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ALISA ZYKOVA

CM 251 Research Paper

Prejudice within a Music Culture

Metal music has hundreds of thousands of fans around the globe; fans whose adoration for the

music has integrated them into a cultural context that exists outside everyday mundanity and

"normal" society. By being a part of this multiplex musical culture, the individual is integrated

into a world that is frequently perceived as one of "outsiders", with a social structure so

confounding that it is not always easy to comprehend the mechanism behind it. What is

particularly perplexing is the existence of prejudice and exclusion within this so-called excluded

musical scene.

Subcultures integrate a group of people whose participation is linked through common beliefs or

behaviours, subsequently defining individual lifestyles, actions and events. Subcultures work

with notions of collectivity and belonging to a particular group. Metal music has spawned a

social hull around itself, which is rarely permeable to the outside world. The outcome of this

metal subculture is a collective personality which is heterogeneous. Collective personality can be

a difficult term to utilise in this case, because one always stumbles upon a gap of sorts.

As with any social group, the metal world has its own stereotypes. The most predominant

stereotype in this case is that the typical member of this subculture or scene is male, white and

heterosexual. Of course, this is not just restricted to this social group, seeing as in society in

general, the same sexism, racism and homophobia may be present. Stereotyping fosters the
construction of "minorities", since individuals who do not belong to the category "male", "white"

and "heterosexual". An online forum discussion about minorities in metal generated the following

responses:

Ross-H-:

Why is Reggie, dub, Jah, blues + jazz mainly black folk?

Metal basically stemmed from 50's rock and roll which stemmed from blues and that’s damn

black!, black enough to go way back to Africa, I cant remember what the tribes people are called

but the blues even comes from the Sarah region in N. Africa were the tribes people still play a

beautiful style of music that uses the blues scale, they were involved in the horrible slave trade of

17th+18th century so that how it got passed on to the deep south USA etc, I saw it on 'Ends of the

earth' on discovery channel...

And the term heavy metal came from a journalist describing JIMI HENDIX’s music (who was

black btw) as a sheet of heavy metal crashing on the ground.

The local scene, well its Scotland so most of us are white, simple

Go over the pond and u got Body count, HEDpe etc...

as far as today's metal is concerned I’ve always said just coz its popular doesn’t mean its fuckin

good, only suits in offices decide what 'good' and what’s good enough to 'win' kerrang awards.

And the whole sex type too,

Mostly guys!

it really bugs me when a band with a female gets a gig and the first question is "Is she hot?"

Does it even fuckin matter!!! U HEAR music, you don’t bloody SEE it, that’s for those tits who

are into pop, when they decide to buy a CD depending if the people playing the music are nice

looking or not.

were better than that for fucks sake


The Animal:

Fuck all the prejudicies, who wants to 'fit in ' these days? . If you like the music thats all that

matters. You dont have to dress or act in a manor that apparently relates to a specific genre. And

age , gender, colour is not directly linked to music as such.

(http://www.edinburghmetalscene.co.uk/showthread.php?t=12193)

Before moving further into the subject matter, it is necessary to describe the music itself. 'Heavy

metal' as a term is used to refer to bands such as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, as well as a

general musical style. This style mixes a distorted guitar sound and often dire lyrics. Dating back

to the late 1960's and the early 1970's, 'heavy metal' was established as a result of the wish of

certain blues-influenced musicians to create a style of their own, adding Rock 'n Roll into the

compositions. The simplest line-up for a heavy metal band features a bassist, a drummer, a

guitarist and a singer, even though modern groups experiment with keyboards and other

instruments such as the flute or the violin.

In general, the characteristic sound which governs most heavy metal bands revolves around the

compositions created with drums and guitars. It is common to hear distorted guitars and intense

vocals, at times accompanied by guitar solos. It was during the 1980's that metal began to divide

into subgenres, such as speed metal, thrash metal, death metal, black metal, doom metal, gothic

metal, and power metal. Glam metal, or "hair metal", is another sub-division of heavy metal,

which is a style attributed to bands such as Twisted Sister and KISS, having been born in the

1970's and developing throughout the 1980's. The extreme metal scene, which takes heavy metal

a step further into the category of "outsiders" and "incomprehensible noise", has created certain
barriers, when speaking about who is meant to listen to what bands, and who is able to play in

bands and who is not. These barriers are defined though concepts of ethnicity and race, sexual

orientation and gender.

