Writing on the Wall: Hypermasculinity in the Online Metal Scene

Author: Tristan Kennedy

Kennedy, Tristan, 2019 Writing on the Wall: Hypermasculinity in the Online Metal Scene, Flinders University, College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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The online metal scene is an innovative site for an investigation into the emergence and maintenance of hegemonic masculinity. This thesis offers a significant and original contribution to knowledge in the field of metal music studies and to sociological enquiries into online social spaces. Through this research, I identify three distinct tropes of hegemonic hypermasculinity: aggression and violence, militaristic organisation, and objectification of women. These tropes, while reminiscent of heavy metal culture generally, appear in the online metal scene to be activated and patrolled in extreme ways. Referral to these tropes in online comments and posts both capture and configure the on-going negotiation of hegemonic hypermasculinity amongst men in the online metal scene. I further posit that the affordances of online communication technology permit the emergence and maintenance of hegemonic hypermasculinity in a highly visible and permanent writing on the wall of the online metal scene. This writing on the wall remains as a constant presentation of hegemonic masculine ideology – a set of social expectations about behaviour in the online metal scene. In conducting this research, I developed an adaptation of ethnographic research methods which respond to the nuances of online social spaces. My findings hold currency in contemporary debates around masculinities, online social spaces, and metal music cultures.

Keywords: masculinity, hegemony, heavy metal, online communities

Subject: Sociology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2019
School: College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Supervisor: Professor Tara Brabazon