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11 - Metal in Women

Music, Empowerment, Misogyny

from Part III - Metal and Identity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 August 2023

Jan-Peter Herbst
Affiliation:
University of Huddersfield
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Summary

The gender of metal and the relationships between the music, misogyny and women have long raised eyebrows amongst popular commentators and scholars. Yet many metal fans claim that the genre is at heart an inclusive, even equal one, ready to welcome all fans regardless of gender, race and sexuality. This chapter gives an overview of thinking about the gendered meanings of metal, its origins in the music of Black blues women, the constraints on women’s music-making, the 1980s moral panic around metal and sexual violence, the gendering and queering of genre, women’s empowerment in metal and metal as a vehicle for feminist fury. I argue that placing women’s metal stories at the centre of our focus reveals different aspects of metal and its culture, and opportunities for understanding metal’s relationship with gender. Claims to inclusivity are exaggerated because metal exists in a sexist world and is not immune to societal discourses. The myth of equality is problematic because it impedes progression towards better inclusion. And yet metal provides opportunities for joy, power and for challenging misogyny for women, opportunities which are beginning to be grasped.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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