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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 06-Nov-16


Sunday 20-November-16

Why do rockers treat women with respect?

I had an interesting conversation with my daughter today, who's long been into rock and metal music. She commented about how she always felt safe at heavy metal clubs, and how those big, tattooed, pierced men would universally treat her with respect. This contrasted sharply with the hounding she got at conventional clubs, where she got quickly and constantly surrounded by men who tried to press themselves on her.

We mused about why this would be, and concluded that there are several factors, including.

  • No anonymity: The rockers form a stable group where people mostly know one another. So a person cannot turn up and not be noticed. Also, within the group if you do wrong, there is no place to hide.
  • Differential values: The group is a minority, and so differentiate themselves from the majority in several ways, including wanting in-group equality within the group and a desire to protect their own.
  • Shared vulnerability: While rockers may look scary, many have experienced tough times and know what it is like to be a victim, so they seek to create a safe space in which members can be non-victims. 
  • Extended identity: Identity factors that include supporting those who are vulnerable extend beyond the group setting. Hence rockers are likely to help women and other vulnerable people in everyday settings. This also helps them confound stereotypes about them that suggest they are unpleasant and uncaring, and so feel good about being decent people.

Of course there can be variations and not all rockers are saints, but in my daughter's experience she has never had any problems in rock and metal clubs over a number of years, unlike elsewhere.

So, next time you see a person dressed in leather, with piercings, Mohican haircuts, and tattoos, smile at them and give them a hug!

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