Young Women Turning Metal Songs Into Feminist Anthems (or something?)

I’m a person who listens to all sorts of rock, from soft like Christopher Cross to country style like Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles to Southern rock to straight rock to acid rock to hard rock to metal. New Wave, punk, you name it, I listen to artists from all those genres of rock. My favorite band of all time is Rush. I listen to some country, some folk (I love Arlo Guthrie), some classical. Even some newer pop stuff. I mostly avoid Today’s (s)Hit Music, rap and hip hop. I also avoid some rock where they’ve sold out. But, I truly love metal. All types. So, I find this interesting

‘Dancing femininely is the most metal thing’: the young women turning Slipknot into feminist anthems

Not Slipknot

At first listen, a song with violent and sexual imagery seems like an unlikely anthem for women who dressed up to see the Barbie movie. But many on TikTok are claiming Custer, by the nu metal band Slipknot, as a feminist anthem.

In TikTok videos, “girly pop” creators who celebrate dressing up, doing their makeup, and enjoying the fluffiness of girlhood are twerking along to the loud and aggressive metal track.

The videos are part thirst trap, part protest, as the women move provocatively to the music. Videos that use the song have been viewed over 94m times on TikTok, and the new popularity has hit Spotify, too, where Custer has over 166m streams, making it one of the band’s five most-played tracks.

Mash-up videos pair the song with the Macarena, or Barbie Girl, Aqua’s 1997 dance-pop hit, to add to the girlish irreverence. Nu metal may have long been associated with lonely young white men, but these songs of alienation and depression have since become beloved by gen Z fans of all kinds.

Let’s be clear on something: metal is a look, not an attitude. For those of you old enough to remember early Punk, they would tell you that Punk was an attitude, not a look. Most metal fans just love the music. It’s not who they are. You wouldn’t recognize a goodly chunk of the metal artists on the street. It’s just fun. It’s not about anger, depression, lonely young white men, etc. And you’ll find that metal fans tend to listen to a wide variety of music. The question on the young women who are doing this to Custer (good song) is “do they like the music, or is this just a fad, like so much of TikTok?” I’m hoping it them liking the song, because maybe then the youngsters will start listening to real music, not this corporate produced garbage.

“We’ve been called ‘posers’, ‘pick me’s’, ‘thots’ and ‘hoes’,” Blossom and Nela, the two sisters who make up the Miami-based indie band ELAZ, told the Guardian. “Women who present themselves in a hyper-feminine manner while enjoying alternative music are often targeted with hate.”

So in March, the sisters danced around their practice space while blasting the song Custer, their moves less moshing and more Miley Cyrus. It was a message to male gatekeepers that they posted on TikTok: girls can like Slipknot, too.

No one said they couldn’t. Women are more than welcome into the metal “fraternity”. Probably the biggest metal show in the world is by Jackie Kajzer, who hosts Full Metal Jackie, which I listen to all the time on iHeart Radio. She’s very well respected in the metal world. But, you know what? I’ll tolerate this kind of GenZ attitude if it gets them to listen to real music.

Kyra Robinson, a 23-year-old from Newcastle, UK, loves metal shows. She’s usually found moshing in the pit. While watching Slipknot headline this year’s Download festival, Robinson and friends found themselves further back in the crowd. They had room to film a dance video, so the three women threw their hands in the air, swaying their hips side to side with the beat. Though Slipknot did not play Custer that night, Robinson later posted a TikTok with the song playing over their moves.

Good for her and her friends. Unfortunately, metal has largely been something that not that many women listen to, but, they are more than welcome. I’ve been to Judas Priest shows where there are lots of women and Dream Theater where it is mostly guys.

The sisters say what matters more is the amount of women who are making their own TikToks and feel free to express themselves. As they put it: “It’s important for girls and women to feel seen in the metal scene so that they can fully embrace their love for the music without feeling like outsiders.”

I hope they all attend concerts and listen to tons of metal over the decades, since really the first, true metal album, Black Sabbath’s self titled album released in 1970. If doing TikToks gets them into real music, go for it. Also, women have been dancing to metal since the 70’s.

Hopefully the size self-modifies when posted, because huge in editing screen

Whatevs. Just enjoy the music. Here’s one of my latest favorites

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