When the current scandal surrounding Till Lindemann first took shape, I was sure I wouldn’t write anything about it on the Epic Metal Blog: Rammstein doesn’t play a role on our platform for stylistic reasons – and we have already spoken out more frequently here on the topic of sexism in the music industry as part of some excellent guest articles. However, a look at the comment columns on Facebook and Instagram, where women and men comment on the subject, made me rethink.
I don’t want to go into detail about the Lindemann case itself at this point – perhaps this will happen in more detail later, ideally not by myself. Today I just want to say this much: We have already published some articles on our blog that show that women often don’t have a carefree evening when they attend a metal concert, even in our underground scene. Disgusting comments, salacious looks or groping – unfortunately, all of these things happen again and again. When I listen to or read some of the accounts of women we know personally, I feel ashamed for a significant part of my gender. I am even more ashamed that abusive behaviour continues to be trivialised by many and that the call for more protection for women at festivals and concerts is ridiculed. Mostly it’s older, white cis men who haven’t experienced any discrimination in their lives and, moreover, have no empathy at all. They often see demands for an inclusive metal scene that offers a safe space for all as a threat. This is always followed by references to the past, when “politics” didn’t matter and you just rocked out to Sodom and co. in the mosh pit with a couple of beers in your head.
I am sure that we will not reach these contemporaries who, in the Lindemann case too, mock alleged victims and turn out to be misogynist morons. We need to focus on those who are willing to question their own behaviour, listen to women and, above all, take action when women are harassed in a club. However, we should also start condemning artwork and lyrics that degrade women as (sex) objects. Yes, in the 1980s many musicians were still very young – their record covers and lyrics were therefore not infrequently characterised by a striking immaturity. But today, 30 or 40 years later, we have to expect more from adult artists who have a wide reach in the underground. A ray of hope: Young artists usually deal with this topic more sensitively.
Those who now accuse me of wanting to take away metal’s rough edges: That’s nonsense. Metal originally stood for rebellion. Those who want to rebel today show solidarity with those who are discriminated against and whose voices are heard far too rarely. Only in this way does metal retain its relevance for young people in the 3rd decade of the 21st century. And metal will only remain relevant if we see many women on and in front of the stages. Each of us should start today to lay the groundwork for this – if only by coming to the following realisation as a first step: “Yes, sexism is a problem in our scene – and I have the responsibility to do something about it!”
(André – editor-in-chief)