Queer, Latinx Author Uses Horror Genre to Amplify Voice in the “Me, Too”/“Time’s Up” Era

In May, author Junot Diaz's reputation as a literary icon was dismantled when he was accused by several female authors of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse. Among those accusers is horror writer Carmen Maria Machado -- the queer, Cuban, award-winning author of "Her Body and Other Parties."

Machado’s book explores the concepts of female insanity and female monstrosity in a genre that has always allowed authors to reflect upon society's demonization of the marginalized. In addition, Machado’s work has worked to also reclaim the genre in order to express the ways in which "being a woman is inherently uncanny" (Machado, Hazlitt Magazine).

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Earlier this month, despite her account proving true, a recording of Machado's interaction with Diaz circulated, resulting in her being attacked online in an effort to discredit her. Queer women especially will recognize the quiet horror in that recording: the didactic tone, the drawn-out public humiliation, the pressure to acquiesce. Furthermore, Diaz's case is especially charged politically because of the protectiveness communities of color feel towards their idols and heros (even though his accusers are primarily Black and/or Latinx).

Machado's literature and activism exemplify how as much as the horror genre reflects the stripping of people's humanity, it also acknowledges their power. And as much as QTPOC are made to live in fear, the outspoken and oppressed are always those who oppressors fear the most.

Further reading:

‘Being a Woman is Inherently Uncanny’: An Interview With Carmen Maria Machado (Hazlitt)

We can’t protect Junot Díaz at all costs (WaPo)

Junot Díaz Responds to Allegations of Sexual Misconduct and Verbal Abuse (The Cut)

Female Authors Accuse Junot Diaz Of ‘Virulent Misogyny’ (HuffPo)

 

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