Robert Walser ‘Forging Masculinity: Heavy Metal Sounds and Images of Gender'

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Robert Walser’s main argument in the article ‘Forging Masculinity: Heavy Metal Sounds and Images of Gender is that heavy metal can and has traditionally been seen as ‘male music’ (Walser, Robert. 1993. Forging Masculinity: Heavy Metal Sounds and Images of Gender. Running With the Devil. Wesleyan University Press.), but the reason for this is much more complex than simple masculine and patriarchal dominance. Walser states that although the genre is dominated by male performers, the audience of metal listeners in recent years consists of male and female fans in approximately equal numbers (Walser 1993) He makes the argument that even with the overt masculine connotations associated with the genre; it continues to cultivate devoted female fans, especially in bands that embrace the visual style of “glam” rock (Walser 1993). Artists who perform “glam” rock go against the traditional conventions of masculinity by wearing makeup, styling their hair in ‘feminine’ hairstyles and wearing ‘feminine’ clothing (Walser 1993). They still manage to retain their masculinity through their music and their behaviour on stage even while performing their identities in this way. One of the main points that Walser makes throughout the article is that the metal genre emphasises male relationships. He states that females are often seen as threats to the relationships that men have with each other and to their control. He uses the Judas Priest music video ‘Heading Out to the Highway’ as an example. The video consists of members of the band drag racing in the desert as the lead singer rocks out, performing to the viewer (Walser 1993). There are no women in this video, only men racing cars dressed in leather jackets, symbols that Walser likens to freedom and power (Walser 1993). Walser references the works of John Fiske and Barbara Ehrenreich to support this argument. He applies Fiske’s ideas

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