Initially, the music was seen as "distasteful" and there were continuous links between the music

and devil-worship, violence and a multitude of other negative connotations. However, as the

1980's progressed, heavy metal became more popular, as bands like Whitesnake, Bon Jovi and

Mötley Crüe entered the musical mainstream and MTV's "Headbanger's Ballroom" was created,

playing numerous heavy metal videos on television (Walser, pg. 12-13). As previously

mentioned, the musical style can be traced back to African-American blues, yet this is not always

brought to the surface. The history of 'heavy metal' is commonly thought to have begun at the

point of "white dominance", when blues music was metmorphosed (Walser, pg. 8-9). It seems as

though metal's roots in blues music were disregarded, and not always acknowledged. Robert

Walser writes that, "because heavy metal threatened to antagonize demographically targeted

audiences, metal bands received virtually no radio airplay, and they had to support their album

releases by constant touring, playing to an audience that was mostly young, white, male and

working class" (Walser, pg. 3). He further mentions that by the time that heavy metal had

developed as a popular style in the 1980's, "the audience became increasingly gender-balanced

and middle-class" (Walser, pg. 3)

The way that heavy metal was portrayed (and still is, to an extent) is somewhat disheartening,

taking into account that that the media and mass society frequently deal with and exploit

stereotypes. Newsweek, for example, published an advertisement on an article on youth, including

the following: "Is being a teenager still something to look forward to? Little kids think teenagers
are really cool. But how cool is it to come of age in the age of AIDS, crack and heavy metal?"

(Weinstein, pg. 3). Heavy metal musicians were pestered and deprecated, as was the case with the

accussations heaved by Tipper Gore in 1985, wife of the then future presidential candidate Al

Gore. Alongside the Parents Music Resource Center (P.M.R.C.) and the National Parent-Teacher

Association, Tipper Gore aimed to demote and crush the "social menace" called "heavy metal".

The P.M.R.C. established a list entitled "The Filthy Fifteen", which contained "offensive" music,

featuring Judas Priest, Mötley Crüe, W.A.S.P. , Mercyful Fate, Twisted Sister, Def Leppard,

AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Venom, Sheena Easton, Prince, Madonna, Vanity, The Mary Jane Girls

and Cindi Lauper. Before the Senate Commerce Committee, Senator Ernest Hollings, a democrat,

declared that "the only redeeming social value" he saw in rock music "is that the words are

inaudible." (Time Magazine, Online Edition, pg. 1). Some of the people fighting against this

declaration Frank Zappa, a revolutionary rock musician, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister and John

Denver, a folk rock musician. Susan Baker, a member of the P.M.R.C. stated that there was a

"proliferation of songs glorifying rape, sado-masochism, incest, the occult and suicide by a

growing number of bands." (Time Magazine, Online Edition, pg. 1). In an interview with Dee

Snider conducted by Sam Dunn for his documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, we learn

that not only was Twisted Sister picked on by the P.M.R.C. , but also by numerous religious

groups. Prior to the Senate hearing on censorship, Snider was asked to come in and speak, which

he personally interpreted as "carrying the flag into battle" (Dee Snider Interview, Metal: A

Headbanger's Journey). Walking into court wearing ripped denim and sporting wild hair, Snider

set out to break the stereotypical view of metal musicians as "dumb" and "unable to construct a

sentence". Although Snider might have administered a powerful level of defense, the P.M.R.C.

went on to concretize censorship and resultantly, have sparked the well-known warning label:

PARENTAL GUIDANCE-EXPLICIT LYRICS.


A rather curious occurrence today is the placement of heavy metal in a violent context, such as is

present with the case of "uncooperative" Iraqi prisoners who were forced to listen to Metallica,

whose music is categorised as "culturally offensive" to these Iraqis (BBC News, Online Edition,

pg. 1). In addition to that, the prisoners were made to listen to the theme song from Sesame

Street, a children's program from the United States, and the "I love you" song from Barney The

Dinosaur, another children's program (BBC News, Online Edition, pg. 1). In this context, heavy

metal has come to be nothing more than a torture tool, having been taken out of its conventional

musically cultural framework and projected into one which employs the music for purposes

which exploit cultural differences. James Hetfield of Metallica has commented on the use of

Metallica as an interrogational tool, stating that for him, "the lyrics are a form of expression, a

freedom to express my insanity." Furthermore, he says that, "If the Iraqis aren't used to freedom,

then I'm glad to be part of their exposure. We've been punishing our parents, our wives, our loved

ones with this music forever. Why should the Iraqis be any different?"

(http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=10746)

If we assume that bands know what category their music belongs to, from the very start, then we

arrive at the idea that the band probably knows what kind of an audience it wishes to attract, prior

to releasing an album. Of course, this is not saying that a band does not want to acquire fans from

other social groups and musical scenes, but that a band probably anticipates from the starts, the

basis of their fan base. When a band releases a record, it does so in order to "please" a certain

number of people, who might be fans of music which is similar to theirs. More often than not,

when a person likes a particular band which corresponds to a particular musical genre, he or she

will probably like at least one other band which belongs to the same genre. Johan Fornäs writes
in his article "The Future of Rock: Discourses That Struggle to Define a Genre" that "a genre is a

set of rules for generating musical works" (Fornäs 111). He writes further, that each band features

"actors" such as the musicians themselves, the producers, the marketers and the audience (Fornäs

111).

