We Like ‘Girls Don’t Like Metal’

By: shane.mehling Posted in: featured, gnarly one-offs, winner On: Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Kimkelly

As any old schooler can attest to, gender equality in metal has never been better. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a very vocal contingent of the ever expanding scene that thinks chicks are dumb sluts who only go to shows because they’re drawn by the arousing potpourri of dread, sweat and a beer shit someone took in the unisex bathroom.

So it’s nice to see a column such as Girls Don’t Like Metal, which aims to give a monolithic middle finger to every lonely chode who thinks only men can dissect the subtle nuances of pig squeals.

This particular interview is with Kim Kelly, who you may know from her incredible music writing, her PR company Catharsis or that one time I emailed her thinking she was a dude (again, sorry about that.)

This isn’t a puff piece, but instead shows that not only can women talk about metal but they can talk about it in a trvly inspiring fashion:

It’s hard to explain to the uninitiated, but that strangeness, otherness, the darkness that permeates our world and keeps us isolated from the mainstream—it’s really fucking special.

And no, she wasn’t wearing a bikini when she wrote that.

  • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

    Maybe some day we will have articles about how men who are metal fans are not disgusting misogynist assholes. If gender equality has never been better, then presumably along with women in metal becoming a more normalized presence, then also perhaps we will see articles that do not enforce upon metal a cultural belief that the majority of men who participate in the culture are slime. 

    This is, of course, not something that KK tends to emphasize, but something I’ve noticed in articles that are commenting on her work (often in an attempt to sound important without being critical). As her interview states, she supports female empowerment, which is somehow translated by other journalism sources that men are disgusting leches. Which is to say that we can somehow scapegoat this sort of cultural inequality on a particular segment of population rather than admitting that it is an institutionalized and historical problem of great subtlety where even the most open and conscious man can commit casual sexism without being aware. 

    That was a rather convoluted way of saying that it isn’t the blame of “every lonely chode”, but rather a system of sexism that has been normalized into the hegemonic system of cultural control. By blaming “those people” and not being aware of the greater problem, you are equally guilty in perpetrating the stereotype (or the world in which the stereotype exists). 

    • ShaneMehling

      Let me guess, you’re finishing up your liberal arts degree…

      • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

        Perhaps I was a bit harsh. However, I am pretty passionate about metal and culture. I just think there is more to the problem than just some metal guys are jerks. Particularly in a genre that was invented in opposition to the post-industrial economic collapse – while men lost their jobs, it gave them a new found freedom to create. However, women had no such freedom to leave their role as homekeeper, and thus have not been allowed such creative freedom until fairly recently. It is easy to blame jerks, but it doesn’t allow for a greater cultural understanding of the metal community and how and why it has been established the way it has. 

        (Two degrees, actually). 

        • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

          But, again, I don’t see that sort of blame in Kim’s work, or even in Girls Don’t Like Metal, but more so inundated in the pieces describing their work, which sort of confuses the very ideas they are trying to promote. 

          ANYWAY, I’m done. I’m mostly just really bored today…

          • Poopstain

            Your recent tweet says it all:

            Still unemployed, folks. Hire me to write. (new reviews coming soon!)

          • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

            This is primarily a joke twitter. 

          • Roze of the Valley

            Your username says it all.

        • http://twitter.com/FeistyAntelopes Emily

          Yes, it’s easy to blame jerks for being jerks.  Sexism is inherent in all areas of our culture, but there is no excuse for any man to act like a sexist asshole because he is an adult and we adults are expected to be responsible for our own behavior.  A metalhead should be even more likely to be self-aware and disregard the status quo, given that they are outside the mainstream.

          • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

            When culture has normalized a particular way of life, then one often isn’t aware of their own actions being destructive. And, while metal is certainly transgressive, that doesn’t necessarily mean it is doing so in a particularly positive or political conscious way. 

      • W.

        “Let me guess, you’re finishing up your liberal arts degree…” That sums up another aspect of metal/hardcore fans. Ridicule for anything academic.

        • ShaneMehling

          Carcass lyrics, motherfucker. Do you read them?

          • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

            He has a point, though. 

