Purposefully Feminizing Masculinity: Femininity in Male Rock and Metal Stars 1950s - 1980s
Traditionally in Western culture, men have had the privilege of promoting rebellion while women have had to be submissive and socially desirable. This expectation applied to all women but especially women in the rock ‘n’ roll scene. The overwhelming loudness of rock and the typical message of rebellion was connected to the power that men held within society.1 The combination of loud and fast paced music with the electronic nature of the instruments is what sets rock ‘n’ roll and metal apart from other genres. The attention that rock ‘n’ roll music demands, both from the challenging nature of the music’s messages and the difficulty in ignoring the volume was not rare in the mid-twentieth century in the Western world. Despite already holding power, some men wanted to gain more popularity or wealth by utilizing traditionally feminine presentations. Some artists who participated in establishing the genres of rock ‘n’ roll, glam rock, and hair metal blurred the lines between masculinity and femininity for their own personal gain. To identify how male artists in the 1950s - 1980s walked the line between masculine and feminine, this essay will look at traditionally feminine features, such as hairstyle and gender based physical presentation, as well as specific musical aspects, to show how masculine artists employed traditional feminine presentations.
"Purposefully Feminizing Masculinity: Femininity in Male Rock and Metal Stars 1950s - 1980s,"
The Compass: Vol. 1:
10, Article 4.
Available at: https://scholarworks.arcadia.edu/thecompass/vol1/iss10/4
American Popular Culture Commons, Gender and Sexuality Commons, Music Performance Commons, Performance Studies Commons