Gynophobia & the Blood Ceiling in the World of Horror – By Lloyd Kaufman & Sabrina Sieck

In the worlds of finance and industry there is a glass ceiling that keeps gynos from climbing the corporate ladder. Similarly, in the realm of horror, there is a blood ceiling that gynos cannot penetrate. There are probably thousands of horror movies, but only a claw full made by gynos. This is ironic because the men who dominate this field pat themselves on their mutant hunchbacks for being part of a trendy cinema underground – a cool and alternative genre that defies norms and expectations – yet gynos (for the most part) are still only in front of the camera. Unfortunately, and counter intuitively, the genre of horror seems, to me, to be the most male chauvinistic area in pop culture.

Textbooks and professors tell us over and over to write and direct “what we know.” If there is one thing gynos know, it is horror. This first hand knowledge can be attributed to monthly menstrual monsoons and enduring excruciating childbearing pains. No man can possibly know the horror of having a creature grow inside of him for nine months or what its like to Jackson Pollock bedsheets with placenta.

Furthermore, gynos are constantly suffering threats to their safety. What gyno hasn’t, at the very least, been sexually harassed or worse. These realities makes it obvious that gynos can portray fear, terror, and gore onscreen in ways only those who’ve experienced it up close and personal can.

Supporting my claim that women know horror, is the fact that Gothic fiction is dominated by estrogen fueled authors and consumers. Gynos like Ann Rice, Lisa Tuttle, and Nancy Collins have made it clear that they are masters of the dark, gothic world of writing. Why can’t this success translate to writing and directing for the silver screen? The answer is because it is often assumed, by both the producers of horror films and the critics of the genre, that taking pleasure in horrific or frightening images is a masculine trait, not a feminine one. Obviously these men are mistaken.

Ladies do not need to shield their eyes. As I participate in horror festivals and conventions across the world, it is clear to me that gynos make up a large percentage of horror fans. There’s no reason why this genre would particularly appeal to males as opposed to non-males unless we’ve been telling ourselves for years that gynos are delicate flowers who hate violence. Too many horror films perpetuate that stereotype and the fact that not many gynos are given the chance to create these films, cements it. It is a disgrace that a genre that purports to be so hip and cool seems to be a sexist boys club that discriminates against those who pee sitting down. There is too little interest in gyno voices unless it’s their screams, moans or dismemberment. For example, the Master’s of Horror television series may as well go by the name Sausages of Horror. Since this anthology began in 2005, there has not been one episode directed by a gyno.

Not only is the sexist exclusion of gynos unfair, it is unfortunate for the movie-going public. Typically, horror has historically reflected masculine fears and male fantasies about sexuality. I believe the expanding of the genre through the gyno’s perspective would allow for brilliant new interpretations of classic stories and themes. For example, with all of the remakes happening in the genre, it would be refreshing if some of them could be written and directed by gynos.

The celluloid world is full of mediocre horror movies made by men. Gynos are certainly as capable and, in my opinion, even more capable than men to create horror movies. The fraternity of horror needs to give these gynos more opportunity so that they can shatter the blood ceiling and reinvigorate our beloved genre!