    • Dethroned_emperor

      Did you miss this part of the article? “That’s not to generalize or say that all metalheads act this way. Quite
      the contrary—the vast majority of metal fans I’ve come into contact with
      (and there have been literally thousands by now) have been the kindest,
      most respectful, down-to-earth and fun individuals imaginable. There
      are bad eggs, but the entire genre doesn’t deserve to be painted with
      the same brush. Sexism and disrespectful behaviour occur within every
      subculture, music scene, tribe and group, after all. I just wish there
      was less of it in mine.”

      • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

        Again, as stated a few times, I’m commenting on this article, not the piece being linked to. 

  • Fred Durst
  • Amebix

    All of us women in heavy metal have experiences that are horrendous, and I think all women everywhere experience misogyny and sexism. The problem is that when this is materialized in heavy metal, it becomes amplified due to the small number of women. Another frustration is that it seems there is a lot of sexism that is perpetuated by women in the scene who take on this outsider status as if they are the only women who like metal. When you put on top of that unrealistic expectations in men – who think you aren’t worth your salt unless you’re literally more knowledgeable, a better musician, or more known than they are – it perpetuates a culture with unrealistic expectations that maligns women who haven’t ascended to incredible heights. This sounds odd, but expecting female fans/musicians to be like male fans/musicians creates far more kinship, as opposed to saying “well she is the only woman in the room so she better be dynamo or else I’ll think she is a groupie/girlfriend/poser/merch girl/etc.” That also becomes problematic for those of us who ARE girlfriends or merch girls: WE’RE FANS FIRST!

    • opiumwars

        I agree with this, word for word; it mirrors *some* of the experiences I’ve had at shows and discussing music.  It’s an irritating dichotomy — as a woman who is a fan of the metal genre, you’re either a clueless groupie who is focused on sexual validation or you’re a ‘legitimate’ fan who prefers to hang with the boys club.  Men who are metal fans aren’t fitted into these little boxes and aren’t obligated to pass these silly litmus tests.

        I’m not about to claim that majority of male metalheads feels or behaves towards women this way, but there does seem to be an unacknowledged implication that women musicians and fans have to prove themselves in ways that the men don’t.  Although I do see that changing for the better in the last twenty years. 

       There’s no doubt that some women musicians willingly help to perpetuate this kind of mindset (Hottest Chicks in Metal, or badmouthing other women at shows as groupies).  It’s another manifestation of how women are still being commodified based on their physical and sexual appeal and behavior, rather than their skills.      

  • cries of ‘Sexist!’ in 3-2-1…

    Taking the bait of a Sgt. D post at MetalSucks and basing an ultra-PC and not-very-original column around it is as good a gimmick as any, I guess – guaranteed to get everybody onside and towing the line, anyway – but it sure smacks of butthurt.

    Hey, want to celebrate women in metal as something other than the lunkheaded (and minority) ‘Hottest Chicks’ viewpoint? That’s wonderful, I’m sure 99.99999% of non-female metalheads are totally on board, because guess what? IT’S A NON-ISSUE. You want to do it because Sgt. D and some assholes on a MetalSucks comment board are a bunch of meanies? Toughen up, girl. You rage against any perceived inequality but the minute somebody gets all asshole you -sorry- go all girly. You want to be given the equal standing of men in a male-dominated subculture, but then when somebody says something you find offensive, you go all Pink Lego.

    It’s kind of like when a Nickelback song has to tell you ‘Hittin’ gurls is bad, m’kay?’ Seriously, it’s 2012, saying you are against sexism or misogyny or racism or homophobia or sizism or ableism (derp!) is about as vanguardista as stale white bread.

    As for them DO raise any kind of throat-clearing counterpoint, Satan
    forbid anyone have a dissenting opinion in the slightest, even from an entirely NON-sexist point of view, lest the army
    of Misogyny-finder Generals go marching out in full force, torches
    ablaze and pitchforks a-sharpened, cries of ‘Sexist!’ and ‘Misogynist!’ instead of ‘Heretic!’ and ‘Witch!’

    Guess what? There are always, ALWAYS going to be a tiny number of numbskulls in any subculture, who say incredibly dumb things. Luckily they are usually a very visible and noticeable minority within their first couple of beers. Take a tip and stay away from people like that, they’re called assholes.

