Since I love heavy music and hate sexism you can anticipate excessive displeasure on my part when the two things converge. Females are so often excluded from metal mags or, on the flip side, are over sexualized so to attract audiences. There are times that I become enraged by metal magazines, when words read like the comments of a horny teenager and for those tedious ‘hot lists’ – usually a redundant countdown of physically ‘attractive’ front-women of not-so-commendable bands.
A musician’s physical appearance (male or female) should not be a factor that influences the level of coverage that they or their band receive in publications focused on music, especially metal.
Which brings me to the news that US magazine Decibel will be releasing a special issue entitled ‘Women in Metal’. Here is what a spokesperson for the magazine had to say (as reported by Metal Injection):
From Queen Latifah to Bikini Kill to, um, Spice Girls, feminism has gone through some interesting permutations in popular music. Metal’s perspective on the matter usually manifests in shrugged-off indifference, spiked with occasional lunkhead leering (from fans and publications). Until now, Decibel has simply covered women in extreme music with the same gender-inconsequential praise and respect we bestow upon the guys. But their journeys to equality are substantially more arduous, whether the endgame is publicity, management or shredding onstage.
So it’s high time somebody devoted a huge mess of pages to their stories, without requiring that the subjects take their clothes off. That’s what you’ll get in Decibel‘s Women in Metal issue, in which we interviewed over 70 ladies of the underground for their unique perspectives, with members of Kylesa, Royal Thunder and Cretin gracing the cover, and Electric Wizard delivering an exclusive track on the flexi disc. It’s in the webstore now – pick it up before it hits newsstands and learn what happened when these women kicked the hornets’ nest.
I’m pleased to see that more publications dealing with extreme music are promoting gender equality through coverage of talented female musicians and providing the respect they deserve for their contribution to metal. Terrorizer magazine compiled something similar in February. Their ‘Wicked Women’ feature included background summaries and interviews with female musicians in modern-day metal, such as Cerebral Bore’s Simone ‘Som’ Pluijmers.
Of course it’s certainly a positive thing that magazines like Decibel and Terrorizer are making a point of promoting female ability in metal and for that I commend these publications. But when special features and issues like this aren’t needed or specially designated; when female musicians regularly occupy the covers and homepages of all popular metal media without being objectified, then equality may be accomplished.