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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ms. Horror Blogosphere: An Explanation

Hey folks, B-Sol here with what I guess is an explanation of sorts, and one which I feel is important and necessary. Earlier today, The Vault of Horror's Ms. Horror Blogosphere competition was the subject of a very angry post by Heidi Martinuzzi of Pretty-Scary.net, which is basically the epicenter of the female online horror world. I was taken aback and saddened a bit by this, and thus the need to explain myself.

Firstly and most importantly, I wish to humbly offer my sincerest apologies to anyone who has taken offense at the contest or found it to be demeaning toward the contestants. Particularly the actual contestants, but also to readers in general, whether male or female--and also to those who declined participation, such as Bloofer Lady of the excellent blog Horror Crypt, a great writer who bowed out over some very valid concerns regarding this very issue.

In her post, "New Annoying and Unnecessary Women's Contest", Heidi described the competition as "a truly nauseating attempt at attention grabbing and women-judging." She goes on to write, among other things, that "despite being a contest amongst bloggers, who are writers and journalists, each entry requires a photo of the lady and a bio. Which begs the question - why aren't they just being judged on the quality of their blog and writing? Answer: because it is never too late to judge women based on their looks."

Again, I'm saddened that my idea could be construed in this way by anyone, and it's upsetting to think that this was the unwitting result on my part. This was the farthest from my intention--rather, my intention was to break up the boy's club that online horror writing can very often be, and to bring some attention to a very talented group women bloggers and the sites they run. Simply put, I was trying to give props to these women, not tear them down, and it's unfortunate that it would instead be taken in such a way. For this, once again, I apologize.

The bottom line is, that when it comes to online horror journalism from a female perspective, Pretty-Scary is basically the gold standard. And so to be judged so harshly from a source I so greatly respect, is quite a blow, I won't lie. To be honest, I very much considered inviting Heidi herself to participate in the competition, but decided against it since her site is on a completely different level, and quite beyond the concept of a "horror blogosphere" in my opinion. Heidi and Pretty-Scary, quite simply, are much bigger than my little contest.

I have tremendous admiration for Heidi and Pretty-Scary. Thus it's confusing to read, for example, on her Facebook page, when mentioning my contest: "While I hate promoting things I hate, I like to promote 'hate'"--when my own intention was never to promote any kind of hate at all, but rather to give attention and credit to talented female bloggers.

I feel the need to address some specific concerns here. Firstly, it seems that much has been made of some of the questions I chose to include in the interviews, specificially the "Bang, Marry, Kill" question and the "Whose baby would you most want to have" question. These kinds of questions were included to add a little levity, and prevent things from being taken a little too seriously. After all, the spirit of the competition is fun, first and foremost, and I wanted to lighten things up so as to avoid the whole thing getting too pretentious or heavy. After all, this is a blogger competition; we are not selecting a new Pope here.

Further, very similar counterpart questions would certainly have been included by me should the contest have been among male bloggers. In fact, I should point out that the winner of the contest has the option of hosting a Mr. Horror Blogosphere competition, and should she choose to do so, I encourage her to include those very questions.

Again, I apologize if such questions were construed as sexist. I was a bit worried at first that some might think this, and I fully respect that opinion. My intention was only light-hearted fun to take the piss out of the proceedings a bit, but I fully concede I may have been a bit naive in this regard.

Now let's talk about the whole "picture" issue. Yes, I asked participants to submit pictures of themselves to go with their interviews. Let me explain why. In putting this contest together, part of what I was trying to accomplish was to get each of these writers across as personalities, as people--quite literally, to put a face to the words. I did not ask the contestants to sex it up, or anything like that. All I did was ask for pictures they were comfortable using, and that's what I was sent. My intention was never to objectify these woman, and quite frankly it does them all a disservice to suggest that simply by their posting pictures of themselves with their entries, it suddenly becomes some kind of meat market.

More to this point, Heidi specifically calls out one of the contestants, Aleata Illusion, for suggesting that sexuality and aesthetics may possibly play a role in the perception of female bloggers more than male: "Aleata," she writes, "if you want anyone to take you seriously as a writer, it is a bad thing. If you want to be an Internet blog celebrity, which many people do, go right ahead. This will make it easier to separate the women from the girls when we get all that sorted out." The validity of Aleata's statement aside, I can't help but feel that there is more demeaning going on in this comment than anything going on in the actual contest. Again, I only wanted to build these writers up, not tear them down.

Does sexuality play a part here? Are aesthetics involved to one degree or another in the proceedings? I'd be a patronizing liar if I said no. Of course they are, to a certain degree. Although the contest is about the women as bloggers first and foremost, yes, some voters may be motivated partly by appearance, and yes, some participants, to varying degrees, took advantage of their feminine sexuality to help add to their advantage.

But isn't sexuality part of who are as human beings? And if women--or men--choose to play a bit with it, to have some fun with it, isn't that their prerogative? Especially within this crazy genre we all love so much, in which sexuality plays such an undeniable role (hence the double meaning of the name "Pretty-Scary" itself)? But alas, these are questions that feminism itself has been struggling with for generations, and I have no illusions of being able to settle them here.

While my apology is sincere for those who have taken offense, I do not find the Ms. Horror Blogosphere competition to be sexist or demeaning. Nor do I find Pretty-Scary.net's Scary Stud of the Year competition to be sexist or demeaning. It's all in good fun, and helps bring attention to some talented individuals in the field.

The Scary Studs concept spotlights a different man in horror every month or so. At the end of the year, one of the men is selected as the "Scary Stud of the Year". The participants come from all areas of horror, and although mainly focusing on those directly involved in the movie business, there are occasionally others like Shock Till You Drop writer Ryan "Rotten" Turek, the October 2008 Scary Stud.

Turek's entry comes with photos, including this one, accompanied by the caption, "It's all the heavy axe-wielding that gives his shoulders their excellent tone and musculature."

Of Ryan, Heidi writes, "He’s super sexy and knows a bunch of stuff about horror films... Ryan proves that with a 'can do' attitude, any horror reporter can make the women swoon!... Whether he’s hosting a panel at a Fangoria Convention... or hanging out at local Los Angeles hot spots... he does it being Tall, Dark, and Handsome. Check out our awesome new Mr. October: Ryan Rotten Turek, who graces our site with his awesomely studly and genuinely enjoyable presence."

Ryan is asked questions like, "What is your sexiest quality? Describe in detail..."; "What's your workout routine? I.E. How did you get such nice arms?"; "People often speculate on your hair care activities. How long does it take you to do your hair, and in detail, can you describe for us what you do and any product you may use?"; "Say something totally nondescript and diplomatic about other major horror websites... with an underlying tension about how you really think your site is better than everyone else’s"; "When female horror fans see you, would you say there is more of a 'weeping' effect, or a 'screaming' effect because of how much they love you?" and "What's the sexiest thing a woman has ever done for you?" At the conclusion, she encourages readers to "Give Ryan some sugar, baby" at Shock Till You Drop, or his MySpace page.

Again, it's all in good fun, and it helps give some exposure to a talented online horror writer. I do not take offense at this or any of the other entries for Scary Stud of the Year. I can only hope that the Mr. Horror Blogosphere competition, should it take place, will be anywhere near as cool.

In closing, I'd like to hear what you fine folks think of all this. Was this whole thing a colossal misstep on the part of ol' B-Sol? Are you getting a kick out of discovering a bunch of great horror blogs, or getting sickened to your stomach? I sincerely hope it's the former, as that was all it was intended to accomplish. Making it a contest only adds to the interest and draws even more potential readers to these sites, which was the idea all along. I hope it continues to happen, and again apologize for any offense caused.

41 comments:

Lycurgus said...

Why the fuck are you apologizing? You did nothing wrong, and in fact provided a great service to new bloggers who are just trying to get their foot in the door. Discussions concerning the relative absence of female horror bloggers/journalists run rampant, and with luck this will shed light on some great new blogs out there.

People are always quick to fucking judge. She knew you had the best of intentions, she just wanted attention for herself.

Mike & Ike said...

