Grunting Alone? Online Gender Inequality in Extreme Metal Music


  • Julian Schaap
  • Pauwke Berkers IASPM Benelux



Extreme metal, gender, tokenism, YouTube, scenes, vocal covers


The global metal scene is a highly skewed field of cultural production in which women are greatly under-represented. As tokens, women are likely to be subjected to gender-biased evaluations, the male gaze, and are held accountable when breaking gender roles. This paper investigates the online gender dynamics in extreme metal by conducting a content analysis of the comments on videos of females (and males) performing ‘vocal covers’ on YouTube. Surprisingly, men and women tend to be evaluated along similar lines, suggesting the possibility that women might utilize the Internet for individual music production to circumvent offline gender inequality.

Author Biographies

Julian Schaap

PhD candidate Erasmus University Rotterdam ESHCC/Arts and Culture Studies

Pauwke Berkers, IASPM Benelux

Assistant Professor Sociology of Art and Culture Erasmus University Rotterdam ESHCC/Arts and Culture Studies


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