Kerrang! magazine and the representation of heavy metal’s masculinity: A content analysis of Kerrang! cover images from 1981-1995.

Spawforth-Jones, Simon (2017) Kerrang! magazine and the representation of heavy metal’s masculinity: A content analysis of Kerrang! cover images from 1981-1995. In: 20th Century British Periodicals, 4th July 2017, University of Reading. (Unpublished)

Abstract

Kerrang! magazine is Britain’s longest running and most popular alternative music publication. The weekly magazine serves the UK rock and metal community and encapsulates a broad collection of sub-genres within rock and metal. Rock and (especially) heavy metal culture has been cited (Walser, 1993; Coates, 1997; Hill, 2011; Vasan, 2011) as being overtly masculinised and patriarchal and as such sustaining the same gender inequalities as mainstream culture (Schippers, 2002) yet the ways in which this masculinity is expressed through style and image is in many ways different to that of the mainstream. This content analysis explores images featured on the cover pages (a cross section) of Kerrang! magazine from 1981-1995 identifying the stylistic and performative features of masculinity within heavy metal culture as represented in Kerrang! magazine. Further analysis compares and contrasts these features with those presented in “mainstream” lifestyle and music publications of the time. The data presented reflects what Brown (2007) described as “everything louder than everything else” as being an identifying principle of heavy metal culture. In this sense “everything louder than everything else” also becomes a characteristic if heavy metal masculinity. The concluding discussion situates Kerrang! as being an influential force in the rock and metal lifestyle and through the beginnings of its operation (at the end of the 20th Century) has provided and continually enforced a model for the expression of masculine practices within the scene.

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