Toxic masculinity is rife in the metal and rock industries. Even before the moment AC/DC screamed the immortal “I’ve got the biggest balls of them all”, this particular area of the music industry has long been dominated by male vocalists and musicians, and that’s only the bands.
It’s not so much the content of the songs which is the problem. Who hasn’t drunkenly sung along to Buckcherry’s ‘Crazy Bitch’ with a healthy dose of grinding to accompany the hilariously misogynistic lyrics? The problem that we face is the knock-on effect on songs like this and attitudes which lead to a woefully common case of under representation for non-male artists in rock/metal festival line-ups and the scene as a whole.
There was a time on the internet where festival line-up posters were edited so that only the bands with female members could be seen. Let’s bring them back. Let’s look at the festival line-ups from the festivals with heavier music and see how much less women are accepted when the guitar is tuned down. Festivals such as Download, the leading festival for rock and metal music in the UK, has never had a woman in the headline slot. For a festival which has been going since 2003, this is really not acceptable.
It’s fixing a symptom of the problem rather than the problem itself, yes, but there is a campaign to get a woman in the headline slot for Download Festival 2021. Get a Woman to Headline Download 2021 is an online campaign which has already received support from hard-hitting new bands on the scene, Nova Twins and Queen Zee. These two bands were among the few featuring women who were on the bill at Download Festival, and have since amassed live shows at Glastonbury and Boomtown between them. The campaign features a Facebook page, on which bands with non-male musicians are featured every few days, and a change.org petition.
It’s bands like Nova Twins and Queen Zee who mark a point in music history which shows how far we have come and how far we still have left to go. Fronted by a woman of colour and a trans woman respectively, these two bands are the perfect examples of how far our feminism has come. They also illustrate how far the rock industry needs to go to catch us up.
There is still a long way to go to close the gender inequality gap in the world, and there is still a long way to go in the rock and metal scene. But getting a woman in the headline slot of the biggest rock and metal festival in the UK would be a good start.
Click the link below to sign the petition: