Saturday, January 3, 2009

Why Women In Metal Aren't Taken Seriously Pt. I


I feel as though I've been so focused on race issues in metal and I want to divert a bit-take a breather and focus on something else for the time being. Race stuff gets tiring sometimes right? Why not temporarily move to an even more exciting topic in metal music? Gender!

So, not only am I black but I'm also a chick *gasp* and believe it or not I have somewhat of a tiny feminist in me just waiting to be heard.

*sigh* I don't know where to begin. Let me start by saying that women in metal music have exceeded expectations and are fast on the way of being a huge marketing tool...which can be good or bad. It's just interesting how many of us (women) are so into the mentality, 'we can do it just as good as the boys', yadda yadda yet allow ourselves to come right back down and be demoted to shit like this (look at the above picture).

Now you may ask, but Black Girl Into Heavy Metal, those are just two attractive powerful women in metal bands posing for a 'prestigious' title that was granted to them. My response is fuck that. Why don't they have a sexiest men in metal issue. Why is this? Because its a male dominated, super machismo, who's balls are bigger type of music genre-lets just be honest. I would be the first to formulate a list of who I think could make the sexiest men in metal as well as have them pose in tight leather pants doused in baby oil-thats beside the point. The point is that-how can we want to be treated equal yet we still cater to that male driven bullshit theory that women are ONLY supposed to be these sexual, ethereal, nonthreatening divas? And if we are even a tad bit intimidating we scare the hell out of men. For example bands like The Agonist or Vision of Atlantis v.s bands like Otep and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult (Mind you, these bands all are different genres). I think generally there seems to be an appeal for a female presence in metal but many men cannot decide if they want women to sort of be these beautiful singing objects that are nice to look at but barely tolerable to listen to or if they want a tough women who can play an instrument and scream like the guys yet at the risk of their sexual appeal. Only one woman (in my opinion) has been able to be taken seriously as well as be powerful and sexy-Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy. Even with a lot of symphonic metal bands like Nightwish (Yes, I'm going to rag on Nightwish even if they have won some awards-they still aren't' taken seriously because at the end of the day when people speak of great metal bands none of them are female fronted. Sad but true) the girls are always a bit whimsical and uber soft. Mind you, I'm not saying women in 'tougher' brands of metal aren't considered beautiful but they aren't the type of women to end up in just their skimpees on the covers of these magazines because conventionally they aren't beautiful. Beautiful is demure and safe=nonthreatening.

What man is going to take a woman seriously in a plaid miniskirt and a corset with her boobs hanging out *coughInThisMomentcough* no matter how good she sounds. I just think women who are tougher that don't dress like sluts are respected a tad more than the run of the mill heavy metal chick. They might not get as much attention for obvious reasons but attention=/= reputation? I'm all for wanting to feel sexy in a hot outfit every once in a while but I think power, intimidation, maybe even fear can be extremely sexy.

I know that certain types of metal are supposed to portray a different look but I just find it interesting that the girls that do make the issue are in cookie cutter safe corporate bands that are mostly talentless. Maybe I'm just looking at it the wrong way.



24 comments:

Narsilion said...

Look at Merlin... brutal death with a female singer. Not very popular but very brutal.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6T3D5OoVt8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw8DAwvGJ

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Nars-Thanks for the recommendation. I actually really enjoy her vocals. Check out the band Thorr's Hammer w/ a female singer as well...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYWGiNLbmhs
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knnNDK8-qNs&feature=related

Narsilion said...

Band Arkona with a beautiful blonde woman -)-)

http://arkona-russia.com/
http://www.myspace.com/arkonarussia
http://arkona-russia.com/gallery/big_319.jpg
http://arkona-russia.com/gallery/big_303.jpg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JGmGHoCK2s
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0v0ct4Bxk4&

vegmetalblackfemale said...

Hey I completely agree with what you are saying.It is not only metal but in almost all genres of music.But it is a shame that women feel that even though they have worked hard to get respect they need to sell for people to continue to listen to them.I guess it is just the system.

Ferrinas said...

Somehow found you're blog, awesome that you're into metal. A female band that as far as I know that haven't gone that route - Flagitious Idiosyncrasies in the Dilapidation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBhQRJQ-cws

That's actually all i know for female metal bands. I'm slowly getting into metal.

ValhallanKnight said...

It is rare to find a black into metal, I know a few, but not many. I also know a few girls into metal, and I have turned one of my friends onto metal recently. Gorgoroth is one of her favorite bands.

For one to look into, look into SerpentCult.

Narsilion said...

