Freitag, 12. Oktober 2012

True Story

Some things play(ed) such a major role in my life that I honestly couldn't imagine who I would have ended up being without them. One of these things is metal music. I got into it when I was 13 or 14 (which seems to be the typical starting age, at least for German metalheads) but I was 17 when I found my first female friends within the scene and even that probably wouldn't have happened without the internet. So that means it took over three years. Three years during which I didn't encounter one girl who wasn't either at the concert because her boyfriend was there or was impatiently waiting for the goth-band that was supposed to play later. How did that happen?

It's not as if women weren't welcomed to the scene. They are. Just not always in a way that accepts them as actual human beings. As a women, especially as a young and pretty one, you don't need to lift a finger at a festival. Guys will fall over themselves to bring you a beer, there's no need to bring your one cigarettes, even if you don't spend all day at the Schwarzer Krauser's tent (does that still exist btw?), you'll get a coat when it's getting cooler and a stranger might give up his place in the first row for you just because you have a cute smile. All that stuff has happened to me. Also, I got bitten in the butt once. This subculture is a mix of fairly normal men on the one hand and knighthood-sexists and misogynists on the other. This makes for a weird but actually very traditional perception of women: Weak sex objects. And that's exactly how you're being treated. Now how do I know that all those guys except for the butt-biting one weren't just being nice? Easy: I talk to guys every now and then. One of them, whom I consider rather decent despite him being a die-hard Manowar fan, put it in pretty simple terms: "If you want to fuck, you've got to be nice."

Then there's that whole thing about sexism in lyrics, videos, artwork, etc. blabla. Do I really need to expand on that? It's not only offensive, it is so common in metal that I'm actually bored to death by it.

I also remember an April Fool's joke by In Legend. They put up a picture of the singer and main songwriter with two girls instead of the other two (male) band members, stating that they've changed the line-up and the new members might not be good musicians but at least they are pretty. Could you be any more clear about women's alleged lack of musical talent and competence?

If you want to be accepted as a true metalhead (and being true is vital ^^) you have to prove yourself. As a girl or woman even more, otherwise you won't be taken serious as a member of the scene and will be seen as a fake or a groupie. It is not impossible to reach that "full-membership-status" but it is harder for women. And yes, never be a groupie! Groupies aren't real fans!

There is also a kind of critique that I can't agree with though. The one that says that metal is not interesting to women because of all the "masculine" behaviour and rituals. Maybe that does putt some women of but to 14 year old (not exactly gender conforming) me, it seemed like paradise. This scene was the one place where I was accepted exactly for not being girly but for being loud, unkempt, good at headbanging and completely nuts about the music. It was my safe haven and I wouldn't want to deprive any 14 year old girl who sucks at putting on eyeliner of having that too. (Besides, I'm not entirely sure whether I like the idea that women don't like all that stuff. No actually, I am. I don't like it. I think it's bullsit.) Then again, it is a bit strange, to put it carefully, that you have to become one of the guys to be accepted. But that's a topic for another time really.
In my experience, once you've proven your trueness, gender becomes rather irrelevant on a personal level. It doesn't change the overall sexism and the fact that while the men around you may respect you, they don't necessarily respect women in general. Still, there is this aspect that can make metal an empowering experience for women, at least to a certain extend. If you're not careful, you might end up spreading the same sexism as your mates, though.

Now after all that talk, here's some music. One of my favourite all-female metalbands. Enjoy. =)

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