One of the factors that has transformed the fabric of heavy metal and its cultural web is the

growth of political, religious and social themes in the music. That is saying that there are anti-war

songs (such as "Amerika the Brutal" by America's Six Feet Under), songs castigating the meat

industry (such as those of Cattle Decapitation), songs promoting ethnic nationalism (such as is

the case with bands like Burzum, Nokturnal Mortum, Absurd, etc.), songs drawing from literary,

mythological and folkloric themes (for example, Tyr from the Faroe Islands and Metsatöll from

Estonia). Even though the metal community is based around a musical style, politics does leech

into the fabric. There is an organization called "Metalheads Against Racism", whose homepage

proclaims the following:

By joining Metalheads Against Racism, we declare:

1. We believe that all human beings are born equal.

2. We believe that multiculturalism is neither unnatural nor dangerous.

3. The Metal scene is not open to those propagating the idea that some people are inferior to

others because of their race or culture. We will not allow Heavy Metal to become a forum for

their racist views.

(http://www.metalheadsagainstracism.org/indexe.html)
Although this resembles an antithesis or an anti-political perspective, it is still nontheless of a

political nature. Politics is no longer a field that is disconnected from music, but rather one which

is somehow laced into the structure of a musical scene. The bands listed on the "Metalheads

Against Racism" site are hardly well-known bands, a factor which can perhaps be explained by

this division of politics and music. We arrive at a point of irony because, while forms of bigotry

may exist in the scene, not many are willing to become directly or even indirectly involved in

political discussions or ideological dialogues.

The mass media, as participants of the culture industry, can be considered as the main gateway of

"ideological discourse in contemporary society; however, it's the lexicon that the media utilises to

"frame the public discussions of events or objects" that is worth exploring, as Amy Binder states

in her article, "Constructing Racial Rhetoric: Media Depictions of Harm in Heavy Metal and Rap

Music" (Binder, pg. 754). Events and objects, when they exist within the framework of a society,

are habitually coincided against familiar occurences or contextual factors. Framing, then,

functions in such a way that collective ideas echo throughout a social group due to shared cultural

experiences (Binder, pg. 755). Going back to the "harm" that heavy metal threatened to bring

upon society, the framing that was used primarily drew upon "corruption", "protection" and

"danger to society". Heavy metal was proclaimed as a musical genre that glorified violence,

prompting violent behaviour from youth, whether it was directed towards parents or women

(Binder, pg. 758-759). Furthermore, there was the "no harm" and the "generation gap" frames;

the former of which rotates around the notion that the music is not harmful and that the lyrics

cannot be taken seriously, and the latter of which concerns itself with the hiatus between parents

and their children (Binder, pg. 759). The "threat to authorities" frame defines the apprehension

that it is people in political power that feel acutely threatened by contemporary music (Binder,
pg. 759). The "freedom of speech" frame encloses in itself that the real hazard is not the music

itself, but the possibility that artistic independence and expression might be hindered (Binder, pg.

759-760). A counterframe within this context, entitled the "important message/art" frame, attests

that the music has an important message and that it reflects urban society; yet this frame is

predominantly associated with rap music and was only later used as a counterframe for heavy

metal (Binder, pg. 760). In her article, Binder analyses the lyrical content of heavy metal songs,

saying that, in general, they use "double entendres and thinly-veiled symbolic allusions to refer to

sexual acts and male domination of women" and when it comes to rebellion, heavy metal lyrics

tend to address the opposition to authority figures and older generations (Binder, pg. 764).

Harris Berger writes that "while fieldwork itself is not an unproblematic activity, it is a basic tenet

of the discipline that the scholar may not be hearing what the others in the event are hearing"

(Berger, pg. 163). One of the complications with doing research within a field that involves the

researcher infiltrating a particular social subgroup or subculture is that there is the risk of

misunderstanding and miscommunication of ideas. Moreover, "there exist complex internal

organizations and differentiations for which generalizations about homogenous cultural system

fail to account (Berger, pg. 163). Berger studies Anthony Giddens theories, asserting that,

according to Giddens, "society is not an external force which descends upon individuals and

controls their action" but that, "society is constituted by the agents' practice - their concrete

activities - and practice is the agent's achievement" (Berger, pg. 164). Since this achievement is

limited and activated by the agents' social and cultural framework, which can subsequentially be

used to construct and multiply social structures and power relations (Berger, pg.164). Berger

draws upon Husserl's "The Phemenology of Internal Time-consciousness", in which Husserl

discusses the idea of the living present. The living present does not consist solely of the instant
during which human beings are undergoing a given "temporal hair's breath" but rather, that the

dynamic present contains the bordering future as well as the contiguous past (Berger, pg. 169). It

is within the realm of this living present that we, both as individuals and as parts of a group,

acquire our experiences. Experiences, however, and the way they are finally perceived are

engineered not entirely due to the separate viewpoint of a given individual, but also due to this

individual's placement in society, the social context in which he exists. The social context of

metal music, for instance, was initially construed as "white", "working class" and "young".