I have found a friend for you. :-) -) -)

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=40878050

Very strange like you...

Besides, she has a bit the same musical tastes as you.

Read this message, I think that it will interest you

http://forum.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=messageboard.viewThread&groupID=100028328&page=0&EntryID=69255027&CategoryID=0&get=1&adTopicId=31&lastpagesent=1&Mytoken=8FAF3AA7-4CDB-48FE-8A6CD6859E87658F69380735

ValhallanKnight said...

Also, if you look further back, you have a band that Lemmy strongly backed called Girlschool. They are pretty badass. Also Doro is worth looking into.

Narsilion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Narsilion said...

Alkonost

http://www.myspace.com/alkonostrussia

http://a624.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/21/l_f076ab93a9b2f086484385f1ed76c96f.jpg

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewTaggedPhoto&friendID=137695190&imageUserID=126208273&imageID=12186607

http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=viewImage&friendID=137695190&albumID=685372&imageID=970250

Narsilion said...

Another band of pagan metal with a beautiful blonde woman. :-) I love her :-p :-p :-p

http://www.myspace.com/cruachanfanpage

http://cruachan.metalfan.nl/
photo_gallery/cru_promo/promo_2006
/cruachan_promo_2006_07.jpg

http://cruachan.metalfan.nl/
photo_gallery/cru_promo/promo_2006
/cruachan_promo_2006_06.jpg

Hildr Valkyrie

Band of Pagan metal with another beautiful blonde girl.

http://www.hildrvalkyrie.com/gallery/Fgallery1-7.jpg

KY said...

I never really paid any attention to this topic because I always thought some women in metal wanted to be proytrayed as sexy to the public so they can be more appealing to the men and not some hard ass chick that would rip off a guy's balls, You know?? I think some want to be sexy and others would be more comfortable with more clothes on.

Anonymous said...

Actually magazines like Terrorizer(very mainstream as in, it's sold in Barnes and Noble) do have sexiest men in metal polls. Also, there are a lot of men who do dress in little to nothing in metal, such as when they take off their shirts, wear tight leather pants or are in folk metal bands and decide to don more warrior-like gear.

If you had men pose in tight leather with body oil, all you'd get is Manowar.

Besides, these women obviously want to take their clothes off and if a man thinks you're just some groupie-creature or hell-whore, then you don't want him anyways, so why care?

Also, feminists suck, so don't let your little feminist out. Men and women are equal, so feminism is stupid. It's basically racism, because you can't choose whether or not you're born as a male or as a female.

Stephanie said...

Hey, I really like this blog! I have the HARDEST time meeting chicks who are into metal, and if they are, it's metal that I'm not into. I'm big on power and heavy metal, so not a whole lot of women in that scene. No big deal though. A good chunk of the women I do meet are exactly as you said, eye candy that guys drag to the shows and she thinks she's somethin cause she has a ripped up metallica shirt on. that shit's wack.

Anyways, feel free to add me on myspace. Where in the midwest are you? Take care!

myspace.com/jesterlove17

Grotesque said...

It's a tough world out there for women, and even tougher if you're into the harder scenes link punk and metal. It's a fight between being an objectified sex symbol and being recognized as a musician. Ideally, a woman shouldn't have to worry about her outfit. She should be able to dress as feminine or as masculine as she wants; she should be able to be topless for all the world cares and still be taken as seriously as her male peers. Sadly, with "show us your tits" syndrome and female artists being stopped at the door on the basis that they were mistaken for a groupie/girlfriend/etc., we're still a ways off. I'd love for a woman to be taken as seriously as an artist in a corset/bra or bare- hell, I'd love that for women in general.

If it's any consolation: the same week that the Sexiest Women issue was published in Revolver, Metal Edge published "Women Who Rock" which featured "women ranging from Lita Ford to Sean Yseult to Cristina Scabbia who either contributed pictures or talked about their lives and the music they make. Instead of having one of these women strike a pose for the cover, the editors at Metal Edge chose to feature a male group, P.O.D., on the cover."

Anonymous said...

Luke says:
I disagree with you about Nightwish, they USED to be taken seriously, and I always thought that Tarja Turunen was a very powerful operatic vocalist, but then they trumped up this bullcrap a few years ago that she was a b*tch so that they could kick her out of the band and get a non threatening pop singer to replace her, basically they're sellouts.

FluffyIsKewl said...