Lycurgis makes a good serious point, so here's a funny one. RE: The questions people seemed to take offense to. Hell, we've asked many people, including the writer of Evil Dead-The Musical, if they'd punch a five year old. Granted, we're more comedians than journalists but still. We would much rather be asked something like that than "What's your workout routine?"

Alex said...

Stand-up response. You came off as the bigger man even though you did no wrong in the first place. Bravo, good sir.

Rhonny Reaper said...

The question of what horror character we would bang was funny to me and i was not offended in any way. I'd ask a guy the same question! (I'd probably get a million responses for Megan Fox or Kate Beckinsale...)
And as for the pics we sent, I didn't see one contestant photo that was sexed up. All the pics were normal photos so how they could be thought of in any other way boggles me.
I wanna thank you! Because of this contest and your blog, People know who i am and know about my blog. I got people emailing me wanting me to do reviews and interviews for there books or films and this would NEVER have happened so soon if it wasn't for you! so THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES OVER!

Lycurgus said...

The whole thing is supposed to be in good fun. I just don't see how bloggers can't be supportive of other bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous.

A word to the Pretty Scary poster and her supporters: It's a sad day when instead of the worry about being judged on the wrong merits in a male dominated blogosphere, the contestants - all of whom are funny, literate, STRONG independent women - have to listen to some attempt to shame them for participating by someone of their own gender.

Mike Snoonian said...

I'll throw my two cents in.

First, I love the VoH site. It's one of the best on the web, and in someways it's a site my own emulates to a certain level.

Second, I thought your intentions were in the right place, and the goal was to simply spotlight some of the better run female horror blogs on the web. It was great to see some of my favorite sites (horror digest, horr effect, hey look behind you, tenebrous kate) get well deserved time in the spotlight, and I also discovered a handful of new sites to add to my daily reading list.

While I didn't take offense to the "bang, marry, kill" or "whose baby would you have" questions, they just didn't seem relevant, and if anything marginalize your intention to simply show these women deserve to be read not becuase they've got breasts, but because they can discuss horror as passionately and intelligently as any bearded fanboy.

I think your response to P-S.net was as classy as one could post in response to a pretty unwarranted personal attack. You raise a valid point that the site has no problem promoting the beefcakier side of horror in orde rto further its own readership, and it does so in a much more explicit way.

Tat's pretty much all I've got to say abou the issue. It's obvious you hold yourself and your site to a high standard. Internet infighting aside, you spotlighted a number of upcoing writers to a much larger audience that would have taken a lot longer to discover them otherwise.

Alison Nastasi said...

B,

Thanks for taking the time to provide such a thoughtful response to the Pretty-Scary write up. It's a shame that some people weren't able to see the fun in the contest, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. That's what keeps the world interesting. I felt like the write up was negative and patronizing, and I think it was unprofessional for the writer to bash her peers. We're all female writers who love horror and exist in the same circle.

I'm confident that I have something interesting and intelligent to offer readers on both Screamstress and Horror Squad. I gained a following based on my writing not my image. My website or Twitter account never even had my photo on it until the contest started. The image I chose for the contest was meant to be in good fun. Also, it's from a series of videos I'm working on with a female slasher angle and I thought was compelling and relevant. If people also think it's sexy, so what?

If anything good came out of all this, it's that it opened up a discussion about something important--women in horror. I hope my fellow contestants feel as empowered as I do knowing how much support they have in their readership. We all have something different to offer the horror community and I'm glad I was able to discover new writers and readers through this contest. Thanks for hosting the contest B-Sol. I hope we can continue to have fun and I look forward to more great posts on The Vault of Horror.

--Alison

Anonymous said...

Heidi is a hypocrite. That whole website is a joke. All she does is demean women in the genre by ass-kissing all of the talentless female actresses and spending zero time promoting the good ones. SHAME on her.

Ms Harker said...

I agree with the above comments. The contest is a bit of fun and I find it hilarious that Heidi cannot see the the pure hypocrisy in her regular 'stud' feature and having a crack at this harmless contest.

Again a pseudo feminist has shot herself in the foot by forgetting one of the main philosophies behind feminism; that being, the right for women to choose, for human beings to choose their own destiny and be free to do so.

