Female rock fans shout out: ‘I shouldn’t have to like pop just because I’m a girl’.

They rebut the perception that metal is rooted in sexism; if anything, Southcott contends, “boys think it’s cool that you’ve got good taste in music.” That attitude is trickling upwards to the bands themselves, according to James McMahon, editor of Kerrang! (which has a 51% female readership). “You can’t carry on like you’re in Mötley Crüe any more. When [ex-My Chemical Romance vocalist] Gerard Way got up at the Kerrang! awards this year, he scolded someone in the room for shouting “Get your tits out!” Twenty years ago, “get your tits out” would have been greeted with cheers, and now [a major star] says it’s not cool to say it – that wouldn’t have happened if those bands hadn’t broken through to a female audience.”

Hayley Williams, who fronts Kerrang! favourites Paramore, attributes metal’s popularity to “teenage girls dying for something that’s real. They want to hear other people singing or screaming about real human experiences. There’s always time for a good pop song, but at the end of the day, I want to relate and know that I’m not alone.”

Though commercial stations such as London’s Capital FM are sticking to playlists heavily dominated by EDM and pop, Radio 1 is responding. The station’s head of music George Ergatoudis, who said in 2011 his audience “have a pretty limited interest in indie/alternative guitar music”, did follow-up research last year, which indicated a strong appreciation of rock among teenage girls. “Gender stereotyping is a big part of the story here. There’s an expectation that girls will like pop and R&B, but there are plenty of girls who don’t want to be within that stereotype. Rock has appeal: a rebellious subculture,” he says. “Because a very sizeable proportion of our audience is into rock, we’re moving Dan [Carter] to a better spot – prime radio real estate.”

It’s likely he won’t regret it. As Bennett says: “I went to Radio 1 Rocks [a series of gigs promoted by the station in June] and it was full of young girls. The minimum age was 16, and there were girls outside crying because they couldn’t get in.”

Female rock fans shout out: ‘I shouldn’t have to like pop just because I’m a girl’.


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