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Just Don’t Call Them Banshees

November 2, 2010

As a fledgling adult, metal let me feel the kind of rage I’d been conditioned not to express since I first started having emotions. Sit up straight. Cross your legs. Don’t sass. Part of this likely comes from my own upbringing, yes, but many cultures also have a deep-seated revulsion for – and fear of – women’s anger. Men are allowed to get angry, and express that anger, in far-reaching ways all the time. They can bomb things and break stuff (and the old standbys of rape and pillage), but if we do that, we’re cold-hearted bitches. They can rant on cable TV, but if we do that, we’re irrational. Women aren’t supposed to get mad – we’re supposed to not take things so seriously. We’re not supposed to express frustration or rage. And when we do, it’s probably because we’re on the rag, so no one is supposed to take us seriously. There, there honey. Don’t overreact. Do you need a Valium?

So, maybe metal is therapy for all those former good girls out there who just need to sit comfortably for a change. Whether as fans or musicians, through metal women are permitted to express anger (rage, hate, vengeance, agony, lust and other “extreme” emotions, too), and join others in chorus. And this anger isn’t tied to culturally prescribed norms – women in metal bands aren’t limited to yelling about their periods or screaming at exes. The genre frees female performers to express anger and aggression for things beyond our bodies and our experiences, but also doesn’t limit us from doing that, too, if we want.

But the next time I hear a female metal vocalist described as a banshee I’m probably going to lose it. Women expressing anger does not herald that you’re about to die. You’ll be okay if we’re mad, I promise. We promise we won’t attack or lead you to your doom. Unless truly provoked. Maybe that “hell hath no fury” adage holds some truth, and that’s why everyone’s so afraid.

Morla, the ancient one

3 Comments leave one →
  1. prettyinblack permalink
    November 10, 2010 7:06 pm

    Can I just say I ❤ you for this blog alone?


  2. anonymousrex permalink
    August 24, 2011 12:37 am

    Calling a female singer a banshee seems totally rad and metal to me, more a compliment than anything

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