Thrash Hits

March 8th, 2013

Top 6: Ways metal treats women really badly

Huntress promo photo Thrash Hits

As it’s International Women’s Day, we thought we’d do something to celebrate. Rather than do some regressive piece about tits, we did a top 6 of the ways heavy metal is rubbish towards women. Can we stop these, please?

Top 6 ways heavy metal treats women really fucking badly

1) The term “female-fronted metal”
Yes, because all bands with women singers sound exactly the fucking same. Cerebral Bore and Kylesa and Nightwish and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult are completely the same thing. And because it would be totally acceptable to call Disturbed “Jewish-fronted metal” and Suffocation “black guitaristed death metal”. Wait, what?

2) Assume if you’re not dressed like you’re metal that you’re only there with your boyfriend.
If you see a woman at a metal gig who’s not wearing “the uniform”, chances are some prick is about to ask her if she knows who the band is. Despite the fact she was probably already listening to Dissection while he was still working out how to spell Megadeth probably, and knows more about Devourment than he ever will.

3) “Hottest women in metal” awards/features/specials
SRSLY? In 2013, these still exist? Fuck’s sake…

4) “She’s really good… for a girl”
Yes, clearly a vagina is a crippling inhibition for musical aptitude. You never get really talented musicians without Y-chromosomes. Apart from all of Girlschool. And Grace Perry, formerly of Landmine Marathon. And Leah from Aliases. And Jo from Bolt Thrower. And Jaqueline du Pré. And Maria Callas. And Diamanda Galás. And Tori Amos. And fucking millions of others. Meanwhile, male musicians include Jared Leto, Chris Barnes, Justin Bieber, and the members of Keane and Venom.

Grace Perry singing in Landmine Marathon. Brutal.

5) Groping
If some random guy pinched your arse hard enough to leave a bruise or slipped his hand down your jeans to squeeze your balls too hard while you were watching Slayer, you’d probably punch him, irrespective of your sexual orientation. Yet every metal-loving woman will tell a hundred stories about being poked, prodded, fondled and generally harassed in all sorts of shitty ways.

6) Hot girl in band gets asked to do ALL the interviews
“Oh, there’s a girl in the band? Can we talk to her? We don’t care that she’s incredibly talented, or that the band are a team of creative minds, or that the guy in the band give much better quotes, we just want to talk to the one who the virginal teenage boys will fancy.” Oh brother…


  • anonymous

    I don’t know what sort of magazine this is, or who wrote this article, but it’s appalling. I’m going to address all of your points one by one.

    1) Because females so rarely front metal bands by comparison to males, it is identified to set it aside as something different or intriguing. Much in the same way as a previously female dominated profession such as nursing used to, and still to this day often, identify ‘male nurses’ as exactly that. It’s such a sweeping generalisation to imply that this is some sort of a derogatory statement by all male metal-heads that you yourselves have actually made a derogatory statement about not only the men but the women…

    2) The fact that deep within metal culture there is, as you’ve identified, ‘a uniform’ as such means that often, no matter what gender someone is, if they’re not dressed in a certain way or fit a certain appearance then they will be assumed not to be interested in the genre. I’m sure as many guys who date girls, who may or may not front a metal band, and aren’t in to metal, or dress like they are, but turn up to gigs with them get questioned as much. At the end of it all, it’s a question, not discrimination on part of gender.

    3) Do I even have to talk about this? I welcome you to find as many attractive men in metal as you do women, worthy of creating some sort of ‘sexiest man of metal’ countdown…

    4) The “she’s really good for a girl statement” exists almost exclusively to talk about their screamo. If they had 2 sets of vocal chords like men they’d do just as good a job much more easily, but the anatomy of women unfortunately didn’t side with them when it came to gutturals, not that there aren’t a few who can do it just as well, but it takes a bit more for them to achieve it.

    5) This I can’t argue. There are a lot of dickheads in this world and nearly all of them go to metal gigs to grope women, true facts… COME ON! Whilst these guys exist at gigs and there’ll always be at least one, it’s not confined to metal by any stretch of the imagination. This belongs in the “Top 6: Ways gigs treat women” not metal.

    6) This one is basic marketing, and isn’t confined to metal nor music. I don’t know what you want me to say apart from men are more susceptible to an attractive lady than a bearded man, and as a more male dominated genre like metal the marketing guys are only doing their jobs. Sorry.

    • Tom Doyle

      Are you a boy? Just a question.

      • More to the point, a straight boy. I’ve got a list. Oh yes.

    • Raz


    • killjoymd

      OMG! I have never seen someone completely destroy an article like anonymous just did! This made my day!

