Once upon a time, there was a lot of pressure on metalhead to look the part. Teased hair, leather jackets, denim vests (with back patches, of course), and merch out the wazoo were nearly ubiquitous.
That was the ’80s though, and these days you can’t find a leather jacket for less than the cost of a used car. Some of the more affluent folks have shown off their metal status in other ways — piercings, corporate-unfriendly stretched lobes, tattoos, asymmetrical haircuts, etc. — but it seems, at least among adults, that metal-themed ostentation has died down significantly.
Why, then, are pockets of us still so concerned with how we look?
I have gotten the side-eye for going to a metal hangout wearing insufficiently “metal” clothes, and I’ve seen other plain-clothes patrons get the same treatment. On one occasion, I went to Duff’s after a job interview and was playfully ribbed by friends who were also dressed plainly. (I fully acknowledge that our collective plainness made their jokes funnier.) Why should I dress up just to show my face in a metal venue though? Isn’t my presence “cred” enough? (Don’t answer that.)
There’s a pin on my purse that reads, “This is what a feminist looks like.” It’s been on my purse as I had long flowing hair, earrings, and fancy dresses — it’s been there as I had a minifro, a baggy King Giant t-shirt, ratty jeans, and skate shoes. The message is clear though — feminists come in all shapes, sizes, colors, genders, and presentations. Metalheads do too though, so why are we still hung up on image?