My name is Ellie.
My name is Ellie. I like high heels, reading fashion magazines, Ryan Gosling movies – and Slipknot. What do you think of when I say ‘heavy metal’? Screaming men with long hair and tattoos, thugs with necks thicker than their heads?
What about the ladies? I’m not talking about Goth sirens in ridiculous corsets, or the token pop-punk girl who’s just ‘one of the lads’. I mean women – who embrace their feminine side and wield it like a weapon.
Forget about the corporate world, the ratio of women to men in metal music is incredibly low, but Rock and Roll girls have come down from the stripper poles in the back of music videos and are taking centre stage. They’re saying everything we should be teaching girls; how to be confident, strong, independent and happy. They’re fighting their corner in a world saturated with big angry men with big loud voices and they’re coming out on top.
I have a wardrobe bursting with skinny jeans, shiny dresses, ripped t-shirts, boxes of lip-glosses and band hoodies. I’m just as happy drinking cocktails in a trendy bar as standing on a sticky floor and being crushed by a few hundred other rock lovers at a dive bar gig. So I want a role model who is hard as nails and can drink her boyfriend under the bed, but still knows how to rock a mini-dress and great hair.
Screaming up a storm
Lzzy Hale, who fronts the metal band Halestorm, is all woman. Charming and gorgeous, she owns the stage with a voice that snarls, screams, whispers and enchants with every song, and looks great as she does so, whether in studded leather shorts or figure hugging dresses.
If you don’t think she can rock with the big boys just listen to Halestorm’s cover of Judas Priest’s Dissident Aggressor or Dio’s Straight through the Heart. Forget about having the voice of angel, that kind of power only comes from shady crossroad deals with a red guy and his horns.
But then there are the gut punching rock stompers of Love Bites (And So Do I) and Daughters of Darkness which ooze with feminine wit, unbreakable spirit and sing-along choruses demanding respect from the first beat. They are anthems for girls who don’t feel at home with the syrupy girl power of Beyoncé and Katy Perry, a huge screw you from everyone who was ignored or bullied for her baggy Iron Maiden t-shirt. “You call me a freak like that means something.”
It’s Lzzy’s voice I want to hear when I need a boost to do those last ten push-ups, send off those last few job applications, or drag myself out of bed and into class at nine am.
Don’t fear the metal family
Maybe there’s less pressure on metal-heads to be great role models, since we already have a terrible reputation for drinking, drugs, Satan worship… pretty much anything bad you can think of. I spent a good few teenage years assuring my mother I wasn’t in a cult.
Even now, when I pack my rucksack for Download festival every summer, I think she still needs a bit of convincing. We might look a little weird, with our tattoos and chains and neon hair but deep down we’re friendly and are just so excited to share our love of the dark side with you. It’s a family that crosses continents to pick you up when you fall down in the pit.
Metal is a genre which has always been feared, ridiculed and misunderstood, with a reputation for being a man’s world, but that’s all changing. Lzzy Hale is just one example of the amazing women tearing through the metal ranks, with sisters in arms including Taylor Momsen, Laura Jane Grace and Jenna McDougall to name a few.
Proud to be women, they embody the heart and soul of heavy metal music: Standing up to the people who make you feel small, taking control of your life and rising above those who try to push you down. These are messages we want every young girl to learn.
And let’s face it, we were wearing leather trousers and studded boots before Topshop ever told us it was trendy.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: Will Kromah