    • This is what happens when you let a man with too much time near the internet.

    • anonymous is dumb

      Seeing as you think that any human has two sets of vocal cords, let alone only men, you are clearly an ill-informed imbecile whose opinions should be disregarded. Vocal “cords” are actually multiple folds of membrane, and every single human being alive has more than one set of membrane folds in their throat. Some people can train themselves to use more set of membranes, but it has roughly 0% to do with gender. You are dumb, and clearly a man.

      • xhearingxcolorsx

        I was going to mention the vocal folds. Hah. But I do agree with everything else he/she said.

      • Lüke Hellwÿck

        Yes, thanks for saying “all men are dumb”, clearly a fucking feminist

      • Nastja Bellizist

        She/he did’t say that all men are dumb, but pointed out that he is probably a man. Because a woman who made her experiences in the metal scene would not deny that these things exist.

    • Jen

      I am a female musician (not really metal) who’s studied at Berklee College of Music and played in many bands, guitar and bass. The compliments I get from men are almost always backhanded “geez you were really good (which I wasn’t expecting because your a girl) bullshit.

    • jesus christ shut up

    • me

      I commend you sir/madam, this is clearly an angry rant and you’ve shown its a stereotype.

      The only thing I would add (my 2 cents) is and end note but if whoever wrote this thinks metal is bad just glance at the gaming industry…

    • MillaBeans

      Wow, this is beautifully awful. You seem to have misunderstood nearly all the statements made here. Well done !! It’s almost as if you took the article really personally – which only implies you might follow some of these ‘traditions’, which is kind of sad. I hardly post things like this but you’ve got me feeling mighty generous. For those not interested in reading a rebuttal, please stop here …

      1. Using ‘female-fronted’ metal is a genre-generalisation. It is. Because they would sound nothing like another female fronted Band. Selling your band as having chicks in it isn’t the problem (see female-fronted BAND, not METAL), the problem is people putting all these bands with chicks in them under the same genre category PURELY because they have chicks in them.
      2. No one would go up to the guy in a plain shirt and shorts at a TooL gig and ask him if he “even likes TooL”. So why would you go up to the girl in her favorite blue top and shorts and ask her if she “knows the band, or something”. No, she just loves spending stupid amounts of money going to gigs she hates. Of damn course she knows the band, chances are SHE LOVES THEM. She came to see them live, didn’t she ?? In this case, Mr. Anonymous, yes it is more than a question – its called an implication.
      3. There are heaps of handsome, bearded men in metal – not gonna lie, I like looking at them. And there are many, many beautiful ladies as well. The argument the article is making is pointing out how every. Damn. Year, another magazine will put out an article ‘comparing’ and ‘ranking’ all these lovely ladies. And the same magazine will briefly touch on the subject of a handful of aesthetically-pleasing men, who usually aren’t ranked and debated for positions – just named and photographed (with an astoundingly larger amount of clothes than the women, sometimes).
      4. Maybe you apply this to scremo. Maybe I wont go into the painful detail to which this statement has been used on nearly every female musician I know and work with. It sucks, really. But even linking it to scremo – so you dont like how chicks growl ?? Maybe you’d like it more if you didn;t compare it to how some guys growl ?? Consider how many shitty male-‘vocalists’ try and growl. As for the vocal chord statement; I don’t really know where to start with that one. That feels a little like saying chicks can’t hold guitars properly cause they have breasts. They can hold guitars (as well as know …) and they CAN growl. its not growling “for a girl”. You wouldn’t say “hes good at growling … for a guy.” You’d just say he’s good at what he does with what he has. The statement should NOT include gender because gender doesn’t change musical ability.
      5. Just a quick one here. Article did not once say this was only metal. it did say, however, that it applies to metal and it’s still pretty shitty a thing to do to anyone. Rubbing up on someone at a gig shouldn’t be part of gigs. Especially not a genre that prides itself on being intellectual and accepting.
      6. I’ve had a similar thing happen to me on several occasions. Being asked to partake in interviews without the rest of your band is, above most things, AWKWARD. Especially if you’re the only girl. But gender aside, why not grab two of the members ?? I can understand not having time or space for all 6 of the musicians in a death metal ensemble, but really ?? You have enough room for the lady, you have enough room for at least one of her band mates. Don’t leave her hanging off her every word, making sure she’s keeping up with all their dates and not saying anything out of context. It’s not about gender – again – it’s about respect for the band and their audience.

  • Megatherion

    Anonymous has hit the nail on the head. Thanks you for shooting down this fatuous nonsense.

  • E

    Yeh, really, utter horse shit

  • Yep what that guy said. At the risk of being sexist against men by using a male body part to describe something in a derogatory manner – this article is balls.

