(With this post, guest writer Alain Mower begins a series of interviews with women in metal.)
As someone who has been in the metal scene for over a decade, half of that spent playing at the local level in metal bands, I’ve noticed some recurring statements, habits, and trends that need to be addressed.
Metal was built on the foundation of being an open-minded, all-embracing haven that accepts everyone from every walk of life. I’ve never been a part of a community where COMPLETE and TOTAL STRANGERS will literally push people away and pick you up from where you fell in the pit, give you a swig of mead from their horn chalice, or go out of their way to help you back out of that super-tight parallel park job, and I don’t expect many other communities with that level of blind trust and companionship exist elsewhere.
That’s why it’s extremely distressing when I overhear or stumble into conversations where people are using terms such as “Girlfriend Metal” or pointing out the ever-elusive “Metal Girl.” I’ve had many a female friend express that they feel uncomfortable attending metal shows, feel extra pressure in live performances, and – disgustingly enough – have had derogatory statements yelled at them, both as fans and as musicians. Obviously not everyone is guilty of such behavior, but it’s still a pox that we need to deal with if we want to continue to be the boundary-destroying, all-accepting community this culture was built upon. I don’t mind if we treat it or cut it off and leave it behind, but something has to be done.