VPMC83 Walser.doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Music and Culture
Ken Mc Leod

Forging Masculinity: Heavy-Metal Sounds and Images of Gender Orpheus -known for his rhetorical powers -elaborate vocal display threatens masculine self-control -flamboyant display represents manipulative power, but also results in object of display -similar to emotionality of women -western constructions of masculinity: spectacular display, self-control -spectacles maintain women’s position as object Heavy Metal -stages fantasies of masculine virtuosity and control -music depends on power of control and transcendent freedom -vocal extremes, guitar power chords, sheer volume of bass and drums -hypermasculinity/ androgyny in visual performance -topics include mythology, violence, madness, and iconography of horror -address anxiety, such as television show “The A-Team” -present images and confront anxieties -shaped by patriarchy and capitalism -audience is mostly male teenagers that lack social, physical, and economic power -Fiske: insecurity of masculinity results in the achievement and emphasis of masculinity in heavy metal -Walser: sex roles as social construction rather than normative formation -provide occasions for identity work, accomplishing gender -confirmation and alteration of gendered identities through involvement -genre: organize reproduction of a particular ideology -stories of nature of masculinity in heavy metal -anxieties of gender and power are not resolved open to negotiation and transformation -social circumstances may change that a form of culture is no longer relevant as metal deals with experience of powerlessness -maturity lessens the culturally-produced anxieties -offer contradictions of masculinity that is constructed by societies on the basis of patriarchy, capitalism, and mass-mediation -misogyny, exscription (denial of gender anxieties by portraying homoerotic bonding), androgyny, romance -rock’s tradition of rebellion -romance attracts more female fans -gender construction -produce patriarchal assumptions and ideologies, conflicts and legitimacy of cultural activity Behind the Screen: Listening to Gender Kaplan’s study of music video “Rocking Around the Clock” -nihilistic category -violence and rebelliousness -blatant sexism -Walser: sexism is the result of urgency and influence of patriarchal ideals -Kaplan’s comments are consistent with ethnographic or personal contact with heavy-metal musicians -spectacular reinforcement in music video may be a limitation in interpretation -music video is not the most important involvement of fans in metal music -neglect the analysis of music itself -music has the primary affective charge -music seems natural and unconstructed, away from social referents -musical meanings are inseparable from social reality -music videos cannot be reasonably be analyzed without the musical component -important to find meaning in text No Girls Allowed: Exscription in Heavy Metal -spectacle of live performance in music video -experience of collectivity and participation -concert setting reinforces feelings of community and power -male bonding in a hero-team social relationship -Ehrenreich: growing up for men means growing away from women -Fiske: male bonding creates close social ties and excludes threat of feminine -interpersonal dependency that is goal centered, but not relationship centered -exscription of women promotes masculine performance and independence -emphasize performative Judas Priest’s “Heading out to the Highway” -images of male freedom and adventure -absence of women -signs of aggressiveness and refusal to be bound by limits -display of power in singing technique -spectacle of male potency Gay Metal Society (GMS) -see metal videos as erotic fantasies -homoerotic implications vs. power and freedom -mutual erotic pleasure rarely appears in the lyrics of heavy metal -prevent men from danger of pleasure, loss of control -seduction of women triggers desire -presence of women as sex objects stabilizes the suggestion of homoeroticism The Kiss of Death: Misogyny and the Male Victim -blatant abuse of women is uncommon in metal videos -violence as prohibitions of eroticism -metaphor for passion when explicit depiction of sexual activity is banned -porn stabilizes male authority -submissiveness of women without use of violence -heavy metal relies less on physical violence than hegemonic representations -discourses of male victimization, exscription, androgyny, and power to adapt patriarchy are reasons for the absence of overt violence -Dokken’s femme fatale: narratives of male victimization -women as both pleasure and dread -threat of their attractiveness disrupts male self-control and collective strength of male bonding “Heaven sent” -construct victimization through images of constraint and struggle -repetition of a pair of open fifths that lack sustain and distortion -synco
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