  • Alex

    I pretty much agree 100% to everything in this article. Its so hard for female fronted bands to get places since they are all stuffed into one category. Who is the band in the picture at the top?

  • I and a lot of other women are trying to use the term “female fronted metal” as nothing more than an indication that there is a chick singing. Sometimes, people like female voices. The genres could be completely different, and thank goodness we all don’t sound the same, but when describing a band sometimes people want to know these things. So in our case, we’re a “four piece female-fronted heavy metal band”. I’d like to add that I do not wear a goth tutu on stage, just to clarify.

    • Teru

      This. Sometimes I’m like “Hey, I’d like to hear some female vocals with my metal”, so I look up bands tagged with that. I’m not sure why you’d assume it’s implying they all sound the same; it’s just a category for people to find specific music easier.

    • 300bpm

      Good point. As human beings, we need to come up with generalized concepts about things in order to comprehend ANYTHING. This is a hard concept for people to grasp, since our culture has become so politically correct. If a person gets annoyed at what you’re saying, they can just accuse you of ‘generalizing’ to try and shut you up. As if having a generalized concept of anything is in indicator of prejudice. In the real world, it’s called establishing a baseline so that people know what the hell you’re talking about 😉

      In the end, though, male or female doesn’t matter. What matters is whether or not your band is GOOD. A pretty face or some lace underwear isn’t gonna change a bad band into a good band. Look at the Pretty Reckless. Taylor Momsen is hot, but they suck ass. I wouldn’t pay to see them no matter who was in the band.

  • Oam

    I think #2 isn’t really specific to women (I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of dudes that look out of place and wondered why the hell they were there), and #5 is a problem at all shows, not just metal. I’ve thankfully never had #5 happen to me. So far, I’ve only ever met nice people at metal shows.

    #1 already covered pretty well in previous comments. The term doesn’t mean anything other than what it exactly says: a female fronts this metal band. There’s nothing to get angry or annoyed about there.

    #3: The problem with this is that it seems more to be that by hottest they mean ‘wearing the least clothing’. It’d bother me less if there were also Hottest Men in Metal awards/features just as often. Celebrate good looking people in both genders!

    I know you wanted to write an article for Women’s day, but most of these things aren’t really even specific to metal, and for the most part aren’t huge issues (except the groping thing cause that’s not okay to do to either gender). Thanks for trying, though.

  • anonymous

    Who wrote this bullshit? Seriously

  • FireBird

    Perhaps because you’re not female, you wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the treatment you claim isn’t there. Well it is, which is why articles like this are written. The ‘good for a girl’ attitude is so overt and undeniable and occurs in every aspect of the rock/metal scene, and most other walks of life. If you can’t see this, then congratulations on having the luxury to be blissfully unaware of your own privilege. We’re not going ignore this oppressive sexism so you can be comfortable in your bigotries that you may not even know you have.

  • Judas Coyne

    Anonymous totally destroyed this cacky article.

  • andrea

    i (male metalhead) could have written this, i completely agree! and i love a lot of metal bands with women singing/playing different styles, both modern, older and oldest bands 🙂 especially the 1st and 4th points stand out i believe. maybe the weakest point is the 3rd one because i think most women doing that enjoy it a lot and there’s no need to take everything that seriously – moreover, let’s not forget that the display of a pair of tits equals that of muscles, studded axes, leather and so on from the male side, it’s just a matter of look, attitude, promotion, etc. AS LONG AS THE MUSIC KICKS ASS both men and women can go like they fuckin want, for me! (great example the little, young speed metal goddess demona who owns also a clothing line). good article man!

  • oh god, you live in medieval times, you do not know anything about women, writing it for the whole world to read/learn. Incredible how males can be such cocksuckers with no brain at all, discriminating people because of their sex, eye color, skin tone, whatever!! You won’t believe how it’s disgustingly horrible you post your thoughts out for everything to read, and you are proud of what you should be ashamed of. Gojerk off looking in a mirror, maybe you’ll feel better and more macho man, and won’t have to trash females. Females laugh at those like you, you’re Beavis, maybe Butt-head, and of course, a virgin with sperm toxicosis. Though no, you are Cartman, yeah. good luck luring fags to blow you for 10 dollars, you definitely feel like a real man.

  • Britt Perkins

    I would love to know the name of whoever wrote this. It may be an act of social suicide to say this, but I LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Haters can kiss my feminist metal ass.
    Please someone tell me who wrote this.

  • Serena Cherry

    Thank you for writing this article.

    I have hated the self-assignment of the term ‘female-fronted metal’ by women in bands for a long time – you don’t sing from the lips of your vagina, so don’t advertise the fact that you have one as if it makes some sort of difference to the music.

