The Media and the Imaginary Community

  • Rosemary Lucy Hill
Chapter
Part of the Pop Music, Culture and Identity book series (PMCI)

Abstract

This chapter investigates how Kerrang! magazine, a key part of the metal media, creates an imaginary community of hard rock and metal fans. Using semiotic analysis, the author extrapolates four myths that are forged in the letters pages: two that are presented by the magazine as being common sense values of the community (equality and authenticity) and two that are less obvious, the groupie and the warrior, which determine how women and men are portrayed. These myths work together to depict the imaginary community as ideologically invested in maintaining the masculinity of the genre at the expense of femininity. Hill argues that dominant representations of women in the imaginary community render them as adjuncts to the real members of the community—the men—and this has damaging consequences.

References

  1. Adorno, Theodor W., and Max Horkheimer. 1997 [1944]. Dialectic of Enlightenment. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, Benedict. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Rev. and extended ed. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  3. Barker, Clive. 1987. Hellraiser. Entertainment.Google Scholar
  4. Barthes, Roland. 2009 [1957]. Mythologies. Translated by Annette Lavers. London: Vintage.Google Scholar
  5. Becca In Norwich. 2007. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 23 June.Google Scholar
  6. Boden, Sarah. 2006. Nobody Likes Us. We Care. Observer Music Monthly, December.Google Scholar
  7. Boyle, Karen. 2015. Hiding in Plain Sight: Sexism as Disguise in the Jimmy Savile Case. FWSA Biennial Conference, Leeds, 9–11 September.Google Scholar
  8. Brill, Dunja. 2008. Goth Culture: Gender, Sexuality and Style. Oxford: Berg.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, Andy R. 2007. Everything Louder Than Everything Else. Journalism Studies 8(4): 642–655.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, Andy R. 2009. ‘Girls Like Metal, Too!’: Female Reader’s Engagement with the Masculinist Ethos of the Tabloid Metal Magazine. Heavy Metal and Gender International Congress, Cologne University of Music and Dance, 10 October.Google Scholar
  11. Campaign. 2006. Magazine ABCs Jan–Jun 2006: Film and Music. Last modified 25 August. http://www.brandrepublic.com/Campaign/News/589406/Magazine
  12. ———. 2008. Media: Double Standards—There’s Much More to Music Television than MTV. Accessed 27 October 2008. http://www.brandrepublic.com/Campaign/Features/Analysis/779641/Media-Double-Standards---Theres-music-television-MTV/
  13. Clifford-Napoleone, Amber. 2015b. Queerness in Heavy Metal Music: Metal Bent. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Cline, Cheryl. 1992. Essays from Bitch: The Women’s Rock Newsletter with Bite. In Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, ed. Lisa A. Lewis, 69–83. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Coates, Norma. 1997. (R)evolution Now? Rock and the Political Potential of Gender. In Sexing the Groove: Popular Music and Gender, ed. Sheila Whiteley, 50–64. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2003. Teenyboppers, Groupies, and Other Grotesques: Girls and Women and Rock Culture in the 1960s and Early 1970s. Journal of Popular Music Studies 15(1): 65–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Connell, Raewyn. 1995. Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  18. Connor, Kevin. 1980. Motel Hell. United Artists.Google Scholar
  19. Dabner, David. 2004. Graphic Design School: The Principles and Practices of Graphic Design. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
  20. Davies, Helen. 2001. All Rock and Roll is Homosocial: The Representation of Women in the British Rock Music Press. Popular Music 20(3): 301–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Delfino, Robert A. 2007. Justice for All? Metallica’s Argument Against Napster and Internet File Sharing. In Metallica and Philosophy: A Crash Course in Brain Surgery, ed. William Irwin, 232–244. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  22. Des Barres, Pamela, ed. 2007. Let’s Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies. London: Helter Skelter Publishing.Google Scholar
  23. Elliott. 2007. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 2 June.Google Scholar
  24. Fetterley, Judith. 1978. The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction. London: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Forrest, Rebecca. 2010. Mud Shark: Groupies and the Construction of the Heavy Metal Rock God. In The Metal Void: First Gatherings, eds. Niall W.R. Scott, and Imke Von Helden, 135–148. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.Google Scholar
  26. Frith, Simon. 1983. Sound Effects: Youth, Leisure, and the Politics of Rock. London: Constable.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 2007. The Unpopular and the Unpleasant: Thoughts Inspired by the Work of James Blunt. New Directions in Popular Culture Conference, Leeds, 21 March.Google Scholar
  28. Frost, Chris. 2003. Designing for Newspapers and Magazines. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Gill, Rosalind. 2007. Gender and the Media. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  30. ———. 2011. Sexism Reloaded, or, It’s Time to Get Angry Again! Feminist Media Studies 11(1): 61–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hall, Stuart. 1973. Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. Birmingham: The University of Birmingham.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 1980. Encoding/Decoding. In Culture, Media, Language, eds. Stuart Hall, Dorothy Hobson, Andrew Love, and Paul Willis, 128–138. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  33. ———, ed. 1997. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Milton Keynes: The Open University.Google Scholar
