This chapter focuses on the problematic relationship between heavy metal and gender politics. While metal may be deemed as being an ‘alternative’ subculture, metal still ‘uses’ women in the same way as ‘normal’ society. Despite the nature of metal as counterculture, women’s images and morality are often inverted but not subverted and it is this nuance that we wish to explore: for example, the use of Mary, Mother of God, in ‘Amen’ by black metal band Behemoth, where though her image is a challenge to convention, she is still ‘used’ as emblems for male political ideology. In the textuality of heavy metal music, women appear as mothers (both good and bad), fetishised whores, mother earth and sexualised virgins. Where modern open sexuality is ‘praised’, anything less so is mocked. Though this ‘praise’ may come across as positive, it is nevertheless still ascribing morality/immorality/virtue to women’s bodies in a way that is not done with men. In this discussion, we will use examples of texts from metal bands who reference women, imagery associated with band merchandise as well as comments from the performers themselves (such as Dee Snider’s approval of the lyrics of ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ being associated with the Women’s March on Washington) to investigate the place of the female body in this cultural representation. By using textual critical analysis, we show that women in metal are still having morality written on their bodies, bringing to light the debatable nature of metal being deemed as ‘alternative’ when it comes to gender.
DiGioia, A. and Davis, C.N. (2018), "Cursed is the Fruit of thy Womb: Inversion/Subversion and the Inscribing of Morality on Women’s Bodies in Heavy Metal", Holland, S. and Spracklen, K. (Ed.) Subcultures, Bodies and Spaces: Essays on Alternativity and Marginalization (Emerald Studies in Alternativity and Marginalization), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 27-42. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78756-511-120181004Download as .RIS
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