    Why make a highlight out of your own gender, as if it’s some sort of novel selling point? The bands who draw attention to the fact that they have female members are usually the ones with the worst music too. It’s like an overweight, unkempt poodle entering Crufts and saying that it represents the entire breed.

    These poodles are letting the side down! Kylesa, Ambulance, WolfXDown, Broken Oath, Madder Mortem don’t feel the desperate need to mention they have females in the band, and they are all amazing bands in their own respects. I wish more bands could have this ‘it shouldn’t, and doesn’t matter’ approach.

    I am a female who sings and plays guitar in a band, and most times I turn up to play gigs I get treated as though I am the tag along girlfriend. Sound engineers don’t give me a mic, don’t acknowledge how much I’d like to hear myself in the monitor. They treat the guys in the band with noticeably more respect.

    Then after we’ve played, they tell me that I’m “pretty good for a girl” as if my gender automatically lowered their expectations of the band before they heard us. (Thanks to Kittie, My Ruin, Coal Chamber, Sugarcoma, Halestorm…)

    ‘Hottest Women in Metal’ awards imply that musical talent/creativity is less appreciated than looks – but, most of the women who feature in these polls do play up to notion of being a ‘sex symbol’; by doing photo shoots all dolled up in make and and sexy clothes; standing 5 feet in front of all other band members and pouting. (A few named culprits – Christina Scabbia / Angela Gossow / In This Moment / Bleeding Through / Paramore) I can’t wear such heels, low cut tops or make up when I’m playing because I sweat it off, fall over, or show too much cleavage on stage – so why would I then put these clothes on for a band photo shoot? It doesn’t represent what it’s like to actually see the band, so why is it necessary to get so made up for band images? It’s as if they would rather people look at the band than listen to them.

    When Tara Turunen got booted out of Nightwish, the band made a list of requirements in the search for their new singer. Top of their list was “must be attractive/photogenic” – what a disappointing thing to prioritise in a supposedly ‘alternative’ genre of music. They ended up getting a pretty girl who was pretty rubbish on the mic – and have since declined in popularity.

    • rich

      as long as a lot of women in metal wear nothing but gaffer tape over their nipples for attention i think the sexism will stay.

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  • Fredrika B

    Great article!!

  • Enric Martinez

    If a girl got fondled here in my country she would certainly hit back. And I wouldn’t mess with the chicks nowadays. And they guy would be kicked out of the venue immediately. I don’t know what country the author is from… or what kind of metal he is referring too, in extreme metal. But that’s maybe the key, I see too many references to Metallica and Babymetal, bieng that one of hte bands is modern rock and the other pure shit I don’t think that what you call “metal” and what I call metal is the same. Just to get a point of reference: Have you ever heard a band called “Teitanblood” (it doesnt’ matter if you really have)? Well, that’s Metal, bands like Guns and Roses, Slipknot or Insane Clown Posse are NOT metal.

    Regarding the “hottest” list: You don’t seem to have too much contact with women, do you? Do you know that heterosexual and bisexual women actually find males attractive? Have you ever thought about that? Never heard a girl saying “What a butt, I would totally ? Well, they do it, I swear it. I would recommend that you go out from time to time to meet the opposite sex (it that’s what you fancy, of course). Here:

    Regarding Female Fronted… that’s not a style, that’s an way of describing a particular feature of a band, as if you had a “Clean Vocals Death Metal” band. And in the last time a “Female Fronted” band normally means a goth metal band with female singer. It’s the first time that I hear that DNSC is called “Female Fronted”. Have you ever heart aobut a “Female Drummed band”? I bet not, and a “Female bassed” one? And what about a “Female Guitarred” one? And that’s more rare than a female singer. And yet, there are bands like Blackplague, Bolt Thrower and Electric Wizard.

    • Lüke Hellwÿck

      Erm… when were ICP ever considered metal?

      • Enric Martinez

        I was talking about “Female Bassed”, “Female Guitarred” and “Female Drummed” LOL. and I bet that in the Folk Metal scene “Female Bagpiped” bands are not an exception, (no sexual pun intended).

        In any case, examples of “Female fronted” DM bands (not my cup of tea) aren’t difficutl to be found either, there you got Arch Enemy for instance or (this one I LOVE) Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult.

