Sexism in Classic Rock magazine

This is a letter I wrote to Scott Rowley – the Editor in Chief of Classic Rock magazine. Hopefully I will get a reply, but we will see.

Dear Classic Rock,

I wanted to get in touch to convey my disappointment that Classic Rock is still pandering to lazy visuals of half naked women to sell your product. I’ve been a subscriber of Classic Rock magazine for several years, and find the journalism for the most part to be of a very high quality and very interesting, apart from the need to describe Nico as being ‘ball-achingly beautiful’, as I came across a few issues back. What difference does it make how much she makes a man’s balls ache? Have you ever had a female journalist describing a male rock star as being so hot he makes her ovaries ache? I don’t think so. Just imagine reading that and thinking how pathetic and juvenile that sounds, and that is exactly how I felt about that sentence.

As surprising as this may sound, women such as myself do read this magazine as well as men. However, I open the latest issue to find that even though a lot of effort has clearly been put into compiling the new CD Shoot To Thrill, the cover of a model thrusting her tits out and with little more than a studded belt to cover her groin is frankly quite pathetic. Why is this needed? Yes I want to hear about new bands, yes, being a magazine editor myself I understand that you want to inject some excitement into it, but this sort of ‘let’s get a woman in her underwear on the front’ choice surely is just getting embarrassing. Why is the classic rock award the statue of a naked woman? Seriously – please tell me why. Do you think only 15 year old boys read this magazine? All I can imagine is that you were all sat round a table and somebody said: ‘Well, rock fans like breasts, so let’s just get some breasts involved.’ I’ve got a pair of breasts, they’re really not that exciting.

I know fully well that you are aware that women like metal and rock as well – yes we are a minority compared to men in these genres, but why does this mean that we have to be subjected to this? I know there is still this misogynistic streak that unfortunately still prevails amongst a minority of men who are in the metal world, and I have heard some truly horrible comments about women from men at metal gigs, but I also know that this view is held by a few pathetic, childish men who can’t handle the fact that women are as perfectly entitled to enjoy heavy music as much as they are. This is why it disappoints me so much that a mainstream rock magazine like Classic Rock can’t seem to move on from women being there to get her cleavage out.

I feel we are under-represented in this magazine, and not just under-represented, but patronised and reduced to a mere caricature of tits and lips. On page 13 you have a Lucy Hellings as a highlighted contributor, and then I look at the new supplement and again it’s just more models getting their perfect bodies out. Come on!! Give me real women in metal – there are some fantastic bands out with women in like Royal Thunder, Alunah and In This Moment just to mention a few. I want to know what they think, not just to see how hot they look in a leather corset.

If you think I’m over reacting, just look at the Metal Hammer awards earlier this year. What was the need for the women on stage whose sole purpose was to walk the winner from the curtain on the edge of the stage to the middle of the stage? Really – that was necessary was it? Did you think Corey Taylor was going to get lost halfway across the stage and wander into the drum riser?

I would like to see more women in your magazine, and that doesn’t mean women with their backsides out covered in tattoos or women with their cleavage out selling whatever the fuck it is, I want women to be treated in the same way men are, in order to try and rebalance this adolescent slant. I will interview these women myself if I have to, and at no point will I describe my ovaries exploding at the sight of Slipknot.


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