LEYLA FORD WEIGHS IN ON THE REVOLVER “HOTTEST CHICKS” ISSUELet’s rant about the Revolver’s Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock list some more. God knows they deserve the attention.

The biggest issue at hand seems to be whether or not it’s sexist. It is. As a female and as a metal fan, I do, in fact, find it sexist. Look at the name. Referring to women as “chicks” on a nationally recognized and widely read magazine is sexist. It demeans women. I might be overreacting, I might be overly politically correct, but if you’re going to insist that it’s a celebration of talent, then why is it portraying women as objects right off the bat? I do give you points on being honest, though, Revolver. You could’ve gone with full denial and named it “The Most Talented Chicks in Hard Rock.”

My biggest problem with this issue is that it really has nothing to do with the music. Yes, the women who pose do it by choice, and hope that after all the gawking some reader might actually listen to their music, but ultimately, those readers probably won’t. Why? Because the magazine features bands and musicians who already have a fan base and a clear, set audience. People who know them will still buy their records, but I highly doubt some guy will be like, “Hey, that Amy Lee is quite the looker. I should probably check out her stuff.”

(And featuring Kat Von D as a member of the music scene is laughable. Yes, she likes the music. Yes, she has friends in the business. But does she actually sing? Does she play an instrument? Does she have a band? No. How can this possibly be a celebration of musical talent when you feature a tattooist known for wearing bikini tops? Oh, you put Marta from Bleeding Through right next to her. Well, that makes it all right then… come on.)

After all, what do looks have to do with talent? If that line of reasoning were correct, most metal bands sure would suck, considering the quality of attractiveness of the men in said bands. In the same sense, if a woman is hot, it should not have any bearing on her ability to perform. If Revolver were so devoted to the music, they would call attention to bands and female musicians who don’t have a nationally distributed magazine’s resources at their disposal.

I guess the counter-argument would be that there aren’t enough talented women in metal. (Sorry, hard rock. That name change is quite telling.) I call bullshit. There are plenty of talented women in extreme music — they just don’t want to be known for being half-naked in a magazine that one time.

Revolver isn’t the only culprit here. As long as bands keep sticking women in for scenery behind a keyboard or a bass, then they’ll remain a gimmick, and, yeah, they’ll be on lists mainly for their looks — because who doesn’t want to see a pretty face smiling up at them from a magazine?

There are plenty of truly talented women out there. It’s might be a smaller pool than the men’s, but it exists. And it’s Revolver’s responsibility as a magazine, a music magazine, to showcase them for their skills in the genre, because, hey, guess what? Looks fade. If you want to make that money with what is virtually a Playboy issue, then make one about the actual music too.

But hey, that’s just my two cents and my suggestion. It’s the credibility of the publication and the women featured therein at stake, not mine.



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