So as one of said contestants I choose to participate, I choose to use use my sensuality as its part of who I am, I choose to discuss horror, my interest in it from my perspective. I would never enforce my opinion of what women should and shouldn't do as that is not in the spirit of feminism.

www.musingcontinuum.com

Aaron said...

I agree with her to a certain extent, but not so much as far as the whole feminist bullshit. I just don't support anything that tries to turn the blogs into a popularity contest, which this "competition" basically is. Same thing goes for the whole LOTTD thing which is essentially a made-up "cool club" for bloggers to feel special about themselves and put a neat banner on their page which signifies their superiority over other people that write about horror movies or what-have-you. It's like high school or something. But hey, that's just my opinion and I'm not knocking the "Ms. Horror Blogosphere" contest or anything because the participants seem to be enjoying it which, when it comes down to it, is all that matters. And while I'm not necessarily supporting it, I'm still actually kinda curious to see who wins.

EBrock said...

I will say this, in light of Heidi's comments--her complaints fall well short of integrity when her own website (which see provides a link to at Pretty Scary) has pictures of her in far less clothing than any of the Ms. Blogosphere contestants.

And if you read her "signature" on The Pretty Scary forum, you will immediately understand her reasoning & her hypocrisy.

So don't take it personally, B-Sol.

Kitty LeClaw said...

Anonymous said: "...some attempt to shame them for participating by someone of their own gender."

Hear, here. According to Pretty-Scary reasoning, a woman can have an image, or she can have intelligence, but she cannot have both.

Admittedly, I found a couple of the interview questions to be beside the point of this contest, but I answered them in the interest of lighthearted fun. I figured a man would have no trouble answering such questions (Bang, Marry, Kill comes immediately to mind), and I've never been one to shy away from ANYTHING simply because I am a woman. I haven't identified with the shrinking violet mentality since I was a socially ostracized third grader.

Robert Ring said...

B-Sol, I find her complaints as absurd and unfounded as the other comnentors her. Especially, "If you want anyone to take you seriously as a writer." What if she wants to be taken realistically as a human? Or, say, just have fun?

Robert Ring said...

PS - Sorry about the misspelling. I'm working from an iPhone here.

branwyn aka madhouse mauly said...

ah the old "empowerment vs demeaning" problem for us women.

sounds like chick needed something to write about, maybe drive some traffic her way.

ave~
MadHouseMauly

John Kenneth Muir said...

B-Sol,

I don't know your accuser, so I can't comment there. I won't speculate at her motives in launching this attack since I would just be guessing in the dark.

However, I am very familiar with you and your work. I have followed your blog and truly enjoyed your writing for a long time now, and I have never seen anything that would lead me to conclude that you are a sexist.

This post, in fact, is a testament to your sense of decency and fairness. First, you apologize if offense was given...even if none was intended.

And secondly, you explain your motivations in forthright, honest terms. Essentially, you have cleared the air, without seeming defensive or being nasty.

This post just proves what a stand-up guy you are (and have been, as long as I've known your work...).

I do remember a similar thing happening to me, when my book Mercy in Her Eyes: The Films of Mira Nair was published in 2006. One critic in an academic journal complained that because I am a man and a non-Indian, I have no right to pen a book about an Indian woman filmmaker; that my conclusions were somehow bound to be both sexist and, generally, racist.

That old critique -- and this diatribe against your work -- just reminds me of an important fact: that many, many people (on the Internet and in academia...) are VERY unhappy, and take joy in negativity.

Keep your chin up.

With support and admiration,
JKM

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

I'm a woman and I don't see what the big deal is? I thought it was a great way to promote some awesome horror blogs, even if they are all women.

People need to lighten up.

Mark Hodgson, said...

To be fair, Zombo runs a look at Horror Bloggers (mostly male) and there's always a photo - a chance to see the writers behind the words.

Anonymous said...

