate you to fight for what you love, for what’s innate in you, be it quiet and calculated or a bloody mess or goddamn both.
But please never doubt that you belong. We horrifying ladies are everywhere, of all varieties. You don’t need to be a bestseller, you don’t need to be an extrovert, you don’t need to have a vagina, you don’t need to be anything but your beautiful bloody self to be our sister in horror.
Jessica McHugh is a novelist and internationally produced playwright running amok in the fields of horror, sci-fi, young adult, and wherever else her peculiar mind leads. She’s had twenty-one books published in nine years, including her bizarro romp, “The Green Kangaroos,” her Post Mortem Press bestseller, “Rabbits in the Garden,” and her YA series, “The Darla Decker Diaries.” More information on her published and forthcoming fiction can be found at JessicaMcHughBooks.com.