TARA SUBKOFF ON THE #HORROR OF GIRL-ON-GIRL BACKSTABBING
When Tara Subkoff set out to write, direct and produce film a movie that tackles the thirst for likes and girl-on-girl bullying, she likely didn’t imagine that she would be subject to the very phenomena that the film explores. But according to a new Medium essay penned by Subkoff, that’s exactly what went down after W Magazine writer Lynn Hirschberg published a piece on the director and her work last November.
“The exclusive interview I granted W magazine was supposed to be about my film, but instead it is a grownup version of exactly what I made a film about: a toxic instance of girl on girl abuse laced with sexist bias,” Subkoff writes in her essay.
While #Horror is her directorial debut, the woman has had a rich artistic career. For those of you who don’t know about Subkoff’s work, here’s a quick rundown: She started the Imitation of Christ clothing line, which famously upcycled vintage threads into modern creations. She’s acted in loads of films, including The Last Days of Disco and Freeway (two of our all time favorites). And she often collabs with her sisterhood of friends, which includes Chloë Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Natasha Lyonne, Lydia Hearst and Arden Wohl.
Subkoff says in her essay that she was excited to talk with Hirschberg (who she previously called “one of her favorite writers” on Instagram) about the film’s social message. “We need some new stories for women, stories that don’t just paint them as girlfriends and sidekicks, so that young girls can have a different focus,” Subkoff writes.
Subkoff understood the article would be about her work, not her personal life–and Hirschberg was seemingly on board (Subkoff even shares screenshots of texts within her essay to prove it.) But the meat of the W story focuses on Subkoff’s love life and health issues and frames the director’s ambitious nature as manipulative. Subkoff rightfully points out that male directors are seldom subject to this kind of scrutiny, which ultimately dilutes how we perceive a person’s sincerity and, ultimately, the power of their work.
“I intended #Horror as social commentary, an exploration of the darkest ways girls today interact with each other,” Subkoff writes. Though the W article missed an opportunity to build on this much-needed commentary, its aftermath does give us a radiant example of how to deal when we feel another girl doesn’t have our backs: Subkoff comes back with a thoughtful essay that discusses what Hirschberg chose not to–girl-on-girl backstabbing–and times it to promote her movie’s DVD/VOD release, like a real boss.
Check Subkoff’s #Horror trailer below. The film is available on VOD and DVD April 5:
photo credit: @tarasubkoff Instagram