Where do I begin, becuase I could really blow this up! As a women myself, I feel Heidi maybe a little threatened to see howmany other great women bloggers are out there. It was not sexiest in any way. I love putting a name to the face of things. You got these women recgonized more that way. People are more visual. What's the difference for plastering men on magazines with their 6 pack abs, I'm not complaining. I believe Heidi did come off a bit as a hypocrite. Look at it this way, YOU the VOH & these women just got themselves more recognized now, so really Heidi just bit herself in the ass. As far as Bang, Marry or Kill, I thought it was actually kinda funny to add that in, all women fantazise just as much as men, and let's face it horror & sex go together!

Marc said...

Screw Heidi. There was no call for her post. It just shows what a self-serving hypocrite she and Pretty-Scary.com are all about. You have no reason to apologize, though knowing you to be the genuine and classy guy you are - I totally get it. You're a good guy Brian - and there's no reason for you to be subjected to that sort of crap. Let this rest and enjoy your Thanksgiving bud!

the jaded viewer said...

I'll admit, I didn't vote for the miss horror blogger who looked the hottest or had the sexiest pic, but I voted for because of the following:

1.) They like what I like
2.) They are funny in their writing
3.) And selfishly, they support my blog the jaded viewer by leaving comments.

Friends and family will vote for who they know. It's getting the vote of your fellow horror bloggers (male or female) that says something about your writing because they will vote on your posts and not your looks.

And if you've supported my blog, its more easy enough to support yours. Selfish yes, but damn true.

Wednesday's Child said...

I can't believe I just got home from T-Day lunch to find a pseudofeminist controversy over a blog that belongs to one of the LEAST sexist men I have met in my almost 20 years of socializing online.
I thought about not entering the contest when I was asked because the initial email asked for a pic and I'm not feeling all that photogenic this year. Then I figured, what the hell, who cares who wins? I'll get new readers out of this!
The "contest" is just a clever framework Brian used to spotlight some good blogs. Getting a post devoted solely to my blog on a popular blog like VoH is as good as winning the contest to me.
I'd like to thank you, Heidi, for giving me another opportunity to plug my site by making a big deal out of nothing. So folks, come on down to In It For The Kills, the site where I'm streaming a Thanksgiving horror movie starring the Body by Jake dude.
Happy Thanksgiving!

The Igloo Keeper... said...

Beautiful response, B-Sol.

Madbikerteknik said...

You keep on doin what you're doin B-Sol. The blog phenomenon is about individuals expressing themselves. No one is forcing anyone to do anything and people need to relax!

Tenebrous Kate said...

I have no problems with the way I've been represented in this contest. Is it "gendered?" Yes--but I don't think there's an inherent "sexism" in acknowledging gender differences in our culture. It's all in a bit of fun, and much like horror films (produced, as they are, to provide a bit of fun) which gotten incredibly fiery reactions on the basis of perceived misogyny, I think the debate is worth having. Part of my "brand" is that I'm a woman--my personal experience informs my opinions on what I view, and I employ an "I" voice very heavily. There was no ethical hesitation on my part in participating in the Ms. Horror Blogosphere contest.

That having been said, I can understand where an author who has distanced herself from issues of image would decline to participate. There's no moral high ground here--it's a difference of opinion, and a difference of approach to the material. It's a big internet--there's room for everyone.

It's unfortunate to me that one statement that reflects one entrant's opinion is being held up as an example of how *all* the contestants are approaching their place within the blogging community. That's a pretty broad (sorry--is that a sexist adjective to unleash here...?) brush to use across twenty-one very individual viewpoints.

Ritsuka said...

Female horror fan here, and I really enjoyed reading all the contestants entries and being introduced to so many interesting horror blogs I might not have discovered on my own.

The joke questions were my favorites, ligtening the serious mood.

I never got the impression that the contest was sexist or demeaning, and your thoughtful response is perfect proof to me it certainly wasn't intended.

dylan said...

That was a classy response, you should work in politics! This whole thing has gotten a bit out of hand.

-Chris Bennett- said...

Everyone seems to be chiming in on this, and I'm probably not saying anything new, but I need to show my support here, B-Sol.

VoH is a great site and you have my greatest respect. You've orchestrated lots of events/projects where bloggers come together to share their thoughts about whatever issue is on the table. In the end, isn't that what this is all about?

