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Title: Representations and experiences of women hard rock and metal fans in the imaginary community
Author: Hill, Rosemary Lucy
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis questions dominant representations of women hard rock and metal fans, and contributes to the undeveloped area of scholarship on women’s pleasure in music. I address the questions: how does the metal media represent women fans?; what is the impact of that representation?; and what can a consideration of women’s musical pleasure tell us? I work within the fields of popular music, subcultures, gender and metal studies and build upon feminist studies of rock music (e.g., Schippers 2002, Fast 1999 and Wise 1984). The research sits alongside feminist work exploring the pleasures of metal (Overell 2010, Riches 2011), and Brown’s work on metal media (2007, 2009). A new framework, the imaginary community, allows a consideration of the gendered ideology of the genre and takes into account private modes of fandom. To establish the ideology I examined letters pages in a key hard rock and metal medium, Kerrang! magazine, between 2000-8. Drawing on Barthes’ Mythologies (1957), I employed a semiotic analysis to expose the representation of women through myths. Using this representation as a comparative tool, I conducted interviews with women fans who liked bands featured in Kerrang!. I analysed the discourses mobilised in their responses to questions about their participation in communal and private activities (e.g. magazine reading, concert attendance); their interpretations of the groupie stereotype; and their preferences for particular bands. I argue that women fans are misrepresented as groupies and this impacts upon women’s ability to express their fandom. Considering women’s pleasure in the music draws out the ways in which women’s fandom challenges both the myth of the woman fan as groupie, and the reading of metal as a masculine genre. I conclude that exploring women’s fandom can provide fresh perspectives on hard rock and metal: we must be prepared to take women’s fandom seriously.
Supervisor: Kaloski-Naylor, Ann Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available