  34. Hill, Rosemary Lucy. 2011. Is Emo Metal? Gendered Boundaries and New Horizons in the Metal Community. Journal for Cultural Research 15(3): 297–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hooper, Tobe. 1974. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Bryanston Pictures.Google Scholar
  36. Huyssen, Andreas. 1986. After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism. Basingstoke: Macmillan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hynds, Ernest C. 1992. Editorial Page Editors Discuss Use of Letters. Newspaper Research Journal 13: 124–136.Google Scholar
  38. Kahn-Harris, Keith. 2007. Extreme Metal: Music and Culture on the Edge. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  39. Karen. 2007. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 30 June.Google Scholar
  40. Kelly, Liz. 1987. The Continuum of Sexual Violence. In Women, Violence and Social Control, eds. Jalna Hanmer, and Mary Maynard, 46–60. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kerouac, Jack. 2001 [1957]. On the Road. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  42. King, Stacey. 2001. Magazine Design that Works: Secrets for Successful Magazine Design. Gloucester: Massachusetts Rockport Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
  43. Kruse, Holly. 2002. Abandoning the Absolute: Transcendence and Gender in Popular Music Discourse. In Pop Music and the Press, ed. Steve Jones, 134–155. Philedelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Lisa. 2001. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 23 June.Google Scholar
  45. Little Harry Hardcore. 2007. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 2 June.Google Scholar
  46. Lowe, Melanie. 2003. Colliding Feminisms: Britney Spears, ‘Tweens,’ and the Politics of Reception. Popular Music and Society 26(2): 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Marcus, Greil. 1976. Mystery Train. New York: Dutton.Google Scholar
  48. Martínez, Katynka Z. 2008. Real Women and their Curves: Letters to the Editor and a Magazine’s Celebration of the “Latina Body”. In Latina/o Communication Studies Today, ed. Angharad N. Valdivia, 137–159. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc..Google Scholar
  49. McLeod, Kembrew. 2002. Between Rock and a Hard Place: Gender and Rock Criticism. In Pop Music and the Press, ed. Steve Jones, 93–113. Philedelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Millie. 2007. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 2 June.Google Scholar
  51. nads6666. 2002. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 29 June.Google Scholar
  52. Nordström, Susanna, and Marcus Herz. 2013. ‘It’s a Matter of Eating or Being Eaten.’ Gender Positioning and Difference Making in the Heavy Metal Subculture. European Journal of Cultural Studies 16(4): 453–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Sands, Sarah. 2006. Emo Cult Warning for Parents. The Daily Mail, 16 August.Google Scholar
  54. Schippers, Mimi. 2002. Rockin’ Out of the Box: Gender Maneuvering in Alternative Hard Rock. London: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Shirazi, Roxana. 2010. The Last Living Slut: Born in Iran, Bred Backstage. New York: itbooks.Google Scholar
  56. Small Hyper Blonde. 2001. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 2 June.Google Scholar
  57. Someone else. 2000. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 10 June.Google Scholar
  58. The Voice of the Next Generation. 2000. Letter to the Editor. Kerrang!, 17 June.Google Scholar
  59. Thornton, Sarah. 1995. Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  60. Trafford, Simon, and Aleks Pluskowski. 2007. Antichrist Superstars: The Vikings in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. In Mass Market Medieval: Essays on the Middle Ages in Popular Culture, ed. David W. Marshall, 57–73. Jefferson: McFarland & Co.Google Scholar
  61. Twersky, Lori. 1981. Devils or Angels? The Female Teenage Audience Examined. In Rock She Wrote: Women Write About Rock, Pop, and Rap, eds. Evelyn McDonnell, and Ann Powers, 177–183. New York: Delta.Google Scholar
  62. Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin. 2002. Understanding the Conditions for Public Discourse: Four Rules for Selecting Letters to the Editor. Journalism Studies 3(1): 69–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Wallace, Tommy Lee. 1990. Stephen King’s It. Warner Bros. Television.Google Scholar
  64. Walser, Robert. 1993. Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music. Hannover, NH: University Press of New England.Google Scholar
  65. Weiss, Penny A., and M. Friedman. 1995. Feminism and Community. Philedelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Westen, Peter. 1982. The Empty Idea of Equality. Harvard Law Review 95(3): 537–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Williams, Megan E. 2009. “Meet the Real Lena Horne”: Representations of Lena Horne in Ebony Magazine, 1945–1949. Journal of American Studies 43(1): 117–130.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Williams, Sarah F. 2007. A Walking Open Wound: Emo Rock and the “Crisis” of Masculinity in America. In Oh Boy! Masculinities and Popular Music, ed. Freya Jarman-Ivens, 145–160. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosemary Lucy Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Sociology and Social PolicyUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

Personalised recommendations