Of White Knights, trolls and good conversation

The day after I killed a bit of time arguing the case for Women in Horror Month and a more inclusive view of horror over at Planet Etheria, something else happened.

First, I killed a bit more time on Twitter arguing with a horror blogger who, it emerged, is a pretty insightful film fan, aside from a strange prejudice against low budget films. But he masks this behind ridiculously misogynistic views.

(He likes the women in early silent horror films…. because they don’t speak…Boom-tish!).

I was supported in this fruitless endeavour by some kind Twitter pals. One was a Canadian screenwriter, who was immediately labelled both a white-knighting Aussie and a moronic fag (which insult is intended to be worse?).

One was a young feminist who was then called, you guessed it, a lesbian, but one whom nobody would want to sleep with. I suppose a celibate lesbian might be the most dangerous kind, because they have more time to read and practice their rhetorical skills…

But I digress.

The point is that this troll-ish fellow claims to care deeply about film, and yet drives away intelligent discussion by adopting a bigoted online persona. I would hope that it is only a persona, but, even so, it brings up an interesting point. Why?

There are evidently individuals in this scene – as in video game circles, as in numerous other scenes – who value anti-female rhetoric and are protective of the ‘male space’ they believe their area of fandom is and should remain.

Frankly, let them have their nutty ol’ treehouses if they want them. Let them tweet about them, and post pointlessly aggressive comments on blog posts, if they must.

But the horror genre is changing, whether they like it or not…While horror has always included talented female artists, more and more women are crossing the line from fan to creator, and they’re less likely than in any other time in history to be put off…

Sneers, put-downs and childish jibes from the (tiny minority of) male fans who are threatened by women’s presence in leadership roles… will only make these women more determined to succeed.

The truth is most horror aficionados welcome diversity, welcome new voices, and welcome enthusiasm for the genre, from wherever it springs.

After my short-lived argument with Dr Grumpy Troll concluded (he blocked me), something great happened. A friend brought to my attention a brand new article over at Complex.com.

This article, The Unfair Business of Being a Woman Director in the Boys Club of Horror Filmmaking by Matt Barone, is a series of in-depth interviews with some key players.

Make sure to click through the different pictures at the top of the page to read all the interviews. The interviewees are:

  • Jen and Sylvia Soska
  • Danielle Harris
  • Jennifer Lynch
  • Jennifer Blanc-Biehn
  • Fangoria editor Chris Alexander
  • Shannon Lark and Heidi Honeycutt representing the Viscera Film Festival
  • Hannah Neurotica of Women In Horror Recognition Month.

They don’t all have the same views, they don’t share the same taste… They don’t carry around some homogeneous idea of what ‘horror’ means… which is as it should be.

This comes as a timely reminder that the vast majority of people who love film also love talking about it, and don’t see any reason not to do so in a respectful and open-minded way.

(It’s also cool that Stranger With My Face gets a mention!)

Thanks Matt and those interviewed.

And thanks Dr Grumpy Troll for introducing me to some silent movies I hadn’t heard of and will be checking out soon… You’ve been a real ‘White Knight’ today, in spite of all your efforts to the contrary.

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