My Lady Bits On Display

The run up to election day always seems to move lightning fast. The entire Autumn seems to have lasted for approximately one week, despite the fact that I took a trip to Alaska, had three short stories published in anthologies, one short story published on a podcast, one creative nonfiction piece published in an anthology, and the anthology that I edited published–not to mention going through poll worker training. And now, here we are with only a few days left until the general election.

I was particularly thrilled to see Bodies Full of Burning released–and its very good reviews. It was lovely to see people understanding what I was trying to get at through the collection. Curating/editing an anthology that focuses on menopause and body horror provides a unique lens through which to also look at who is reading the work once it’s released. Publicly, that readership has been largely female and to some extent nonbinary and trans folks, which is also reflected in the cross-sections of writers who submitted to the story pool. On some level, I get that men might not feel comfortable writing horror about something so traditionally identified with women’s experiences. But body horror has fans across the spectrum–why would men (generally speaking) skip past an anthology like Bodies when the body horror is so strong? I’m reminded of the body of research that indicates few men read books by women, and there’s been robust online discussion about the idea as well. All I can say is that I’m grateful there’s been upswell in horror readers outside the traditionally cis-gender male group!

One of my short horror stories–“Knit, Purl”–was published in the Blood & Bone anthology from Ghost Orchid Press last month, and I wonder if they found a similar pattern (it was specifically a body horror anthology of stories written by women and non-binary writers). “Knit, Purl” relates specifically to knitting, an activity closely associated with women (at least in the US–I know in other countries it’s just as common for men to knit)–and I have had interesting interactions with a few male writers who tell me their wives may be interested because of that. The unspoken context there is that they themselves are not interested, ostensibly because they feel it’s so outside that sphere of familiar maleness, perhaps.

It’s been a fascinating couple of months, for sure.

As an aside and on an only vaguely related note, apparently horror films are typically marketed to 15- to 24-year olds, mostly male–although apparently viewers of horror films vary: “Action horror films skew toward a more male audience, while paranormal horror films are more evenly distributed between genders.” Huh.

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