Monday, 1 July 2013

Girls can do HORROR too!

In 1971, when I was eleven years old, I started to get into horror movies, magazines and books. I loved it! But, when I began drawing images of horror. Everyone around me, seemed to shun and chastise me. And even though my male counterparts, gleefully drew their pictures of horror, which consisted of blood thirsty monsters, people getting shot, stabbed and hacked up or soldiers being blown to pieces.  My images were frowned upon. I was viewed as 'disturbed'. My teachers at school would try and dissuade me from rendering the blood, gore and deformed figures that I drew. They would say "Why are you doing such horrible pictures-why don't you draw nice things?"

It seemed to be okay, expected and almost encouraged for males to render horror. It was yet another accepted  'Boys will be boys' kinda deal.
 This is how they are, and girls shouldn't be this way. Girls should draw happy, nice things, like flowers, fairies and unicorns.
They made me feel so bad about myself, that I stopped drawing what I wanted, and began drawing to appease others around me. I drew animals, flowers and movie stars. And although the reactions were favourable and flattering, I wasn't really happy. I was made to feel as though there was something wrong with me! And at the time, I felt such resentment to the boys, because they could do whatever they pleased.
When I look back, I see that it was all a case of gender conditioning. Imposed upon me, by teachers, parents, society and the media.

So, my life had begun as a baby girl, forced to wear frilly dresses, knickers and bows. I was merely an ornament. Who's main role in life was to look pretty, be polite, cook and clean, and serve the males around me, in the hope that I would procure a rich husband and live happily ever after.  I can remember being so angry and resentful inside, as I had to spend most of my childhood doing household drudgery. whilst my brothers did nothing and enjoyed complete freedom.
After a while, I stopped drawing altogether. I could not derive any pleasure from drawing the nice things that I was supposed to. I gave up my only source of expression.
Then, in 2000, I began to draw and paint again, in order to make money at my local art galleries. I was selling very 'nice' pictures of flowers, trees and landscapes. But, I was not happy. I was completely bored, unfulfilled  and it was so very servile.
 Then one day, I just decided to paint EXACTLY what I wanted to paint! I had found and embraced my freedom of expression! And this time -nobody was going to tell me what to paint or what not to paint EVER AGAIN!!
In 2007, when I first posted my horror art onto the internet. I received very mixed reactions. Some thought it great, but others called me names like 'Evil' 'Satanic' 'Witch' 'Disturbed' and 'Fucked-up'
And again, many people would say (And still say) "Why don't you paint 'nice' things?'
Would those same people ask male horror artists the same question? or horror writers like Stephen King to write about pleasantries? I don't think so! It would not even occur to them!

So, as I look around on the internet in 2013, nothing much has changed. The horror industry is still male dominated.
Although, I am happy to say that my art is being used as covers for horror books. It's a good start. And hopefully, it will be inspirational to other girls and women. Who, like me, were/ are suppressed into those oppressive, traditional female roles.

So, whatever gender you are. And whether you are a boy who likes fairies or a girl who likes monsters -  Be whatever you want to be... not what others expect you to be!


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