Editorials

It’s Time to Stop Thinking of Women in Metal as WOMEN in Metal

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The concept of hate-reading or hate-following sources and people is not a new thing. We’re all just masochistic enough to follow completely obnoxious people on social media even though they make us want to rip our right arms off and beat them with our ineffectually flopping limbs. We swear we’ll never check back at that one site that consistently lets us down (ahem), but still do, and make our presence known by comments, even though no one cares what we think anyway. And we click links and read articles that we know will set our teeth on edge and maybe even spoil part of our day with their idiocy but for some reason we still keep coming back for more. Why? I don’t know, but I do attend daily services at Jezebel’s Temple of Claw My Eyes Out and Feed Them to the Editors. Move over Revolver’s Hottest Chicks in Met… er, Hard Rock, we have a new bone to slobber over this year: Jezebel’s upcoming Q&A with Nina Osegueda (Jezebel username: DuchessODork), lead singer of the metal band A Sound of Thunder.

It might seem odd that I have an issue with a fairly mainstream news source actually covering and encouraging metal. I don’t. I think it’s pretty cool that they’re spotlighting not only a popular reader’s interests, thereby inviting new readers who feel a sense of familiarity. But that they’re also providing a platform for someone to speak about music that’s very often misrepresented and misjudged by the media and the general public.

What I do take issue with — violently, in fact — is that this little segment’s title: “What Is It Like To Be A Woman Who Sings in a Metal Band?” Gee, I don’t know Jezebel, what’s it like being a feminist outlet that talks down to its target audience?

How do women in metal (or women in general, for that matter) expect to be treated as equals when women themselves are highlighting the fact that some things are a man’s game? Just by utilizing that title, by presenting being a female metal singer as something odd that needs to be answered for, they denigrate the many, many, women who do this. Yes, it is a different experience for a woman to be singing in a metal band than it is for a man. It’s a different experience for everyone. But why can’t that be one of the questions in the Q&A? I’ve asked that question to several women I’ve interviewed. It might seem like I’m reading too much into this, but giving this article that title is akin to just writing, “Oh wow, woman can do that? WEIRD.” It is NOT weird. Doro Pesch has been doing it for thirty years.

(Also: “Ask her what it’s like to go on tour with a bunch of guys… And she just might answer.” Come on now, that’s something Tiger Beat would have asked Gwen Stefani in like 1996.)

Shouldn’t the Q&A focus on Osegueda’s band rather than the fact that she’s a woman? That’s it. That’s the larger issue here. Assuming the experience of being in a band, a metal band, with mostly men on tour or behind-the-scenes is what makes women participating in it special.

Well, they’re not special. There, I said it. I’m a girl writing about metal? Who the fuck cares? I’m not special, either (except to my mommy). Let’s just all yell at each other for liking terrible things (or better yet, commend each other for liking delightful things) rather than take into account those things only after confirming what kind of genitalia we have.

Until people can stop fixating on the fact that women like metal, women are involved in metal, women blah blah blah metal, then there is no equality. So I propose this: from now on, whenever anyone interviews or talks to a female even vaguely involved in metal, let’s not even mention the fact that they’re female! No more asking the question “What’s it like being a woman in metal?” No more separation. Let’s not even have the words “woman,” “women,” “in,” and “metal” occupy the same sentence anymore. Everyone is sick to death of it. This would of course mean no more Revolver calendar (yaaaaaahsssss!).

So Jezebel, if you want to put women first and support our right to do whatever we want, let’s not give credence to things that are arbitrarily assigned to men like, say, metal.

The Q&A with Nina Osegueda is at 2pm EST today, Thursday, November 7.

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