Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies

First Advisor

Armando Arias


This study analyzes the dynamics of the heavy metal subculture through the lens of gender. Through fieldwork in the heavy metal culture, themes of discrimination against women were made notable. The sociology of gender, both subtle and conspicuous, was used as a theoretical basis for this research. The purpose of this paper is to study relevant aspects of gender in the contemporary heavy metal subculture. I conducted ten interviews with self-described fans of the music genre, as well as thirty participant observations in the environment in which they dwell. Themes of sexualization and ostracization based on gender expression were apparent. I applied the theory of othering by Simone De Beauvoir and “doing gender” theory by Zimmerman and West in order to examine gender issues within this subculture. To uncover the experiences of members in heavy metal community, I analyzed qualitative data that is ethnographic in nature. My findings revealed aggressive othering based on individual gender expression, specifically negative attitudes toward femininity. Although many participants reported negative aspects of the metal scene, they still reported a strong connectedness to the culture as a whole. This paper emphasizes the effects of hypermasculinity on women in the heavy metal subculture.

Included in

Sociology Commons