A few thoughts on Revolver’s Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock issue for anyone who cares to read them.
First off, I’m really enjoying the discussion. It’s good to see that this issue continues to inspire people to think and debate. It’s a very rock-and-roll thing to rile people up, to provoke them, and make them feel uncomfortable. Witnessing that happen every year only confirms to me that we should keep making these issues.
But there are essentially two critiques of the Hottest Chicks issue that I see every year, and I’d like to address them briefly:
1) Revolver is exploiting the women in the Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock issue. This, IMHO, is blatantly ridiculous. Please, if you have the opportunity, ask any of the girls in the actual new issue if they feel like they are being exploited, before jumping to a snap judgment on their behalf. To my mind, it is extremely condescending to the women involved to act as if YOU know better than they do what is right for THEM. A lot of women consider it to be a compliment to be asked to be part of the issue. A lot of women like to feel sexy, dress sexy, and be photographed looking sexy. A lot of women lobbied vigorously for their inclusion in the issue (and, historically, some girls have been approached and declined to participate, and we’ve always respected that choice). Nearly all of the girls in the new issue styled themselves, and many provided their own photos. Now, you could respond that the women who want to be in the issue have clearly been brainwashed by a paternalistic society into thinking that the only way they will be valued and gain attention is to use their physical appearances. Or you could respond that these girls have sold out, allowing themselves to be exploited and using their physical appearances as promotional tools to get their music/bands out there. But, first off, who are you to divine what their motives are? And secondly, when you make such claims, aren’t YOU the one demeaning these women?
2) The Hottest Chicks in Hard Rock issue perpetuates the idea that women in heavy music are primarily valued for their physical appearance. This criticism always amazes me because, of anyone, it is the critics that are defining the concept of “hot” as being only about looks. Of course, we think that the women in the issues are beautiful. But the fact that they play cool music in badass bands 100% makes them hot, as well. The fact that they are shit-kicking rocker chicks with attitude and vision 100% makes them hot. The fact that many of them are not only into heavy music but also horror movies, sci-fi, comic books, circus stunt work, etc. makes them hot, too. It seems to me that it’s the people who level this criticism that are judging the women in the issue solely on their appearances, not Revolver.
But the real point here is "chill the fuck out." I'm flattered that some people think that Revolver has such a huge influence on society and the "scene," but really all we're trying to do is put out a fun issue that spotlights some rad female musicians without taking ourselves too seriously and getting all didactic "Women in Rock" on anyone. But again, if you wanna get your panties all in a bunch about it, that's fun to watch, too.