(1) If everyone was blind, no one would know who they are (ugh…if only).
Ok, this one is obvious. Sex sells. They are attractive. And usually pretty naked. So it’s no wonder they are famous. If they were 250 pounds each with bad teeth and hairy armpits, they would be playing house shows for an audience of maybe ten equally busted females feeling empowered by seeing ugly chicks play “metal” (I use that term in the loosest sense). But because they are admittedly hot as hell—albeit in kind of a gross way—they pack venues full of neckbeards and rednecks alike, the type of people who think Shinedown and Disturbed are good metal and act like they’ve never seen a pair of nipple-taped boobs before. Let’s face it: if indeed the whole world was blind, NO ONE would actually listen to their music, because it’s downright fucking terrible.
One thing I love about metal is it is supposed to be solely about the music. It isn’t the pop industry. You aren’t supposed to have to be sexy to be successful. You don’t have to be a good dancer. You’re supposed to be a good musician. Yes, I know, there are plenty of famous shitty metal bands out there. But many of them are famous because, for some reason, people actually enjoy their music. Not so with the Butcher Babies. They are famous because of their looks, and they simple don’t deserve to be. I’m sure somewhere out there someone actually does enjoy their music (why is beyond me), but not nearly enough to bring them the success they have achieved. No, that success is based on looks and looks alone. So while I think everyone has the right to play shitty music if they desire, their reception by the mainstream metal industry is what really pisses me off. Which brings me to my next point.
(2) For some reason, the mainstream metal industry has chosen them to represent female-fronted metal bands in front of huge audiences.
The Butcher Babies toured with Black Label Society. They shared a stage with fucking Zakk Wylde, one of the most legendary guitarists in metal who still tours. For some godforsaken reason, the metal industry decided that the Butcher Babies were deserving of that bill. Why? See number (1), above. They look good, and sex sells. As a musician and an active member of the local metal scene here in Atlanta, it disheartens and actually sickens me that the fucking god awful Butcher Babies are getting that kind of recognition, when I could name 20 more talented bands in the Atlanta area alone. Not to mention the countless female-fronted acts around the country who actually play good music—just look at my last article regarding Witch Mountain. The Butcher Babies have been chosen to represent the modern metal woman, and I honestly couldn’t think of worse candidates.
Yes, I do realize that there are other shitty female-fronted “metal” bands: Evanescence, Flyleaf, The Pretty Reckless. You get the idea. But none of these bands are touring with Zakk Wylde. None of them are at Mayhem Fest. None of them are taken seriously as metal acts. They are recognized for what they are: pop. Which is what the Butcher Babies should be recognized as, too. Generally I could care less about what the mainstream industry is doing. There is a lot that I don’t agree with. But with the Butcher Babies, I get irritated because of how it reflects upon not only metal as a genre but women as metalheads. It makes all of the above just look bad.
(3) They reinforce the stereotype that women have to be sexualized to be a part of metal.
They claim that their act is a tribute to Wendy O. Williams, and that they don’t give a fuck what people think, and that’s why they dance around practically naked on stage and in their videos. I call bullshit. There’s a difference between a tribute and a cheap rip-off, which is how they come across. They don’t seem badass or independent because of their look; they seem desperate for attention. And it works. They get the attention that they want. Which pisses me off, because it sends the message that in order to be a successful metal musician as a female, you have to be hot, and you have to show off your tits.
I’m all for freedom of expression, blah blah blah, but desperate attempts for attention strike me more as an example of captivity than the endorsement of freedom. It’s as if the Butcher Babies and those who support them are saying, “These are the parameters for being a famous female metal musician. If you don’t meet them, you can’t be successful.” The music itself is completely irrelevant to their fame. And for the record, don’t get the idea that I’m jealous of their looks or their fame. If I put tape on my nipples, wore fishnets and leather, and played a few chords in drop D, I could probably be famous too. But I would never stoop to that level. I’d rather be anonymous than well-known for the wrong reasons.
(4) They reinforce the stereotype that women only listen to or play shitty pop-metal.
As a female metalhead I sometimes get stereotyped. Like I probably really only listen to Slipknot and Godsmack, and I only have an Iron Maiden shirt because I saw it at Urban Outfitters and thought it looked cool. Well anyone who knows me knows that’s not true. And I know a lot of other female metalheads who can say the same. But the stereotype exists for a reason. The term “girlfriend metal” is in Urban Dictionary for a reason. Bands like Evanescence and the others I listed above got famous because, guess what, girls like them. Which is fine, if that’s what you’re into. But that doesn’t mean that all females should be lumped into the category of exclusively pop-metal fans. Women like myself have come a long way from just being groupies at Def Leppard shows. Some of us actually appreciate good musicianship, impressive songwriting, and live performances that showcase the talent of those on stage. To the Butcher Babies, I would say, there is nothing impressive or empowering about getting on stage and playing shitty music with your boobs hanging out while a bunch of sweaty drunk dudes high five each other as they watch and fantasize. It’s actually just gross. And it’s sending women in metal back in time.
(5) Their music just fucking sucks.
This one kind of goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway. Their music is just terrible. I mean god awful. I could barely listen to one full song at a time for the purpose of writing this article. I had to take a lot of breaks. I don’t really need to go into much more detail than that. If you are a musician or someone who appreciates talent at all, just listen to a song or two and you’ll see what I mean. It’s cliché, boring, and soulless. Not to mention talentless. And their vocals actually almost made my ears bleed.
Well, that brings me full circle. The Butcher Babies are famous for their looks, not their music. They are diminishing all of the progress women have made as metalheads, and it’s actually kind of embarrassing. Like, I’m embarrassed for them. Come on, Butcher Babies, fucking knock it off already. You’re ruining it for the rest of us.