Heavy Metal, Gender and Sexuality: Interdisciplinary Approaches, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Heavy Metal, Gender and Sexuality

Interdisciplinary Approaches, 1st Edition

Edited by Florian Heesch, Niall Scott


282 pages

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Heavy Metal, Gender and Sexuality brings together a collection of original, interdisciplinary, critical essays exploring the negotiated place of gender and sexuality in heavy metal music and its culture. Scholars debate the current state of play concerning masculinities, femininities, queerness, identity aesthetics and monstrosities in an area of music that is sometimes mistakenly treated as exclusively sustaining a masculinist hegemony. The book combines a broad variety of perspectives on the main topic, regarding gender in connection to: the history of the genre; the range of metal subgenres; heavy metal's multidimensional scope (music, lyrics, performance, style, illustrations); men and women; sexualities and various local and global perspectives. Heavy Metal, Gender and Sexuality is a text that opens up the world of heavy metal to reveal that it is a very diverse and ground-breaking stage where gender play is at the centre of its theatricality and sustains its mass appeal.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Charts

List of Music Examples

Notes on Contributors


Heavy Metal and Gender: An Introduction Florian Heesch and Niall Scott

Part I Heavy Metal Culture – A Case of Limited Diversity in Gender and Sexuality?

1 Playing with Gender in the Key of Metal Deena Weinstein

2 "Coming Out": Realising the Possibilities of Metal Keith Kahn-Harris

3 Metal, Masculinity, and the Queer Subject Amber R. Clifford-Napoleone

Part II Solo Metal Masculinities

4 Living History: The Guitar Virtuoso and Composer Steve Vai Michael Custodis

5 "Never say die!" Ozzy Osbourne as a male role model Dietmar Elflein

6 Placing Gender: Alice Cooper’s Motor City Move Sarah Gerk

Part III Extended Critical Metal Masculinities

7 Wild Side: Self-Styling and the Aesthetics of Metal in the Music Videos of Mötley Crüe Mollie Ables

8 "Body Count’s in the House": Challenging the US Working-Class Metal-Hero Thorsten Hindrichs

9 The Monstrous Male and Myths of Masculinity in Heavy Metal Niall Scott


10 Female Metal Singers: A Panel Discussion with Sabina Classen, Britta Görtz, Angela Gossow and Doro Pesch Sarah Chaker and Florian Heesch

Part IV Dialogues and Intermediaries

11 What is ‘male’ about black and death metal music? An empirical approach Sarah Chaker

12 "Girls like metal, too!" Female reader’s engagement with the masculinist culture of the tabloid metal magazine Andy R. Brown

13 "This isn’t over ‘til I say it’s over!" Narratives of Male Frustration in Deathcore and Beyond Marcus Erbe

14 Relocating Violence in Thrash Metal Lyrics: The Tori Amos Cover of Slayer’s Raining Blood Luc Bellemare

15 Liquid Identity: Love, Heavy Metal and the Dynamics of Gender in Anime Soundtracks Maria Grajdian

Part V Global and Local Perspectives

16 Heavy, Death and Doom Metal in Brazil: A Study on the Creation and Maintenance of Stylistic Boundaries within Metal Bands Hugo Ribeiro

17 Brutal Masculinity in Osaka’s Extreme-metal Scene Rosemary Overell

18 Race and Gender in Globalized and Postmodern Metal Magnus Nilsson


About the Editors

Florian Heesch is a musicologist who completed his doctoral thesis on operas and Swedish literature at the University of Gothenburg in 2006. He researched and lectured at several German universities, mainly in the fields of rock music, music and Norse mythology, popular music and queer theory. In 2013 he became professor of popular music and gender studies at the University of Siegen, Germany.

Niall Scott is Senior Lecturer in Ethics at the University of Lancashire in Preston. His primary research interest is in philosophy and heavy metal, and he is one of the founding members of the current metal studies movement. He also works in the fields of cultural theory, bioethics and theology. Together with Rob Fisher and ID.net, he put together the first conference on heavy metal in Salzburg in 2008, where he first met Florian Heesch. Niall is editor of Helvete, A Journal of Black Metal Theory and co-editor, with Professor Karl Spracklen, of the journal Metal Music Studies (Intellect). He is currently the chair of the International Society for Metal Music Studies (ISMMS), and has published widely and spoken internationally on heavy metal, politics, philosophy and cultural theory.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Pop Vocal