    • Sarah

      yeah, you obviously are a white male if you think racism, sexism, and homophobia are non issues. The day you go out for a night of innocent fun at a concert, hearing lead singers say your genitals should be torn up and thrown away because you’re not worth shit. the day you have strangers copping feels and trying to pull your hair out, and degrade you as if you were a fucking whore when they don’t know you. the day that shit happens to you, i fucking dare you to come back to me and tell me misogyny a non issue, you ignorant fuck. Because all of the above happened to me two days ago.

      • jhan6120

        You’re doing EXACTLY what this guy just described, and you don’t even realize it. You’re accusing ANYONE who disagrees with you of being a ‘racist/sexist/’ etc. This is PC/liberal culture at it’s worst. The thought-policing is out of control. You don’t even understand what this dude is trying to say. You just knee-jerk your way into name-calling. Go put together a valid argument and stop your screeching already.

  • Dibshid

    Why are all the comments so strongly negative? I celebrate articles like this that smash stereotypes. Horns up to you Kim, keep on rocking in the free world.

    • http://twitter.com/MetalBusiness Metal Business

      But, this one doesn’t. 

  • Lindsey

    Oh sorry, because you and all your friends treat women like humans, that means all metalheads across america and the world must too!  I’ve been going to shows for a long time and there is still plenty of “you don’t really like this music do you?” and “where’s your boyfriend?” and ass grabbing and “do you really like X band or did your boyfriend buy you that shirt?” and “you’re just a groupie.”

    Just because you don’t experience it doesn’t mean there’s not plenty to go around.  

    • Lindsey

      The fact that there’s even debate about this shows that there is still sexism within the community.  Plenty of dudes don’t bat an eye when an article proclaims “reasons why women shouldn’t like metal” or anything like that, but because there’s a kickass woman merely pointing out that some sexism exists, people get all up in arms and accuse her of being whiny or girly or anything else.

  • Vomet

    We get it! You’re a girl. You like metal. You write about it. But if you want to shed the “dumb slut” routine, scrap the suicide girls-like photos to go along with your now goddamn viral manifesto. Enough. 

    • KK

      Shane picked the photo. It’s a snapshot a friend took while I was getting tattooed a few months ago.
      I’ve never seen a Suicide Girl in a Pentagram shirt – or any shirt at all, for that matter.

      • KK

        In addition, why do my looks peg me as a “dumb slut”?” I’m not dressed in revealing attire, slathered in makeup (I’m not even wearing any, and rarely do). That’s what my face looks like. I’m sorry if you don’t like it.

        • Vomet

          LAYING ON YOUR BACK. DREAMY EYED. PIGTAILS. FACEBOOK PROFILE PIC. STATUS: METAL. OOOOH. PLEASE. 

          • KK

            I was getting a needle dug into my hip. You’re reeeeeallly reading a lot into a snapshot, brah.

          • Vomet

            PIERCINGS! METAL. LOL. 

          • Vomet Translator

            “Metal is a boys club. Waaah!”

      • KK

        In addition, why do my looks peg me as a “dumb slut”?” I’m not dressed in revealing attire, slathered in makeup (I’m not even wearing any, and rarely do). That’s what my face looks like. I’m sorry if you don’t like it.

        • huntingpirates

          And also why does it matter what you look like or wear? Part of sexism is shaming “sluts” and women that don.t act “manly”. I wear plenty of frilly clothes, have a whole stash of Hello Kitty merch, wear makeup, etc, and I am still a “true” fan of metal. Why? Because I have passion for it. It’s a huge part of my life and I owe it so much. I’m not gonna let anyone tell me that I’m not a real fan because I dress how I want.

      • Vomet

        INKED UP. PENTAGRAM SHIRT. METAL. GOT IT. 

    • KK

      Shane picked the photo. It’s a snapshot a friend took while I was getting tattooed a few months ago.
      I’ve never seen a Suicide Girl in a Pentagram shirt – or any shirt at all, for that matter.