  • 300bpm

    What I find is that with a lot of these ‘symphonic’ metal bands, there are a lot of nice looking female singers who don’t really sing that well. They’re just putting a pretty face up front because it’s nice to look at. This happens a lot in my ‘local’ scene. That only goes so far, because, in the end, metal is all about the PERFORMANCE. It all comes down to how well you can execute. Now, having said that, there are female vocalists who really rock, like Sarah Squadrini from Ancient Bards, or Floor Jansen in anything she’s done. Anyone who has seen Tarja Turunen (with Nightwish or on her own) can’t deny that she’s one hell of a performer. As far as musicians . . . there’s Lori Linstruth, one of my favorite guitarists. She’s a bit of a recluse, which is a shame, because she’s AMAZING.

    But really, I think a lot of bands do the female-fronted thing because it’s BUSINESS. People like to look at attractive people, and putting an attractive woman up front increases the probability that people will come pay to see you. Sex sells. Always has, always will. Shit . . . the only reason hoards of teenage girls like emo bands is because there are ‘cute boys’ in them. As a musician over the age of 40, I would never be asked to be in one of these bands, because I’M TOO OLD. I’m not marketable to 17 year old girls. But that doesn’t bother me. It’s just BUSINESS. (Playing emo wouldn’t be my first choice, but a paycheck is a paycheck.)

    People forget that. It’s called the music ‘BUSINESS.’ A professional band plays FOR MONEY. Would an unattractive female singer draw people? Not nearly as much as an attractive female singer. HOWEVER . . . in the metal world, if the vocalist can’t perform, it doesn’t matter what she looks like. Metal is a ruthless genre in that way, and that’s a good thing.

    A universal truism – which I generally find to be accurate – is that chicks really don’t dig metal all that much because you CAN’T DANCE TO IT. That’s why you WILL see a lot of females at punk shows – because – depending on the band – it’s more a ‘danceable’ kind of music, with lots of sing-alongs, etc. Last time I saw Rancid, the crows was EASILY half female. And speaking of punk, I loved the Distillers, and I was pretty bummed when Brody Dale quit to do that stupid Spinerettes things.

    And what about Joan Jett? Who doesn’t like her??

    This is a funny issue for metalheads anyway, since metalheads basically hate EVERYTHING 😉 This is especially true of the old guard here in the States. They hate change to begin with, and when you throw female performers into the mix, they really go off the rails. They just can’t process it. They’re not an adventurous crowd.

    Women, by and large, just don’t like metal all that much, which is why you don’t see a lot of women PLAYING metal. But if you go into the other genres, HALF THE STARS ARE FEMALE. Look at country, or ‘indie,’ or any kind of pop music. Taylor Swift is currently the highest earning performer in the world. Her last tour grossed 150 MILLION. Why? Because she writes music for average 12-18 year old girls, and there’s a SHITLOAD of average 12-18 year old girls in the world.

    F.Y.I, in the contemporary ‘classical’ guitar world, women are very prominent. Guitarists like Anna Vidovic are rockstars. Anna’s pretty, but she also plays like Andres Segovia, which is why she’s famous. In that world, LOOKS AREN’T ENOUGH. If you can’t play Bach, you’re out.

    And look at country; if you ask any long-time country fan to name five of their favorite country legends, there’ll be at least 2 women on that list. Regardless of what kind of music you like or don’t like, EVERYONE knows who Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette are. Emmylou Harris is more famous than she’s EVER been, and she’s in her 60’s!!

    As my indie-rock buddy said: ‘Metal is dude music.’ Even most of the female metal fans I know secretly listen to dance music or some other pop – BECAUSE YOU CAN DANCE TO IT. But metal is a dude landscape essentially because it’s a very male kind of music to begin with, on an EMOTIONAL level.

    Again, this is a funny question to ask people who essentially HATE 99% of the music in the world 😉 I say that good-naturedly, having been a long-time metal fan myslef.

  • Alexander Nillesen

    I have never seen anything like this…It’s probably just the country you live which i guess is America. The country where i live, this rarely happens, especially (5.

    Don’t know for sure, since ive never been in a gig outside of Europe but i think metal gigs there, are different than the ones i go to.

    I problably get a shit storm all over me now, but i mean this sincerly. Not trying to put anyone down.

  • truthseeker

    hey but it’s all cool whatever baby butcher’s do so long as ‘big shot’ devita gets paid…HAHAHAHAAHAHA what a bunch of clown ass idiots..a dead scene run by sad old men

  • Draconic Knight

    I am a female. My husband is well known in the metal scene. I have never been treated wrongly or differently than any other friend by them. They are all nice to me and talk to me openly, and also respect me. Idk who you are, but you are clearly insane. It’s just as the guy below me says. I am more concerned with today’s pop and rap… which says and shows women can’t write anything non sexual or dress fully and be successful. Or women are just bitches to fuck. You are clearly off in the head.

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  • Get your SJW out of my metal!!

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