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!