How did the Campaign for Real Fear originate?
In mid-September 2009, in a blog post entitled Horror Wants Women to Scream But Not Talk, Maura pointed out that the British Fantasy Society was launching a new collection of interviews with 16 horror writers, but had neglected to record an opinion from any women in the field. Later that day Chris posted about the matter, and the debate went around the Internet.
Luckily, the story had a better ending than beginning. Maura posted only a few days later: BFS Apologies for Forgetting Women, and Chris picked up on the piece on his blog too: Horror Wants Women to Scream II: Response. A day or two later The Guardian wrote an article about the incident: British Fantasy Society admits ‘lazy sexism’ over male-only horror book. The BFS impressed everyone with its quick and honest admission of error, and it appeared as if lessons had been learned.
Around the same time an initiative began called Women in Horror Recognition Month. Its aim was to encourage people to blog and promote women who work in the horror industry during February 2010.
The idea received a lot of support and as February 2010 started blog sites, twitter feeds and Facebook entries were written about women’s contribution to horror. With the advent of World Horror Convention Maura had been spending a lot of time reading horror, with a particular focus on work by women writers. Chris and Maura struck up a conversation in an email exchange about the state of the industry as it is generally portrayed. Chris felt that the horror genre needed a new movement: one that reflected a modern world, with all its diversity and strange terrors.
In a stroke of dismal irony, the genre magazine SFX decided to launch a special horror edition that month, without much contribution from women. Maura wrote about the matter in a blog post SFX Forgets Women in Horror, and wrote to the editor, Ian Berriman, to query how the magazine ended up being a one-sided representation of the horror industry. Chris also discussed the question in Horror: Something for the Boys?, and first raised the question: “Where are the new monsters?” He followed up with an entry called Horror for the Boys 2: The Campaign for Real Fear, and first named his idea for a new horror movement.
Just a few days later Maura posted a blog post called SFX Responds: A Long Post, in which she published Ian Berriman’s reply, and her reaction to his litany of poor excuses.
Early in March Maura’s blog entry Women in Horror: A Summary of Recent Posts, gave an overview of the responses from a variety of sources to Ian’s explanation for forgetting about women in the horror industry.
On March 9th Chris declared the Campaign for Real Fear: Open for Business.
It’s important to stress that while this movement began from the glaring omission of women from the horror genre, the Campaign for Real Fear wants diversity in themes, characters and monsters. It’s time to reflect a twenty-first century horror sensibility, one that explores what scares us most in our rapidly changing world.
If you want change, you better write it.
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