Berger writes that "the metalhead's life is one of profound frustration", which is related to the

"ever-shrinking representation in the workplace and the government" ; hence the lyrics of songs

that belong to this category of music "should emphasize images of chaos and aggression"

(Berger, pg. 172). In spite of the fact that this view can appear somewhat opprobrious, seeing as

metal's bellicose side is related to frustration brought about diminishing representation in mass

society (and, to an extent, misrepresentation), it does point out the placement of the music within

a social lexicon.

Once again, we arrive at the problem of generalisation and stereotyping. It seems far-fetched to

say that every single member of the metal scene is anger-driven and embittered. Even more

ridiculous, is the idea that the members of this musical community are immediately presumed to

be heterosexual white males. A subculture cannot be perceived as homogenous, especially when

it exists within a global framework. Since music is a cultural entity, which can be exported and

imported, it can be displaced from its original social placement and integrated into a "foreign"

one. Music, as a cultural object, is traded and embodied into both local and global economies,

and eventually, metamorphoses from being an artistic creation into being something which

represents certain ideas and principles. When discussing a music subculture, it is a good idea not
to think of it entirely in terms of "local" and "global", because outside factors come into play as

different scenes interknit into each other. Music, then, in this case, is used as an environment

around which a social group constructs itself. Moreover, the music is the essential blueprint for

this scene. If we assume that, in order to be a member of the scene one has to be a fan of the

music, then we can assume that the core of the scene consists of individuals who belong to the

scene because they listen to the music.

Popular music scenes are volatile and always mobile, which in turn poses problems with the

accuracy of any studies done on these scenes (Harper, pg. 102). However, racial politics seem to

be more or less nailed into the structure of various scenes; in particular, the way that certain

music forms are integrated into the market. Synesthesia denotes the permeation of sensory

perception into a framework that is different from the one that this perception is habitually

reserved for (Harper, pg. 103). The predominant market for metal seems to be the white audience;

and metal's roots, the blues music of African-American musicians, are frequently unattested and

overpassed.

Research:

When conducting research with members of a music scene in order to gain access to their

personal views on matters such as ethnic or gender segregation, it is vital to provide them with

them with the freedom of speaking without feeling the anxiety of being severely judged. The

joint interview that I had conducted with Caroline, a death metal singer from a band called

"Psychobolia", and Emily, from a thrash-death metal band called "Corrosive Elements", was of a
semi-structured nature, granting them with the ability to say exactly what they thought. Present at

the time were also their boyfriends, which might have disrupted the idea of having a solely

female presence. As an interviewer, my position might not have appeared as objective as it should

have, taking into account that the questions revolved around women within the metal scene and

that at times, it is difficult to disregard the fact that I am a woman and I am involved in one way

or another in this scene. Nevertheless, this factor seemed to work successfully, because it

provided me with the ability to use certain ideas and not others. This is to say, by referring to

women in metal as a collective "us" and by strengthening the notion of womanhood, the

interviewees felt more at ease speaking about their own thoughts.

The questions that were posed include the following:

How long have you been involved in the scene?

How did it begin?

How did you begin to listen to the music?

Have you ever felt like an outsider, being a girl?

How do you think girls in metal are represented?

How do you feel, being the only female member of a band?


Do you think women in metal should aim to project their femininity, or to appear more

masculine?

What do you think of the notion that metal is meant only for heterosexual white men?

In order to expatiate the discussion, my personal input contained remarks such as the fact that

female musicians in the scene are either keyboard players, bass players or singers whose vocal

style projects heightened levels of femininity (i.e. clean, operatic or "fragile" singing styles).

