February is home to Women In Horror Recognition Month, but what exactly does that mean? Before we move further into this question, let's take a moment to look at who we're sharing February with. February is also home to these other great causes--
Black History Month (in Canada and the US)
Heart Month (in Canada)
Raynaud's and Scleroderma Awareness Month (in the UK)
American Heart Month (in the US)
AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month (in the US)
National Children's Dental Health Month (in the US)
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, 3rd Feb - 9th Feb (in Canada)
Tinnitus Awareness Week, 4th Feb - 10th Feb (in the United Kingdom)
Contraceptive Awareness Week, 11th Feb - 17th Feb (in the United Kingdom)
Australian Organ Donor Awareness Week, 21st Feb - 28th Feb (in Australia)
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, 6th Feb - 12th Feb (in Canada)
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, 24th Feb - 1st Mar (in the United States)
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, 25th Feb - 2nd Mar (in the United Kingdom)
Give Kids A Smile Day, 1st Feb (in the United States)
National Wear Red Day, 6th Feb (in the United States)
Sexual Health Awareness Week, 14th Feb - 21st Feb (in Australia)
National Condom Day, 10th Feb (in the United States)
Sexual and Reproductive Health Day, 12th Feb (in Canada)
National Donor Day, 14th Feb (in the United States)
Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day, 14th Feb (Worldwide)
National Impotence Day, 14th Feb (in the United Kingdom)
There is a huge focus on human rights to liberty, life, and health here and I think that is amazing. Please take this time to make yourself aware of these causes - especially the ones you may have never heard of before. In example, scleroderma -- which is a horrible sickness not enough of us are aware of the fight against. It's an awful one and it needs to be put away for good. Here is a great foundation that great research for the cause, the Scleroderma Research Foundation.
With the Women In Horror recognition and celebration, we thought of (well, Jen thought of...) a cool concept that not only embraces a very special element of horror (blood) but also raises awareness to something that people find scary (donation) that is actually a bloody good cause... a Massive Worldwide Blood Drive. Here, our good friend and fellow PSA participant, Jennifer Cooper speaks Women in Horror --
A new PSA, but more of a healthy tune to inspire those scaredy cats amongst us to have some bravery, some humor, and get yours (and as many butts as you can take with you) down to your local blood bank is on its way. It will feature some ladies from the horror scene from around the world that have the balls to bleed for a cause and they are huge inspirations.
So, back to the original question. What is Women In Horror Month actually about? Power, unity, respect, acknowledgment, feminism, horror - where we started, how far we've come, and the bodies (I use the term 'bodies' figuratively as in the issues we have fought against - our right to vote, sexism, and the constant battle of medieval notions of what women are 'supposed to be', etc.) left in our wake. This is a month to recognize women like Mary Harron, Mary Lambert, Kathryn Bigelow - who are behind the camera, directing incredible work. Outdated are the days were women are a tit-flash here and an ass cheek there, then off to the male characters to save the day. I think there is a gross misconception that horror degrades women rather than empowering them and that is a great deal in direct result to some of the films out there. The genre is filled with lots of films - some remarkable and meaningful, some an utter waste of time where you feel bad for all involved.
So many people have fought, are fighting, and will fight for feminism. For the concept that men and women are created equal and should be respected equally. There is a change coming and each and everyone of us have to be responsible for that change. You don't have to take a shitty part that you hate or work on a film that is fluff, if you don't want to. The industry not giving you something challenging with substance? Create your own films with your won characters and be a part of what you want to see changed. As the brilliant Hannah Neurotica (of Ax Wound Zine who this event is the brainchild of) so perfectly said:
"If I have ever been sure of anything in this life it is that the last thing women need recognition for is their breasts, just as we do not need a month to raise awareness about porno films ending in women getting a hot load of cum shot all over their face lifts."
Read the whole article where Hannah alongside Heidi Marinuzzi speak feminism and the real message of Women In Horror here on the incredible (and shame on you if you don't creep this site daily) Fangirltastic.
Let's raise awareness of what women have contributed and continue to contribute to the genre. Let's recognize the women standing on the front lines, saying the things that some of us haven't found our voice to say yet.
Let's celebrate the strong female characters - Ripley, Regan, Laurie Strode - that make us feel strong who we grow up wanting to kick ass like. The month is almost upon us. Stay tuned.