I've discovered a ton of great blogs through your community-mindedness. I appreciate your efforts for community: The Horror Cannon (which inspired my own blog), your recent movie commentaries, Ms. Blogoshere, etc.

I think the inclusion of the "contriversial" questions was great. It gave the readers an idea of how improvisational the featured blogger is, how quick witted they may be, and gave a little insight into the type of person they are. It's all good.

If people want to waste their time complaining about a non-issue then that is their loss. People get offended so easily these days that it's easy to gain support by playing the victim. I could find a million things to call sexist/offensive/etc. But I don't, because I'm a reasonable person who understands that people are people, and if I don't like something I won't watch/participate/involve myself.

Bottom line: Anyone who wastes their time tearing a person (or their ideas) down, using their status and influence to do so, is a bully.

Don't let this get you down. Everyone just needs to accept it in the spirit that it was given.

Anyway, thanks for an awesome site. Keep up the good work!

-Chris

Cheesemeister said...

I am not one of those women who does the whole "I'm not a feminist, but I want equal rights" apology thing. I say up front, I am a feminist. And I never saw one thing about this contest that was sexist. I did not perceive you as exploiting these women or asking them to sex it up. They are women, who happen to blog about horror. If this Heidi broad is the "epicenter of the female horror blogging world," may I say that I had never heard of her before and won't be bothering myself to visit her now after her misplaced rant.

Heather Santrous said...

I'm a little late to comment on this, but I will do it anyway. As one of the contestents, I never found any part of this little contest to be demeaning in any way. I admit that I wasn't going to be in the contest when I was first told about it, but that wasn't because I thought it was sexist.

I never wanted to be a writer, so I know I make a lot of mistakes when I do write. It was because of this that I was nervous about putting my own blog agaist others. After thinking on it for a few days, I decided I shouldn't let my self-confidence issues get in the way.

I never had a problem with the questions for the contest, or the way the contest is being ran. I look at it this way: I get to discover some great blogs thanks to the contest. It also draws attention to my blog, and hopefully people will like it enough to keep coming back. Even if I don't win the contest, which I never expected to anyway, I have won just because of that.

As for the pictures, I know some don't want it to be about looks. I never saw it that way myself. I have always thought that it is nice to see the face to the person you are talking to though, and I think that was all you were trying to do with that.

Anonymous said...

Heidi is very much a "leap before you look" type of gal. I had an email exchange with her that went from zero to psycho in 60 seconds. Ignore her - she's young, she'll figure it out one day. You have absolutely nothing to apologize for.

fallon said...

We all have faces here. Everyone's a real person. I think that's what's great about seeing the pictures. It's just being realistic, instead of presenting it like OMNIPRESENT INTERNET BLOGGER. It's way sicker an idea that everyone should have to hide what they looked like, out of some misplaced fear that they might accidentally arouse someone. Like... female bloggers shouldn't have to wear burkas.

You would have had to be viewing your contest, and the contestants pictures, through a warped lens for someone to think it was demeaning and disgusting. I got tuned into some fun blogs from the whole thing, glad you did it, and as a woman, I was not offended at all.

B-Movie Becky said...

You've handled yourself with integrity Mr. B-Sol. I wanted to say "Thanks" for hosting the competition and I'm saddened that so much drama has resulted from a fun contest to promote our sites.

christopher zenga said...

you did nothing wrong, he blog exposure is first and foremost the most important thing that came from the contest.

Later days,

Christopher

RayRay said...

Let me tell you that this issue has infuriated me for a number of reasons. First and foremost: B-Sol is an old dear friend, so I am quick to rush to his defense. RAYRAY SMASH!

Second, one thing I hate is stupidity. And this Heidi who runs a blog called, ironically called "Pretty Scary", is one stupid woman. She decided to spout off is a very typical pseudo-feminist fashion - that by merely judging women a man is thereby objectifying them and therefore demeaning them - without checking her facts.

B-Sol is a man of the highest integrity. He doesn't have a sexist bone in his body. He went out on his OWN to promote 20 or so women bloggers just because he wanted to.