Caroline had gotten involved in the scene over 5 years ago, when she was 15, beginning listening

to punk music. Today, she is the front woman of a Paris-based extreme metal act, being the only

girl in a group of 3 men. According to her, misogyny is comprised of "macho" men who cannot

bear to see women in metal, let alone to be singing in such a way that is normally reserved for

men. In addition to this, she has pointed out that there are men who strive to project their

masculinity and toughness, by getting involved in the metal scene. In her opinion, it is not

necessary to dress up like a man, just because she sings in a metal band; meanwhile stating that

she has masculine personality traits. Furthermore, she mentions that her presence as a feminine

entity tends to derange certain people, primarily because it is out of the ordinary. The discussion

featured ideas regarding the image that women have come to have in the scene, namely when

they are manifested into sex symbols. Prior to this interview, I had the chance of seeing Caroline

in concert. The fact that she was dressed in a short skirt and had a rose in her hair was a

juxtaposition against the coarseness of the music. Having gotten a significant amount of criticism

from the male audience, it is perhaps crucial to point out that in spite of that, she managed to

shock a number of people who could not believe that a woman is capable of singing in that
manner.

Emily, the 25-year-old front woman of another Paris-based extreme metal act, has been in the

scene for around 10 years. When she was around 18 years old, she was singing in a band, and at

that stage, she was expected to sing in a "goth" style (that is saying, with clean, fragile vocals).

According to her, the advantages of being a female figure in the extreme metal scene is that it is

something original and uncommon, whereas the disadvantage is that women are expected not to

make mistakes and can be judged harshly, perhaps even more than men are. Being the only girl in

a band strengthens her, because the masculine force that surrounds her provides a form of

support. When it comes to her views on how women should dress, she mentions that because she

is there to sing and not to "show" herself, she does not approve of the idea that women should

overdo it on stage (e.g. wear push-up bras), since it increases the probability that the male

audience would not necessarily be listening to the music. Both Caroline and Emily stress the

notion of exclusion and boundaries that exist in the scene, and that, members of the scene can at

times be unwilling to accept things that are out of the ordinary, as though there is a certain

agitation towards "abnormality". The conclusive moments of the interview generated ideas

regarding the fact that even though the metal community is seen as one that is excluded from

"normal" society, it contains a level of exclusivity within its own boundaries.

The semi-structured individual interview I had conducted with Isabelle, a 28-year-old journalist

from a well-known french metal magazine called "Rock Hard", featured a lot of the same

questions that had been posed to Caroline and Emily, as well as the following:

Do you ever feel inferior because you are a woman?


Has anyone ever refused to believe your credibility as a metal journalist because you are a girl?

Her involvement in the scene had begun around 10 years ago (the last 5 of which were spent

working for the magazine) at which stage she had had an interest in bands such as Bon Jovi and

The Red Hot Chili Peppers. She mentions that when she started working as a journalist, there

were not many female journalists in metal who had done serious work, because a lot of them had

been involved in the field for the purpose of meeting musicians. She says that, while there are not

as many women in the scene as there are men, there is a significant number of so-called

"groupies" and girls who exaggerate their physical appearance and wind up looking flagrant and

dissolute. Although she had never gotten refused any interviews, she had experienced the

misfortune of not being listened to while conducting an interview with a "macho" man.

Conjointly, she discussed the fact that as a woman, you have to prove yourself more, which she

relates to her experience as a debutante at the magazine.

The fourth interview that had taken place was with Sarah, the 24-year old singer from the

Parisian group The Outburst. Once again, the interview was semi-structured, at times resembling

an everyday dialogue between two people. Although she has been listening to metal since

adolescence, her immersion as a musician dates back to over 5 years ago. In her opinion, the

metal community functions like a mini society with its own rules of conduct, exclusion and

inclusion. Like Caroline, she states that she has masculine personality traits. With her group, she

aims to find a balance between femininity and the more aggressive masculine side of metal,

alternating her vocal styles while singing. She believes that by being a female scene member, she

is breaking boundaries and crippling ideologies such as "metal is a man's world". Likewise,
female scene members should retain their femininity but not magnify it to excessive levels. Her

own stage presence features her bellydancing and at the same time, singing with a deep growling

voice. Personally, she finds it disgusting to encounter women who look like harlots, and to see

photographs of scantily clad girls alongside guitars, denominating women as objects. Lastle, she

reveals that she hopes that things will change, in particular the way that women are apperceived

within the metal world.

Of African and Eastern European origin, Yves is the 20-year-old guitarist from Emily's group,

"Corrosive Elements". The interview had taken place prior to their band practice, featuring

communication between myself, Emily and Yves. The format of the interview was hardly

structured, resembling a short conversation. Having attained an interest in metal through his

parents, who both listen to hard rock and punk music, Yves has been actively involved in the

scene for 4 years. Although auditioning for bands is not a problem, he does explain that when one

is "coloured", one must prove oneself repetitively. While there is the "prototype" metal scene

member (i.e. male, white, heterosexual), Yves believes that the community is opening its doors

and expanding its frontiers. Even though he presence of a "coloured" person in a bar may

sometimes perplex certain individuals, Yves feels that this is due to curiosity rather than

prejudice. After being asked if he had ever been to a concert during which racist individuals were

present, he talked about the isolation that he felt during a concert of french black metal band

Anorexia Nervosa. While prejudice can be found in the metal scene, he thinks that close-

mindedness is diminishing.