  • Vomet

    We get it! You’re a girl. You like metal. You write about it. But if you want to shed the “dumb slut” routine, scrap the suicide girls-like photos to go along with your now goddamn viral manifesto. Enough. 

  • coolpublicitybro

    Consider that the girl obsessively replying to comments runs a “PR firm”.  Bands, is this really the kind of publicity you want?

  • saddleburr

    male/female…i get it, you are basically 2 sides o’ the same worthless biological coin; at once at odds w/ the other, yet incapable o’ living w/o one another…so, you LUV metal.  get over it!  embrace it!  celebrate it!  move the FUK on beyond all the over-analyzing bullshit…and enjoy the sexual possibilities !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • saddleburr

    male/female…i get it, you are basically 2 sides o’ the same worthless biological coin; at once at odds w/ the other, yet incapable o’ living w/o one another…so, you LUV metal.  get over it!  embrace it!  celebrate it!  move the FUK on beyond all the over-analyzing bullshit…and enjoy the sexual possibilities !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rachelniehorster

    As a woman in a metal band, as a listener, I use my minority status as a tool for empowerment.

  • jhan6120

    In my experience, it’s mostly the old-school (as in late 30′s and up) metalheads who don’t like women in metal. I don’t think it’s because they’re sexist; I think they’re just dumb. As in ‘Heavy Metal Parking Lot’ dumb. They come from a different era, when metal was all about “Let’s party man!!” Picture Otto the bus driver from the Simpsons. I grew up in this era, which is why I strayed from metal for a long, long time. I actually came back to metal when there were a lot more women involved (musically and business-wise), and I think it’s pretty awesome.
    The old-schoolers DO NOT LIKE CHANGE. ANY kind of change. You’re dealing with a group of people who are stuck in 1985. Metal was a huge sausage party back then. You were lucky to have a ratio of 1 woman to every 5000 men. Old-schoolers still harbor a grudge about the lack of women in their scene compared to other music scenes, and they tend to take it out on women, IMO. Whenever an old-schooler goes to a new-type metal show and sees a crowd of like 30% women, they’re absolutely STUNNED. I was even stunned when I saw the amount of women at an Opeth/Mastodon show. But I was stunned in a good way. After all, women make up 50% of the population. From a musician’s perspective, the more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned. A woman’s money is as green as anyone else’s ;-)
    It’s also about genre. I like lots of different music, such as old-school Motown. Half the stars in Motown were FEMALE. I’m used to women in music, so it’s not a shock to me. If you look at the contemporary classical music scene, a huge amount of the best known performers are women. And then there’s Esperanza Spalding, a mid-20′s jazz bassist and vocalist who’s taken the jazz world by storm over the past few years and beat Justin Bieber out for a new-artist Grammy. One needs to step outside of metal for a bit and get a perspective on things. And look at country music. Easily – half the stars are female. It’s the AGGRESSIVE forms of music that women don’t like so much. And that’s THEIR decision. There’s no sign that says ‘No Women Allowed.’ So I wouldn’t go too far with the ‘sexism’ thing. We all make our own decisions. If you really ARE a metal fan, then you believe in things like INDIVIDUALISM and FREEDOM OF WILL. You can’t blame everything on external influence.
    Here’s the reality: females don’t like metal as much as men. In the aggregate, metal is just too aggressive sounding and/or technical for most women, and you can’t dance to it. In a sonic sense, metal is a MALE genre. Women have a different relation to music – in a BIOLOGICAL and EMOTIONAL sense. Not all women, but MOST women. If women – as a whole – liked metal more, more of them would listen to it. You can’t hold a gun to people’s heads and force them to like something they don’t. If more women liked metal, more women would BE IN METAL, and they would find a way to do it, come hell or high water.
    This is the point where I tell women to STOP WHINING. If you like metal, then LIKE IT. If you want to PLAY METAL, then just DO IT!! If you’re a thirteen year old girl who wants to play metal guitar, go down to the nearest Guitar Center and grab a guitar and DO IT. No one there is gonna try and stop you. If you think there really IS sexism, then break the mold and show people how it’s done. There is NO GLASS CEILING. Screw what people think. The world is WIDE OPEN.
    And don’t expect nuanced thought from metal-dudes. By and large, it’s not there.