Publication Date

5-2019

Advisor(s)

Kate A. Galloway

Department

Music

Abstract

Hard rock and heavy metal music genres maintain a distinctly masculine reputation. Beyond simply being masculine, these genres tend to be anti-feminine. Lyrics sometimes promote violence towards women, artwork features hypersexualized images of women, and female participants often face discrimination. Despite this, women produce and consume these musics. I investigate this phenomenon by focusing on the work of three female performers in the alternative metal genre, Ash Costello, Maria Brink, and Lzzy Hale, who toured North America with their bands throughout 2018 in an effort to promote and celebrate female-fronted heavy music. In this thesis, I explore the ways in which these performers use their feminine voices and bodies to renegotiate, exaggerate, reclaim and embrace images of women put forward by the male-dominated hard-music community. I draw on a lifetime of experience as a female metalhead to tease out the complexities of these women's performances. Through participant observation, audience interviews, extensive background research, and in-depth music/media analysis, I consider this tour’s efficacy as a feminist project.

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