The sixth interview was with Alex, a 47-year-old rock and metal photographer of Caribbean

origin. This interview was slightly more structured, because I restricted my input into the
dialogue to merely asking the questions, which are the following:

How long have you been in the metal scene and how did it begin for you?

Have you ever encountered racism within the scene?

What do you think of the stereotypes that exist within the scene, defining scene members as being

primarily male, white and heterosexual?

What difficulties have you encountered as a result of your skin colour?

Have you ever had to photograph groups that are "openly" racist or to photograph during

concerts wherein you can find racists?

What do you think of the extreme metal scene and the fact that that there is a significant number

of racists?

Have you ever wished that you were white?

Do you regret that there are not many "coloured" people in the scene?

Do you hope that there will be a higher percentage of ethnic groups and women in metal?

His photojournalistic work in the scene dates back to 30 years ago, whereas his interest in the
music dates back to childhood, seeing as his father had been a drummer. The feeling of belonging

to a brotherhood or fraternity is what seemed seductive to him. Whereas it is common to see

"macho" men in metal, he thinks that this is for the purpose of playing out a dream rather than

being like that in reality. According to him, the metal world has evolved and "opened up". He

easily associates himself with the female members of the scene, because like them he must "work

four times harder" in order to sustain his status as a scene member. Although he has never

allowed hateful prejudice to get to him, he did mention an incident during which the tour

manager of a well-known band smashed his camera into his face. He discusses that at times, he

does think that if he was white, then things might have been easier for him. Alex regrets the fact

that there are not as many female musicians as there are male ones, and he relates this to the

pressure of family life that is imposed on women (i.e. they have short careers because they find a

husband, get children and end up staying at home). He praises diversity, stating that he

empathizes with the presence of women in extreme metal, because they go where they are not

meant to. On the subject of neo-nazis, he says that they should be present in order to show their

“stupidity”, such that society will be able to evolve.

My research also included an online survey that I had posted on an online forul of a Swedish

black metal band, "Grand Illusion". The introductory passage was as following:

Hello, everyone!

For one of my research papers, I chose to dwell in the metal community. The topic is based

around the idea that within this community, there is the tendency towards racism, homophobia

and misogyny. When it comes to the image of what a metalhead should be, it's quite common that
women are seen as "inferior", in whatever sense possible, and that to be "feminine" is generally

frowned upon. Racism comes into the picture when the stereotype metal fan is presumed to be a

heterosexual white male.

I would appreciate it, greatly, if everyone could answer this survey, that I will be using in the

paper.

I would like to thank in advance those who will respond!

All the best,

Alisa

The results that I had obtained are:

Chris

Age: 24

Location: Nordhausen Germany

Ethnicity: European

Sexual Orientation: straight


Social Status: I'm a student. But I don't know if this is the right translation...sorry

Profession: higher education entrance qualification

Hobbies: table tennis, motorbike, concerts, festivals

Are/were you ever in a band? If yes, what did you do in the band? no

How involved are you in the metal community? Good question... I think after nearly10 years of

listening to metal music i think that i'm very involved in this scene

What is your outlook on the following in the metal community: racism, homophobia, misogyny?

Racism: I don't think there are many racists in the metal community. Of course there are some

exceptions, but I don't think that there are a lot.

homophobia: Hmm... i think its a very tolerant scene, and there are not many homophobics.

misogony: I like women, and I don't know anyone who doesn't like them too...

What kind of stereotypes do you think exist in the metal community?

Basicly there is the stereotype of satanism and "witches" in the metal scene. And of course the

stereotype of the national socialism. And that metal fans are very brutal and aggressive.
Michelle Nightshade

Age: 26

Location: Texas, USA

Ethnicity: White

Sexual Orientation: Straight

Social Status: What does this mean? I am taken with a boyfriend and I have a job. That answers

2 possible meanings. Wink

Profession: Teleservices

Hobbies: Watching movies, taking walks in nature, reading books, listening to music, playing

videogames, etc...

Are/were you ever in a band? If yes, what did you do in the band? Not really

How involved are you in the metal community? Quite... I pretty much know all the local

supporters in Texas. Although I don't go to local shows anymore. I just attend shows with bands

that I really love.


What is your outlook on the following in the metal community: racism, homophobia, misogyny?

