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“Heavy” Metal March 14, 2007

Posted by Rob Anne in Uncategorized.
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So, I was fiddling with my YouTube account and I randomly decided to sample a Kittie song. For those of you who don’t know, Kittie is a Canadian all-girl heavy metal band that found popularity in the late nineties. When I was younger I thought they were scary, but now I find them quite tame. Now, let me point out that 95% of metal music lyrics rarely deals with relationships. It’s all about politics or ethereal/religious imagery or personal crises – but hardly ever about love. So when I put on the video for “Charlotte”, I was taken aback by the nature of the song and the images on screen.

Lyrics:

so, i’m nothing
you took something from me
now you’ve disappeared
you’re right where i want you
you said you wanted it, alright
no, it’s not alright{3x} no…
now i’m something
& your head is in my closet
dead forever, they’ll never search
he’s out of sight
no! it’s not alright {3x} no…
i’m cold, so cold {2x}
i’m numb
they’ll find it {2x}
no, no way! {4x}

A woman’s revenge narrative…in a heavy metal song? In a way, I felt betrayed. Here are these groundbreaking women in a an INTENSELY MALE-DOMINATED musical genre and they have to go and write a song about a woman scorned – as though women rockers couldn’t do anything else. Maybe that’s okay for fair like Alanis Morrisette (and believe me, I love Alanis), but metal is made of a different substance. You can argue with me and say Kittie is just giving metal a different voice, the female voice, but I think by incorporating the same old “woman scorned” schtick into the music, they’re really just bringing it down and bringing down the image of other female metal musicians who don’t go down that tired old route. It’s feeding into men’s idea that women can’t participate in metal because the only thing they can bring to the music is cliche “woman stuff”. We have more to talk about then the men in our lives! Why must women power always be forced down my throat with these trite motifs, even through something as disconnected from the mainstream as metal?

The video infuriates me. Of course the only way the woman of the band can make is statement is by showing a nearly naked “fallen angel” – the villainous heart-breaker – running from a pack of innocent, young (and angry) girls. I don’t understand couldn’t have chosen something less banal in both video direction and lyrics. Can’t a woman in metal be popular without being forcing herself to fit the standards of what female musicians are expected to be? How disappointing.

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