American Studies ETDs


Aurore Diehl

Publication Date



Despite women and girls making up a substantial portion of the audience and a small but increasing number of the musicians of heavy metal music, attention to their perspectives is frequently absent from scholarly treatments of the musical genre and its subculture. Feminist scholars writing about women musicians in popular music, likewise, seldom give much attention to female metal musicians. This is problematic because it excludes the voices of those women, many of whom are young and working-class, who have found the metal subculture to be a uniquely powerful venue for their self-expression. In my master's thesis, I will address this gap in the literature by analyzing the life narratives of three current or former female heavy metal musicians, a female fan, and a former groupie. My primary research question is: how do these writers view themselves in relation to heavy metal music and its communities of musicians and fans? Additional questions include: what motivated the authors to write their respective works of life narrative? What are some of the strategies developed by the authors for negotiating the male, and, in the case of the two non-white authors, racial gaze within the heavy metal subculture? How do they incorporate photographs and other visual elements into their texts as forms of evidence? And, what are some of the discourses that contribute to the general exclusion of the perspective of women in metal culture from metal scholarship and feminist scholarship of women in popular music?




gender studies, popular music, heavy metal music, women's studies, United States Popular culture and literature

Document Type


Degree Name

American Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

American Studies

First Advisor

Schreiber, Rebecca

First Committee Member (Chair)

Tiongson, Antonio

Second Committee Member

Melendez, A. Gabriel