Women in Metal: Overcoming the Stigma

So, there’s been this stigma that’s been going on for years, that any woman who attends metal shows, is only there to get laid by a band member and has no idea what she is listening to. I realize that a woman liking or doing things that are a “man’s” thing is taboo, but it is 2016 and it’s time us women who do enjoy metal shows (for the sake of metal, thats why) are acknowledged and brought to light.

Sure, there are those women who do only go for those reasons, but I can guarantee, whether we know one song or every damn song, the band member’s names present and past, etc. we are there because we enjoy music too.

Metal is NOT just for men. It’s for women as well. If all you’ve ever experienced are women looking to get laid by band members, you must not talk to many of us. We aren’t “posers,” we are just human beings with tits who enjoy the same music you do.

Who cares if a woman dresses a certain way at a show, but doesn’t dress like that outside of a show. Hell, I only own a few band tees now, and mostly just stick to colourful tank tops, jeans, and tennis shoes. Does this make me any less metal? Nope. It just means I wear what I’m comfortable in while doing my day to day bullshit and save my nice shit for a show.

Even having been in many bands and playing many shows in front of small and large crowds, I wore whatever I felt like. I don’t always wear makeup either because news flash! I’m allergic and dont enjoy having my eyes tear up and turn red as if I’ve smoked a copious amount of weed (I don’t smoke that much, I promise.) So I save my metal look for shows, because chances are I will be too distracted having a blast with my friends, moshing and head banging to even give a shit.

Just because we are there (and sometimes there are a few of us who can hold our own in a pit) does NOT under any circumstance give you the right to grope, fondle or touch us in a sexual manner. Especially the women who crowd surf. I’m pretty sure as a man, you wouldn’t be too fond a woman grabbing your jewels and ass constantly. Please don’t do it to us. We just want to enjoy the show; not be inappropriately touched. I dealt with a situation like this a few years ago in Philadelphia. I was in the pit and a guy grabbed my boob. Initially, I let it go. After the third time, I punched him repeatedly and was thrown out of the show. Mind you, I am in no way a violent person, but I will defend myself and others as needed.

As far as women playing metal, get over it. I find it awesome to see a girl hang with the dudes and kick ass while doing so. Being a female metal vocalist myself, I’ve found that it can get both discouraging amd encouraging. You will always have the “elitist” metal dudes who will talk shit and act all high and mighty since there will be very few of them there. God forbid they’re vocalists too, because if as a female you’re really good (especially with gnarly lows like Mallika Sundara
murthy of Abnormality) you will be shit talked, and it will be more apparent. Nine times out of ten from my experiences, those dudes secretly like what you’re doing, but will never admit it.  Granted, words do hurt sometimes and you will be undermined, but guess what. I promise you there will be more people in the crowd respecting what you do and cheering you on than there will be “those guys.” From what I’ve experienced, guys find it fairly attractive when a woman is a metal vocalist. I’m not sure if they just like being growled at or what: but it’s there.

I’ve encountered my fair share of hate over the last ten years and honestly, it’s still hard to get used to. It’s not because I’m a female metal vocalist; it’s solely the reason that the work I’ve put into what I’m doing, the work that I am extremely passionate about, is being put down. You will never, ever appeal to everyone and that’s a given. I have learned to let the negativity go and learn from it.

Honestly, the next time you see a girl or woman at a show, no matter what her initial intentions are or how she is dressed, give her a high five. She paid the money to get in, probably paid for gas to get there and is supporting something that we all support. Metal is something that should unite men, women, and children alike. We shouldn’t put someone down because they look like they belong at Hollister or are hipsters. There is far too much negativity surrounding metalheads already; why add “being elitist assholes” to the list? We need to support and accept one another because, you may end up making a new friend. Gender is meaningless when it comes to loving music. Be respectful and rage on.

Worthy

“You need to work on yourself and get your depression and anxiety in check. I can’t deal with that kind of thing,” you said, eyes emotionless. It was a low blow and tore me to pieces hearing that, but I knew that was one thing you were right about. After discussing working on ourselves and staying apart, you were quick to move on, and I worked on myself. Alone.

