Sunday, February 16, 2020

#WIHM Week #3

This week's Women in Horror guest blogger is Angi Shearstone.

Angi Shearstone
WiHM blog post for NEHW

Representation matters.

I believed it and supported it as soon as I heard the phrase, however long ago that was, and as a concept before the phrase came into use, however long ago THAT was.

But I don't think I really 'felt' that truth until I saw a very specific movie a few years back, and wished I could send it back in time to 14-year-old me.

Sure, there were several excellent / atypical / 'different' female characters along the way of my 1970s childhood and 1980s teenage journey in to nerdolitry, geekery, and horrorness …

Wonder Woman (Linda Carter)
Charlie's Angels
Isis (spin-off from Shazam)
Princess Leia
Ellen Ripley
Sarah Connor

Please forgive me for pulling from several genres (and across decades), because for me, it was loosely all "that weird stuff" that most of my female friends just didn't get. Yeah, for a while, with our age still in single digits, we shared ghost stories, psychic tales, and ouija board activities, but that faded away for them, somewhere in the transition into make-up and more gendered expectations.

Other geeky loves were problematic with regard to gender (Star Trek TOS, with Captain Kirk boinking his way across the galaxy, tho' Lt. Uhura made strides for both women and PoC), or just unmemorable wrt gender (Battlestar Galactica – unmemorable possibly because I started crushing on the boys, or don't remember because I can't bring myself to go back and watch them).

In retrospect, it mattered to young me that the 'princess' in Star Wars was a leader of rebel forces, could also shoot a laser gun, and wear something other than that dress, and stomp around the woods in camouflage. She wasn't the same kind of princess in most of the other stories i'd heard by that time (I was 7 in 1977).

It mattered that there was a Bionic Woman counterpart to the Bionic Man.

Later, it also mattered that Buffy the Vampire Slayer had so many other things to do than a boyfriend.

And it would have mattered even more, when I was a teenager & loved the orginal classic in all its glory, to see something like Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016). Because so many, if not all of the genre women up to that point, well, they were all pretty attractive, and fit, and sexy in a way that didn't deviate much from standards.

But the female Ghostbusters? Badass and silly and further challenging the notion of ladylike behavior and the lens of 'standard' attractiveness. All spectacular at their respective talents, all while suffering the same kinds of micro-aggressions I and so many women (almost all?) have experienced throughout life.

Holy shit, that mattered. Like, I got tears in my eyes at the end. That's when I really felt it, in my heart and in my soul: Representation matters.

It may not qualify as a great film in the eyes of history or anybody else, but it's absolutely excellent at what it did for me. I genuinely wish I'd had something like that when I was a teenager.

Representation matters. Let's see all kinds of women and men and every other and in-between. Because there's someone else out there who needs to see 'em.

On a side note, does anyone else feel kinda squidgy that WiHM coincides with Black History month? Like, it’s already the shortest month, can they share without detracting from one another? I don't know. I hope that what I've put down here can be at least tangentially relevant to thoughts on both. It's important to see all kinds of people  in our stories, and important to bring to light hidden and underrepresented truths.

Me, I’m Angi, and it’s a small miracle I got this short post done before February 29. You can see more about the things I do at and

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