Racism- I can understand racism. I know this is a weird answer. There are some stereotypes that

cannot be ignored that are humorous and true. But overall, I find racism to be unfair since

nobody should be judged with an entire race. Just because Pablo is a lazy mexican, Shenequa

loves fried chicken, and Chang is good at math doesn't mean the entire race is. Laughing

Homophobia- I think that people that hate gays are ridiculous. I think love is blind and that gay

marriages should happen. Most of my female friends are lesbians.

Misogyny- Doesn't that mean hatred for women? If so, then you know what I think... since I am a

woman. Wink I think women are equal to... if not superior... to men. Very Happy

What kind of stereotypes do you think exist in the metal community?

Umm... well, I guess the different styles of metal categorizes people in different groups. I don't

know. Confused

P.S. I just noticed that some of my answers don't really pertain to the metal community. I'll clarify

a few things: Racism is a huge thing in metal. There are national socialists as we all know. Plus

there are some mexicans I personally know that hate white people. It's dumb. But oh well.

As for misogyny, I am always getting stupid comments from guys saying "Wow. I've never met a

girl that loved black metal before." And there are other guys who don't think a girl can truly like
black metal. That annoys me. And when I get in an argument with them, prove that I know more

than them and have more CD's, then they will counter with something like "You probably only

like metal because of your boyfriend." That line always pisses me off because I have loved metal

before I even had boyfriends. In fact, I am the one that introduced bands to my past ex's and also

Jason.

(Note: Jason is Michelle's current boyfriend)

Sarah Raine

Age: 18

Ethnicity: Caucasian

Sexual Orientation: Bisexual

Social Status: Pretty much an outcast, but not amongst my many friends

Profession: Unemployed for now

Hobbies: Reading, writing, listening to all kinds of music, and sketching when I'm able to

Are/were you ever in a band? If yes, what did you do in the band? I was going to be the drummer
of a band, but we were young with delusions of grandeur, and the band never even recorded

anything.

How involved are you in the metal community? I'm a fan.

What is your outlook on the following in the metal community:

~ Racism- The amount of melanin in your skin shouldn't be the basis of anyone's opinion of you.

~ Homophobia- It disgusts me that someone can be afraid of someone else just because they're

not straight.

~ Misogyny- Both sexes have their advantages and their disadvantages.

What kind of stereotypes do you think exist in the metal community?

That all fans of metal are delusional druggies who worship Satan and sacrifice animals; that

metal creates and embraces evil; that all metal is death metal-ish and that it all sounds, and is,

the same thing; that all women in metal are hookers; that all men in metal are brutal wifebeaters

who hate the world and everything in it; that all metal musicians are just kids who didn't do shit

with their lives; etc.

Kathleen Villaluz
Age: 17

Ethnicity: Filipino

Sexual Orientation: Straight

Social Status: Middle class

Profession: Student

Hobbies: reading,listening to music,a bit of badminton..don't really have any "exciting" hobbies.

Are/were you ever in a band? If yes, what did you do in the band? nope

How involved are you in the metal community? i think i am involved but not as involved and/or

dedicated as some metal folks are. i do go to metal gigs but i don't get the chance to interact with

the people that makes the metal community.

What is your outlook on the following in the metal community:

~ Racism- sometimes they doubt you for being Asian or Black as they have the mentality of metal

music is typically for caucasians only...i think that one's skin colour should not be the basis

wether he/she should listen to metal or not.


~ Homophobia- now some metal folks (usually men) discriminate homosexual metal

listeners..they say that "there is no gay in metal" or some words to that effect. again i don't think

that sexuality should be the basis wether he/she should listen to metal or not

~ Misogyny- misogynist usually think that women are not "tough" enough or too emotional to like

metal. they presume that women only like "goth" metal or "power" metal. sometimes its true but

nowadays there more women who are liking black,death and gore metal but i am not entirely sure

what is the misogynists opinion on women listening to death and black metal.

What kind of stereotypes do you think exist in the metal community?

that you have to be "tough" all the time, you can't show your emotions, power metal is for girls

and some others.

Danny

Age: 28

Location: USA

Ethnicity: Cracker

Sexual Orientation: straight


Social Status:

Profession: land Survory

Hobbies: computers,video games, music

Are/were you ever in a band? kinda

If yes, what did you do in the band? keyboards/programing/mixing

How involved are you in the metal community? does 10+ years mean anything?

What is your outlook on the following in the metal community: racism, homophobia, misogyny?

People need to have an open mind. I don't believe in Racism, homophobia or misogyny

What kind of stereotypes do you think exist in the metal community? Church burners, and satan

worhshippers

Jane

Age: 27

Location: Mørkøv / Denmark

Ethnicity: Caucasian
Sexual Orientation: bi seksual / one partner only

Social Status: middel class

Profession: student

Hobbies: music, art, books, herbs and plants, being in the garden and taking walks in the nature

around.

