01 August 2015

Battle-Jacket Barbie: Feminism and Metal

Would you have ever guessed that I liked metal music? I wouldn't either - a young lady in frills and pastels liking such a gruesome and violent genre? But I do!

I actually grew up listening to a classic rock radio station, tuning in every morning as my dad drove me to school. My favorite songs throughout elementary school included "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, "Voodoo" by Godsmack, "Thunderstruck" by ACDC, and "Werewolves of London" by Warren Zevon. Not typical 90s kid tunes. Oh I loved pop, and later emo and pop-punk. My group of friends listened to My Chemical Romance, Fallout Boy, Black Flag, Panic! at the Disco, and more in middle school. We were those kids.

But as I continued in high school, my love for classic rock and heavy rock resurfaced. My first serious boyfriend was a thrasher, a die-hard metal fan who took me to Slayer, Flogging Molly, and even Black Sabbath for my 18th birthday. It was with him that I started my first battle-jacket. 

Now, I have a complicated relationship with the metal community and the attitudes/conceptions that go with it. A lot of the music centers around violence. Some bands even include mutilated women in their lyrics and on their album covers. This aspect has always bothered me. But on the other hand, metalheads can be really chivalrous and feminist. Despite common misconceptions, these men are often kind  and will seriously knock out any punk who tries to molest or disrobe a woman in a mosh pit. I'm serious, it happens.

In addition to this disconnect between metal's lyrics and the actual members/fans, there seems to be a problem with women in metal. Many metalheads consider themselves to be feminists and adore their equally hardcore girlfriends and wives. However, most people see metal as a genre dominated by men - and don't think it should change. By this I mean that most fans I have talked to over the years agree that female singers have a "different" sound, that female vocalists don't sound as good as male ones do. Everything is black, grungy, and hard. There never seems to be room for femininity in the metal community.

As much as my ex-boyfriend loved that I loved his music, he saw me dying my battle-jacket bubblegum pink as weird. He thought that my idea of custom-embroidering the Slayer eagle logo for a backpatch with pastels and glittery thread was blasphemous. I didn't agree with that. I still think music can be and should be enjoyed by different types of people. I think that music is inherently creative and expressive, and constraining a music genre to a specific aesthetic with no room for growth and individual expression is suffocating and wrong. 

What do you think?

Now for the fun part of the post! This is what my battle-jacket looks like as of July 2015. I'm pretty proud of it, the mix between sugary sweetness and heavy music.

I understand some of my patches aren't "true metal", or even related to metal in any way. But as someone once told me: your jacket is an expression of your personality.

Last but not least, my newest patch (which didn't arrive in time to make the photos above) from Sugar Bones on Storenvy:

Be true to yourself, and don't let anyone try to limit you. You can express yourself any way you please!


  1. Hi Ashlyn :) I really adore this post, there's so much truth to it!
    It's so cool to know that there are fellow lolitas who like metal aswell!

    I myself am a singer of a metal band and agree that it's definitely true that our gender is a minority in this industry and that there is a certain conception of how metal fans should look like. I personally have made very positive experiences when wearing Lolita amongst metalheads. It might just be that the group of people I hang out with is very unprejudiced or rather everybody has a "crazy" hobby of their own, so they don't really judge me at all - I feel entirely accepted for who I am.

    It's sort of evolving slowly, but there actually are selected festivals which feature only female-fronted bands, which I think is quite cool! Still, when thinking about bigger festivals, there aren't too many women to perform on stage, hopefully that will change in the future too.

    I think it's fun to bring your sense of fashion and the music that you like together. I don't really mix much cute and metal stuff, I rather mix it with gothic or some boho elements; but my outfits always include some kind of headgear - a lot of the time bows or roses ;)

    1. Sorry for such a late response, I thought I had already posted a reply ages ago! 0:

      I really appreciate your comment, like you said - it's really neat to find other lolita metal-heads! I'm so glad you're accepted in your metal community, I know it can be hard to share your passions with people who don't appreciate it as much.

      I think I've only ever heard of one female-fronted festivals. I wish there were some near where I live, it was be really cool to attend!