Progressive metal band, Mastodon, released a video for The Motherload recently (above) which caused a stir (what music videos are supposed to do) and has been decried in some quarters for throwing metal music back to a cock rock stone age. The song itself isn't bad.
Heavy metal music has always been macho, and is one of the few vestiges of an unrestrained "primal" masculinity in the arts.
Over the last decade or two that's changed, and crowds at metal concerts are often more gender balanced. Although the performers remain mostly men, there are women musicians who can out-metal the men : Angela Gossow (formerly of Arch Enemy), Anneke van Giersbergen, Lauren Harris, Sandra Nasic, Onielar (Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult) etc....
The genre's emphasis has always been on authenticity and technical ability over being more aggressive or having popular appeal (visually or otherwise); so I don't believe it has as many barriers to entry for women as other genres of music.
One of the worst insults you can throw at a metal band is "sell out" because of that emphasis on authenticity. Some fans will probably consider a band a "sell out" if they don't live in a van and eat out of tins heated by candle.
Mastodon, as one of the biggest acts around nowadays, have subsequently been accused of becoming "too mainstream".
So my instant– and I suspect most people's - reaction to The Motherload video is that it's an absurdist parody that sticks two fingers up at the notion that metal videos have to be artsy, serious and pretentious; whilst filling the screens with arsequakes sticks two fingers up at those who've criticised the band for being too mainstream.
It reminded me of Chris Cunningham's masterpiece video for Aphex Twin's Windowlicker (above), which was supposed to parody RnB music videos of the late 1990s, but ended up being a very accurate vision of the future.
But, of course, people are very sensitive nowadays.
The Guardian, for example, seem determined to drag gender issues into areas where gender is often on the periphery and not entirely relevant to the issue at hand. I fully expect them to, at some point in the future, have a piece of the impact prostate cancer has on Lena Dunham.
There are areas where there's a genuine need to fight sex discrimination, but that's increasingly being conflated with social media justice warrior causes. It exaggerates hyped tittle-tattle, and does damage to more significant causes by deflecting attention.
It means we now have a Schrodinger's Cat situation where a woman showing her arse and moving it around a little bit can be - at the same time – either an empowering feminist statement or a further denigration of women.
I'll admit that I could watch slow motion footage of women's backsides all day, but it's insulting our intelligence to think that a bit of titillation (or arseillation in this case) would make anyone think less of women generally. Surely the best feminist statement is women doing whatever the hell they want?
Mastodon were having fun with it, and by the looks of it the dancers were too. I even used it earlier this week, because I have a sense of humour and can differentiate between genuine discrimination and something that might get up people's noses but isn't a "cause".
In terms of nudge-wink parody it's clear Mastodon didn't quite pull it off (heh), but it wasn't sexist.