Well theres:
Astarte (black metal) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPNKCpyAYlk
Gallhammer (doom metal) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6balaHGQg38
Kittie(alternative metal - i dont like this band though)- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WcveimnxUY

Anonymous said...

hey I know you've posted this long ago, but i recently found it, I was serching on google something like "why female metal singers look like sluts" and guess what I've found! the thing is, I have a death metal band, and I'm the singer, we are not famous, and not even closer to that but we're trying, so I started to "investigate" female singers just to know how this thing works, and I'm very dissapointed because they don't sell talent, they sell image, something that i'm not agreed with that, because if you have the talent, it is necessary to look like a whore? anyways, I think they like to have all the attention, in my personal opinion, and as a metal singer (not as famous or "hot" as them)If I'm gonna be famous, i want that because of what i do on not of how I look like.
Lin.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with decsribing women who wear sexy outfits as sluts. Slut is a derogative word for a woman who enjoys sex or is sexually agressive, flirtatious, promiscuous, etc. It's a sexist word used to devalue women based on what they choose to wear.
I'm always suprised when people who claim to be big defenders about women having equal opportunities in metal, and music in general, as the men, yet through around such dehumanising slurs. It's an attempt to justify (MEN'S) attitiudes towards women: well if women didn't dress like sluts/whores, we would take them more seriously; read: Men are FORCED to devalue women because of how women dress, so it's not their fault. But that's a load of crap.
People shouldn't be judged based on what clothes they choose to wear. Sure, it's near impossible not to compose some opinion about a person based on their opinion, but to go straight for the derogatives, just because the person is female and dresses sexy, is anti-female and anti-feminist. It's also ridiculous if the woman is an entertainer. If women are gendered into the beauty complex and use this to their advantage, I take my hat off to them.
Judge musicians based on the music they make, not their clothing. Fuck, Peter Steele did a nude shooot for Playgirl magazine and noone thinks less of him (save the homophobes), he's still a legend. Women deserve the same.
And why is gentleness always associated with weakness and subservience? Screeching into a microphone isn't the only means of strength and expression.
It's not about the way women dress. It's about the normalisation of belitting women for the way they dress, rather than judging their talent.

Viagra said...

I don't believe women are not taken seriously in metal at all, the problem (if you may look at it that way) is that Metal has a very high male-based group of fans (bigger than women) i know that there are more women getting into metal lately but still. The fact that we get a hold of "sexiest female metal vocalist" is just part of the fun. And remember despite you hate this fact, Metal was created by men.

Anonymous said...

To Viagra, who said "metal was created by men."
Metal is genre of music that came into being through a gradual process. There was not creation. The vast majority of bands who contibuted to the development of heavy metal as a genre were mostly male, yes, but ascribing this development of the genre to "men" as a class is false. Men as a class didn't "create" metal. A tiny portion of male humans did. I always find it irritating when people (usually smug men) like to credit men as class for creating this or inventing that, because the men who usually say this have done nothing to contribute to these great developments at all. They just get an ego boost from riding on the talent of other human who they have nothing in common with aside from a similiar biological make up.

The Black Girl into Heavy Metal said...

@Anon:Intersting point of view. I'm not trying to justify mens view of objectifying women. I am just being blunt about how most of these men do view girls who dress provactively. MOST of them see the way they are dressed and do think 'slut' or 'whore'. I never try to sugarcoat anything. Personally, I am guilty of this point of view as well. Your right, not very gung ho for a "feminist" but its just how I see it. People should be valued by their talent and not outer appearance but we live in a world where we do EVERYDAY. Be it a female metal head, a 'gangsta, or a business man-never truly knowing who they are. In my opinion I don't think its a good thing for women to use their looks and sexiness for advantages because that isn't helping the feminist movement at all. To me, that puts us back because its expected of a beautiful woman.
Ah, I might do a pt. 2 just based on your post because i find it very interesting.Sorry I couldn't respond to it all. I hope you read other posts of mine to get a broader view of who
I am rather than judging me based on one post.
Welcome to the blog, anon.

Anonymous said...

It's sad to see that the industry devalues talented women for body image. The same thing happens in sports, when talented female athletes are recruited by companies to sell perfumes and clothing. Trends in metal are changing, and I am happy to see people like you voicing your thoughts about it.
- South Asian female metalhead!

prettyinblack said...

I want to sit at Anonymous' July, 25th 2010's table. I like them. :D

I think Angela Gossow walks a fine line between being perceived as both powerful and attractive. It's done in the correct balance though. I think it's all in how she carries herself. She is confident in who she is and what she does and that comes out in spades. You can't do anything but respect her, even if you don't dig Arch Enemy. She reminds me of Lemmy from Motorhead in that respect--no bullshit, she is who she is.