Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Metal Hammer Butcher Babies Poster Headdesk Incident

Yes, I'm still writing about Metal. Yes, I'll keep going until I run out of things to write about.Yes, other topics will no doubt intrude from time to time.

There are so many difficulties in critiquing a subculture from the outside that – you know what? – I'm going to explore it a lot more before I write the 'metal and gender politics' piece that's bubbling away at the back of my brain.

Having said that, I feel that I'm on fairly safe ground when I ask: Butcher Babies poster – WTF Metal Hammer?

Do a Google Image search for Butcher Babies - there's ... ah ... more striking images than this, to say the least.

I mean. Think band fronted by blood-spattered women with gaffer tape over their nipples. Think self-proclaimed 'slut core'. Think poster in a magazine aimed at a (with qualifications) mainly young male audience.

You might as well cut out the middleman and sell the fish in the barrel their own ammunition.

To be clear though, I'm not arguing on grounds of good taste, or of prudishness. Why would I need to use either when this is selling sexism pure and simple? A false, limiting equation of sexual license with empowerment. An alienating image to be dangling in front of either gender.

And for the record, I can imagine a context in which the BB's imagery wouldn't be exploitative. Where it might actually be an interesting comment on the commodification of sexuality. I'd be curious to know if the band are playing this card in their defense. If anyone can track down any interview statements to that effect, that would be interesting, but they're undermining their own case by playing to the boob gallery in Metal Hammer.

Perhaps strangely, I'm rather more disappointed with the magazine than the band. It's perhaps unfair to take Metal Hammer as a mirror of metal itself, mediated as it is through the imperative to sell copies. But what does it say about MH and (to some extent) the subculture itself, that this poster got through whatever ethical and aesthetic filters apply up in Asgard?


No comments:

Post a Comment