Blogfest Day 4: Gender in Metal


This post is part of Blogfest 2012 sponsored by my school. Everyday this week there will be a new post with a different theme.

When I saw that today’s theme was “Race and Gender: Day of Dialogue”, I instantly knew what I was going to write about. I’ve touched on the theme before but I have plenty to say about it.

Ever since I became a fan of metal, I knew that I some were going to look down on me for being a girl. There have been plenty of moments where I’ve been laughed at by male metal listeners or told by them that I can’t listen to “their” music. Thankfully I’ve found plenty of guys who don’t care what gender I am.

All that being said, gender discrimination in the genre has gone down in recent years thanks to the rise of female fronted (or completely female) bands. A few decades ago women were mainly viewed as sexual objects in the metal community. To those whose main goal was to just be a groupie and have fun that was alright. Other females who wanted to be taken seriously as musicians often had trouble with it (i.e. Lita Ford). The best contribution I can make (since I don’t want to be a musician) is to continue going to/writing about gigs and representing the female community.

Since up to this point this post has been so serious I thought I’d add a link to a (somewhat) humorous and true tumblr that I follow.

Have you ever been discriminated against for your gender or something else?

-Melissa

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~ by metalosophy on March 23, 2012.

7 Responses to “Blogfest Day 4: Gender in Metal”

  1. Well, being a dude I don’t normally get discriminated against in the metal world. I do get a lot of “wow, YOU listen to metal?” I guess I am one of the more quiet types and because I am in the military I am foced to be clean cut. So, at 18 the head got shaved. I suppose people think I am supposed to look a certain way because I listen to Megadeth, Overkill, Slayer, etc… I do wear the band shirts and to this day I do get some strange looks…mostly from deeply sheltered folks who tend to go to church a lot.

    If I had ever felt any kind of discrimination, it wasn’t for gender, age, or race. It was because of my occupation. Some women I met actually wanted nothing to do with me because I am in the Air Force. I guess they may have had a bad past experienced with a uniform wearer. Oh well, their loss. In the end it was not that big of a deal. I kind of laughed it off.

    • Besides gender and sexuality, I think that is another “discriminatory” (for lack of a better word) attitude taken by “true” metalheads. The more pretentious ones seem to think that if you don’t have long hair and dress in nothing but black/band tees, you’re not metal or something. I’ve received that kind of response from a guy before but I just pointed out how silly that person was being.
      I haven’t really heard about being discriminated against for occupation but I guess people can be discriminatory towards anything. Laughing it off is probably the best approach.

  2. What I find most interesting is that I have found no discrimination from all of the metal-heads I know personally in my life in regards to my sexual orientation, but maybe that’s in part due to the general types of people I associate with. I’ve always looked up to female metal artists/vocalists/musicians such as Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, Otep, and others as in a way I almost relate to them in a sense. Unfortunately, I think that in every dynamic or group of people, there are always going to be people who are closed minded in some way or another. Thankfully, there are plenty of people who are becoming more open minded and less sexist or homophobic, and I thank metal artists who are gay such as Rob Halford of Judas Priest or Ghaal (formerly of Gorgoroth) who’ve had the courage to be open about it.

    • I think that homophobia in metal has been in decline in recent years thanks to the artists you mentioned and just fans being more open-minded in general. Unfortunately what you say about the ever present close-minded people is also true. Your point about looking up to many female metal musicians is interesting. Some people might say that’s only something that a non-heterosexual metal fan could get away with. At least, I’ve never heard of guys looking up to female musicians like that.

  3. You know hopefully, the homophobia in the U.S. will fade. Its so rediculous. But to get back to your original post, I was discriminated against once for sure…based on religion.

    I went out on this date with a good looking girl. I was excited about this date. We had a great time…went hiking, had dinner…and all around good time. Then, she asks me what church I go to. I politely tell her I am a nonbeliever. Well, that was about it. Despite the good time and wonderful entire day we spent together she couldn’t get past my lack of faith. Also, She couldn’t believe I could be so nice and not have any kind of faith. That one bugged me a bit.

    However, she chose to get back with her ex who beat her and knocked her up before they were married. People are so interesting.

    • It’s too bad that some people will dismiss another based on their religious beliefs. I have friends of different religious backgrounds and I think it’s something to be valued because not everyone’s the same. Sounds like her religious convictions didn’t lead her down too great a path…

  4. Well there’s no doubt that Metal – as popular music in general – has been largely a white, straight, male-dominated industry, for ever, really. Women and minorities have made their mark in certain niches but I don’t see them dramatically increasing their prescence outside of those niches anytime soon – though it’s quite possible that continuing trends in home recording and filesharing/online distribution/direct marketing which give more prominence to niche markets and closer artist/fan relationships will accelerate the process. In that respect, the ‘destruction’ of the current music industry may turn out not to be such a bad thing in the long run.

    It’s weird how stereotypes continue to prevail, though. Black guys basically invented rock’n’roll; but how many high-to-middling profile black rock artists could I name if pressed? Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Arthur Lee, Phil Lynott, Corey Glover, Doug Pinnick, Derrick Green, Lenny Kravitz, Kele Okereke … er … maybe John Myung, Ryo Okomoto and Freddie Mercury if you admit Asian guys into the miix. Gay rockers? Mercury again, Halford, Bob Mould, Grant Hart (Husker Du must be the only majority gay rock band), Okereke again (what, a gay and black rock singer! Bet they don’t play his albums in Alabama!). The only examples I can think of of women making it to the top rank of rock artists are Patti Smith and L7, though it’s getting late and my brain is slowing down now, so I probably missed a few. I know there’s this trend in the last decade or so of female-fronted symphonic rock like Nightwish, Evanescence, Delain etc. and folk-influenced melodic rock acts like Karnataka, Mostly Autumn and Panic Room but we’re back to niches again. And no-one’s ever raised an eyebrow at women in folk/acoustic acts, or indeed r’n’b acts, any more than they have at black guys rapping or gay guys making disco music. Eminem may have the talent but being the ‘novelty’ white guy didn’t hurt him, either.

    The female acts that I like are mostly well outside of the strict ‘rock’ sphere, singing in places where they can sing ‘as a woman’ without creating too many scary ripples on the sea of testosterone: Neneh Cherry and Tori Amos spring to mind, though I’m kinda partial to a bit of R’n’B, like Tina and Beyonce too; not to mention pop heavy-hitters like Madonna and Gaga.

    Here’s a couple of links may interest you. A band I kinda dig from a few years back is Defenestration, on the poppier fringe of grindcore/metalcore and definitely not a cookie-cutter female-fronted rock act

    and if you’re intersted in a more academic discussion of (extreme) metal and the stereotypes/conventions therein, this book may be of interest:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Extreme-Metal-Music-Culture-Edge/dp/1845203992/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1344465988&sr=1-1

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