The concept of girlfriend metal irks me both as a female metaller, and as a girlfriend. My long-suffering love would never dream of questioning my metal cred (and knows better than to try and drag me to a Kylesa show with him) because he knows me. And also respects me. That's the underlying issue — respect, and the giving/receiving thereof. There are still some Neanderthallic metalheads out there who honestly can't believe that they're not the only ones who dig the heavy, and when confronted with a set of knockers in a Pentagram shirt, can react only with suspicion or clumsy come-ons.

If girlfriend metal only encompasses the beardy, melodic, sub-hipster styles, then how do you explain the legions of leather 'n' spiked ladies I raged alongside at Nuclear War Now! Fest in Berlin, or the front-row females for Nunslaughter and Dead Congregation at Maryland Deathfest? I wonder what Jo Bench from Bolt Thrower, Liz Buckingham of Electric Wizard, the ladies of Japanese grinders Flagitious Idiosyncrasy in the Dilapidation, or the Iraqi black-metaller Anahita (who risks death for railing against Islam in her projects Seeds of Iblis and Janaza, and is one of the bravest, truest metallers out there) would think of girlfriend metal?

It's time to grow up and move the fuck over, boys. Girls do like metal, and some of us like it even more than you do.

Kim Kelly is a heavy-metal publicist and writer who blogs at, where an early version of this article originally appeared.

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