Thirdly, the self hating feminist shtick is soooooo passe. We have come full circle so that women can be empowered AND sexual beings AND sexy. So fucking what if someone voted one way or another because they thought one of the bloggers in the contest was a hottie? To quote a very wise fictional character: "To deny our own impulses is to deny the very thing that makes us human." I am going out on a limb here, but maybe this Heidi has some self esteem issues.

Fourth: I despise it when good people are forced to apologize for doing nothing wrong, because someone might have been offended. There are three words in the English language for that: FUCK THAT SHIT. There is no right not to be offended, especially in a situation where the nexus between the alleged offensive act and the offended party is so attenuated as to literally vanish when it is actually examined.

B-Sol did the stand up thing, but my preference would have been to tell this Heidi off for the intellectual fraud that she is and she represents. It is this kind of bullshit that has given and continues to give feminism a bad name. She is the type of complaining harpy handing over ammunition to the real anti-feminists in this country, and she should be exposed.

I apologize for the profanity, but only to B-Sol, as he has the right to regulate his blog in the way he sees fit.

Emily said...

I missed most of this drama from holiday/work overload, but I'm glad to hear it's died down. B-Sol, you simply gave us a forum to essentially advertise our blogs. A contest angle simply makes it more popular. You never exploited us and it was our choice how to present ourselves, both in the photos we chose and how we answered the questions. I left a rather long comment over at Pretty/Scary, but I simply wanted to add my thoughts here as well. I understand someone's initial reaction to the idea, but this was about showcasing blogs and letting us as writers and women who love horror introduce our work and who we are. I too thank you for the opportunity.

Robyn74 said...

B-Sol, your response was eloquent and heartfelt. The truth in publishing (which, blogging in this day and age equates to) is that no matter how hard you try to view your content from every possible angle, it's nearly impossible to please everyone. I personally thought you did a fantastic job of taking a traditionally sexist concept (the pageant) and turning it on its ear. I don't think Miss America has ever been asked which horror character's baby she'd have. And I'm guessing you put a lot of thought and research into the creation of this blog event before the first post went up. Creativity, humor, and fun are the lifeblood of great blogging, especially in horror. And while criticism is and will continue to be out there, don't let it stop you from finding new ways to use your talents.

Anonymous said...

I'll add the same comment here as I did at Pretty Scary.

How about, instead of forcing participants in including a photo of themselves, why not just request they submit any image that they feel represents their writing? This could include a photo of themselves if they wish, or perhaps personal artwork, or really any other image that they feel is reflective of their writing style, which is what they are ultimately supposed to be judged upon in this contest.

Personally, I think this contest is a fun idea; however, I do agree that mandatory personal photos was not well thought out.

Lastly, I'm very surprised at the vitriol and insults being thrown at Heidi from other respondents in this thread. Heidi herself has said she does *not* feel Sol was making a "...calculated attempt to exploit women", and nothing was said to attack him on a personal level. Her annoyance was with the contest, not the man. I feel the readers here should follow suit; if you disagree with Heidi, attack her words, and not her.

--Tristan Sinns

B-Sol said...

I appreciate the issue you raise, Tristan. Putting a face to the blog--identifying the author--was my only intention. I would've been open to any objections raised by the contestants over that idea. But no one expressed any problem with it. Yet I now regret it wholly.

Lily Strange said...

Ah well, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And I'm not saying this to dog you because I still contend you did nothing wrong. I'm reflecting on a good intention of mine that cost me thousands of dollars in publishing and promoting only to end up pulling the plug on the whole thing because of the bullshit I was having to endure. My only intent in publishing the book that I published was to give "voice" to a person who had a terribly tragic life and to hopefully raise money for better treatment for mental illness and suicide prevention. What I ended up with, rather than interest and support, was a ration of shit. Hindsight is always 20/20. And sometimes one is left wondering..."but what the hell did I do that was so wrong?"
The one thing that pleases me is that I have met so many good people, even if my project turned out to be a bust. I just wish I'd realized it was a bust before I'd spent ten thousand dollars!

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