Being single has always been a difficult endeavor for me. It felt lonely, and I always felt hopeless not having someone by my side. I needed reassurance that I was loved and appreciated, even though I was never given those things. One bad relationship after another, constantly dealing with mental and emotional abuse, being cheated on. It didnt matter, so long as I had someone to call mine.

It ultimately wasn’t until you spoke those words that I heard the most truth come from your mouth. It took someone I had loved for so long, someone I gave my entire life up for, to finally realize what I really needed. It wasn’t another relationship: it was getting myself together and keeping it that way until I knew I was capable of making good decisions and finding someone worthwhile. Sure, I dated someone briefly (an entire six days), but I realized quick he wasn’t for me.

I will never obtain perfection, even though in many aspects I’m a perfectionist, and my OCD exacerbates these issues. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not worthy of finding true love. It doesnt mean I should settle for anything less than the best. It doesn’t mean I give my heart to anyone who looks at me or calls me beautiful. It means, I wait until the time is right.

I refuse to live any longer as a person who clings to anyone to justify not wanting to be alone. That’s what family is for. That’s what friends are for. That’s what pets are for. To ensure you are not alone. Sure, not having anyone to cuddle up with at night is tiresome, but I’m adult enough to admit a teddy bear my mom made me suffices.

Being single for the last five months has not only been freeing, it’s also been an adventure. I’ve made an array of new friends, got my flirt on, gone to concerts, lost weight, learned that being independent is a great thing, and overall, while still fighting it day to day, I’ve managed to stop my medications and can live a mostly normal and functioning life (other than occasional panic attacks while I’m at large stores or malls, my constant need to wash my hands, and occasional short-lived self pity in which I’ve acquired the PMA attitude and lifestyle to counteract it.)

I had a difficult time accepting being single after two years, but it was what I needed. I needed this; I needed you to treat me wrong to finalize my desire to wait for someone who will treat me right and I cannot thank you enough for that. I won’t ever settle for just anyone again, and this goes for you and every other guy I’ve dated except one, and he knows who he is.

I will always be flawed and I will always have an off day, just like anyone else would. It doesn’t mean I’m unworthy of being loved. I deserve the best, so thank you for making that a possibility.

Invisible

I’ve come to the realization that, while I’m learning to build myself up rather than break myself down, my heart knows that I would never suffice for you. Even if I had a rocking bod and the most epic face, I’m far too imperfect for you. Would it be negative thoughts if I admitted the truth? To admit defeat and realize this now, rather than go through life hoping and waiting only to be let down later?

I’m merely invisible compared to everyone else in your life; I’m no different than the thousands of other people you’ve met, and that’s quite alright. Ultimately, this entire post isn’t to whine about my flaws, or to tell you in a vague way that I’m into you. No, this post is simply to tell you about the impact you’ve had on my life, even if it is small.

It’s hard to find someone who is willing to take time out of their day (and to not act bored out of their mind) to listen to you ramble on about insecurities and flaws, likes and dislikes, etc. and I cannot thank you enough for that. The people I’ve previously had surrounding myself always brushed it aside and told me “eh, you’ll be fine.” To have someone actually seem like they cared; it helped a lot.

I also found solace and joy in listening to you speak about your flaws, passions, life. The spark in your eyes when you spoke of the things you love most tugged at my heart a bit. Why? Because it’s also hard to find people who are truly passionate about something, especially something that I’m also passionate about. It’s always a great feeling to have at least one thing that pulls you in towards other people: music is the one thing I cannot and will not ever live without. It’s phenomenal to meet others who feel the same damn way.

I know you won’t ever read this, and that’s absolutely fine. I think in a way it’d be better like that. Perchance you do scroll past this at some point in the future, just know your words, compassion and love for other people has impacted me for the better. You’ve shined an entire new light on how to live and cope with mental illness, and I will never be able to thank you enough for that. Thank you for making me feel worthwhile, even if our time spent talking was short-lived. You’re a fantastic human being; don’t ever forget that.

E