Are/were you ever in a band? If yes, what did you do in the band?

No and i probaly will never be Razz

How involved are you in the metal community?

people would probaly say a whole lot, i go to concerts enjoy the music and then i go home, im to

individual to get involved alot.

What is your outlook on the following in the metal community: racism, homophobia, misogyny?

Racism: well there is alot in the metalscene but question is how much of it is for real, and how

much are image ?

Homephonbia: not all have a problem with that but if you ask me it comes with the whole neo
nazi culture as well ....

misogyny: I think women mostly try to act inferior, im not sure it is looked bad upon if your

feminin... mmm i think more that there is a certain tone of respect among metalheads, have they

seen you to concerts alot they are more keen to respect you than if you just been there once.

What kind of stereotypes do you think exist in the metal community?

I think that the stereotypes are slowly breaking, that there is coming new people to the community

and that they dont try to become a stereotype all of em.

The first subject, Chris, stated that while there are the stereotypes such as satan-worshippers and

national socialists, "there are not many racists in the metal community" and that in his opinion, it

is a "very tolerant scene". Tolerance, however, exists in three forms, as Jane W. Ferrar shows:

1. Flexible, examined attitudes toward groups, beliefs or practices which permit non-categorical

evaluation of particular individuals, believers or practitioners.

2. Approval of a wide range of beliefs and practices.

3. Allowance of a wide range of beliefs and practices.

Tolerance should not be comprised merely "the acceptance of large and organizationally

established minority groups", but also should feature "the considered acceptance of deviant

individuals, of unestablished groups and of bizarre beliefs" (Ferrar, pg. 67). James Martin, in his

book "The Tolerant Personality", delineates prejudice as a "rigid emotional attitude (favorable or

unfavorable) toward a group, which results in an advance evaluation of any group member" and

tolerance as "the absence of prejudice" (Ferrar, pg. 67). Because defining tolerance and giving it a
stable meaning is a chaotic task to do, our understanding of what it signifies to be tolerant is

dubious. Personal tastes are intermittently linked to personal views, and if individual views are

linked to the generation of prejudice, then perhaps so can personal tastes; correspondingly it can

be said that tolerance can also be linked to antecedent personal tastes. The metal community

revolves around the music, a circumstance which emanates the constant manifestation of personal

opinions and preferences. Danny, one of the other subjects, proclaims that "people need to have

an open mind" and that he does not "believe in racism, homophobia or misogyny". The difference

between Chris and Danny is that according to one, prejudice is not a common phenomenon,

whereas for the other, prejudice is not something he supports. Chris does not state whether or not

he supports prejudice, and in a way, it seems that prejudice is alienated from the scene itself, as

though it is a tenet which is separate from the social domain of the scene.

Both Sarah Raine and Kathleen Villaluz underline the conception that someone's skin colour or

sexuality should not prevent them from belonging to a music subculture. What is interesting

about Sarah's answer regarding the stereotypes that exist within the metal scene, is that it includes

not only the stereotype of women as "hookers" but also of men as "wifebeaters". In other words,

according to Sarah, it is not uniquely women that receive the spotlight associated with

stereotypes, but also women, who are portrayed as heartless and coercive. Michelle's answer

regarding misogyny offers some insight into the belief that women do not "deserve" to listen to

certain kinds of music and that women are not "capable" of knowing the same things about the

music as men are. Jane's answer pertains to the differentiation between being a "real" racist and

being one for the sake of "image", linking homophobia with the neo-nazi culture. In Jane's view,

the stereotypes that do exist are "slowly breaking" and that the scene is welcoming new members,

who do not necessarily turn into the stereotype metal fan.


Conclusion:

The absence of male individuals who will openly admit that they are gay is not altogether

surprising; taking into account that homosexuality appears to be associated with femininity and

weakness, an image that is not always accepted in the metal scene. Although prejudice is a

worldwide social occurrence, it can sometimes be integrated into music scenes in order to denote

stereotypes and what a typical scene member should look and act like. The metal scene is

formalized as an outsider community, yet exclusivity is practised within it as well. The research

has shown that when a metal scene member is not "male" and "white", difficulties arise with

proving oneself to the whole community. As scenes progress and develop beyond local, global

and static perspectives, so does the possibility of widening borders. Stereotyping, in any form,

may be amusing to some, but in most cases it only demonstrates a heightened level of

misunderstanding and inanity; furthermore, stereotypes create a form of familiarity, such that

anything which is not "normal", "familiar" and "typical" is put under the microscope, dissected

and judged. It is perhaps, wishful thinking that governs the psyches of numerous scene members;

namely, that the confinements and obstructions that exist in the world today will be pulverised,

such that they will lie in ruins on the ground.

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