It’s Angela here (aka Ms. Ed. Note). So we’re talking International Women’s Day around Twisted Sister, which seems pretty fitting given we’re a feminist lit mag and all, and we tend to focus on the issues of empowerment, education, voice, and equity and representation in our own twisted way; but my question is why are we talking about this kind of thing? It’s 2017, right? You’d think we could have solved a few things in the since the first International Women’s Day (officially acknowledged by the UN in 1975, but occurring throughout different countries and labour sectors since the early 1900s).
Twenty (yes, TWENTY!!!) years ago I wrote an article for my college newspaper about International Women’s Day, and talked about the continued need for a push for fair representation of women in all aspects of life, from employment, education, finances, and health care, to the arts.
Flash forward TWENTY years and we’re still dealing with the same ol’ shit.
Twenty years. Give it a moment and let that sink in. Twenty fucking years.
Sure, I have more grey hair now.
But, really, not much has changed. Recent protests of about five million people against a certain US president aside, the issues remain the same.
Access to healthcare, education, and employment. Fair wages for fair work. Sexuality and gender (and really, why is the trans bathroom ‘issue’ even a thing? Just let the poor person use the toilet fer crissakes, regardless of their own personal ‘plumbing’. It’s been happening for centuries, and nobody had a problem with it before now.)
Women are still sexualized in the media and real life, and portrayals of women in the media tend to diminish the overall significant of an individual to a soundbite or quick sketch in hot pants. Sarah Miles has more on this in her article on women in horror films. (Even Rey from The Force Awakens speaks less than her male counterparts, which is kinda funny seeing as the film is actually about her.)
But, for fair representation of women in the arts – we’re gonna let Liz McAdams take that one on, but suffice it to say there’s a real reason why we started this whole lit mag. (And it might be why she completely exploded over a local radio station’s ‘Tribute to the Ladies’ that wasn’t actually a tribute; and Twitter war aside, as far as we know they’ve patched things up. Sorta. Maybe just steer clear of Central Ontario for a while now, folks.)
Twisted Sister lit mag is a place for feminist horror and dark fantasy (and yeah, we tend to favour a heavy dose of the weird), but it started with rejection, and misunderstanding of work that went on to be published in other venues (or in some cases, won contests). WTF, right? The work was rejected by (male) editors who did not ‘get’ female characters and voices or work that ‘fit the bill’ anywhere else. (Uh, hello classic horror writer Shirley Jackson and her domestic worlds.)
To say we were angry is an understatement. We got sick and tired of it all, and said ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ and Twisted Sister lit mag was born.
What we’ve got on tap for you is a mix of the old and the new, featuring some new voices or voices you may not have heard in this way before. (Our go-to guy for all things zombified, the mysterious jfxmcloughlin, has two outstanding pieces relating to domestic life — Still, She Swept and To Breathe. Read ’em and weep, fellas.) Tanya Simpson takes us on a visit To Mother’s Farm, and we have two new poems by Anne Kahn, Whittler and Trainees, and in case you missed it the first time ’round, we have the one and only Cthulhu on a Tricycle by Ksenia Anske.
Carly Zee’s Her Thighs will have you rethinking body image (and you might wanna check out her Overwhelmed in the Feminine Hygiene Aisle while you’re at it). Our discussion of Shirley Jackson’s classic short stories will have you seeing the horror in domestic life, and Brookelynn Berry’s review of a recent Kelley Armstrong workshop will help you get your writing cap on.
If you’re looking for some more blood spattered work by female writers, be sure to check out Lucky by Cindy Rosmus, The Corpse Grinder by Carolyn Ward, Consumption by Madeline Anthes, Frogs n’ Shit by Brookelynn Berry, The Hot Tub by Ruth Deming, Stuck by Tabitha Sterling, Kate Murdoch’s Joachim and the Vortex, and her The Duke of Dunstall. For a more sexy spin, drop by Madhuri Pavamani’s poems, including Vanity and Taboo.
OK, we’re talking International Women’s Day and trying to keep things streamlined around here by only focusing on a few topics relating to feminism, but for a full taste of Twisted Sister be sure to check our some of our previous issues — On The Rag (and Liz McAdams’s Full Moon on Sago), New Year, New Voices, our Countdown, Payback’s a Bitch, and Parenting (parts one and two, and Brookelynn Berry’s piece with the classic line — ‘Nobody’ll take them — they’re shits.’).
What’s with the domestic-themed art?
In Victorian times, women were known as the ‘angel of the house’, someone who stayed home, kept things together while men went out to work. And this element of domesticity is seen in the lives of countless women today.
Don’t believe me? Most of the poems and fiction around here have domestic elements. (Edna, Alice, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner are good places to start.) Or, check out our discussions on Shirley Jackson or Jean Rae Baxter.
Still don’t believe us? Ask the millions of mommy bloggers out there who’s in charge of childcare arrangements, laundry, and meal planning. Most likely not the male parent. Looks like we haven’t come so far after all, baby.
Finally — think about sending some work our way?
What’re we looking for? Strong female characters, well developed people who do things and get shit done. Or not, but are complex enough to feel like real people. Of course, we’re looking to support female writers, but we’re looking for diversity – work from all people, everywhere with a penchant for dark horror and fantasy. At the end of the day, we want a good story to tell. We want YOU!