Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Mathieu Deflem


This thesis analyzes gender dynamics in the heavy metal subculture by means of interviews with fans of this musical genre. Based on research that shows that (male) homosocial environments, denoting non-romantic social bonds among people of the same (male) sex, lead to hegemonic masculinity and the possibility of violence against women, this study focused on the heavy metal subculture from the point of view of its members’ experiences related to gender. The theoretical framework of this thesis is based on feminist theories of gender difference and its relevance for the sociology of gender. Specifically, I rely on theories of othering, doing gender, and objectification to explore gender issues in the contemporary heavy metal subculture. In order to uncover the experiences of members of this subculture, I conducted semi-structured interviews of a total of twenty men and women who identified as fans of heavy metal. The findings show that the participants in this study describe the subculture as male dominated, where female fans especially earn respect through the aggressive act of moshing. Females sometimes also use defensive othering to discuss female fans that flash. The participants generally describe the subculture as changing positively for women.

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Sociology Commons