We’ve occasionally written about the correlation between metal music fandom and various mental changes (often positive). More recently, University of Saskatchewan student Anna Nouhl Kuhlmann recently performed a study that lends credence to anecdotal stories of metal music resolving anxiety issues. Kuhlmann notably decided to focus on female fans, claiming that “A lot of the research I’ve found focuses on men…”, and that she “…wanted to show that metal music can have positive results for female fans, even though it has such negative stereotypes about it.” I personally doubt the results would be substantially different if the study had a different gender focus, at least based on my own personal experience of finding the genre less stressful than, for instance, mainstream pop. I’d also like to see the actual publications associated with this study, as it presumably would provide more details on her approach and findings that would definitely be of interest to our readers.
It’s a perpetual favorite of late-night bull sessions and internet forums alike: what do we think of women in metal? Growing up with Jo Bench blasting out basslines in Bolt Thrower, the ladies in Derketa/Mythic making grinding doom, and knowing dozens of women heading zines, labels, and so on, it never occurred to us old schoolers.
But now it’s caught between two extremes. On one side, there’s great pressure to conform to the herd vision of us all being the same and doing the same thing. On the other side, there’s great commercial pressure to make women sex objects in metal, which makes everyone a bit uneasy.
Luckily, Rachel Aspe has cleared the issue up for us by demonstrating — alas, with mainstream nu-metal — the power of simply being able to pull your own weight. This was on a show called “France Has Talent,” and the reaction is priceless.