Today, I got a message in my inbox about a super cool Ukrainian band by the name of Date Rape that just released their debut album. I’m used to posturing, pseudo-edgy band names with violent imagery – Death, Cannibal Corpse, and Decapitated come to mind first – but Date Rape?
Generally speaking, date rape involves drugging an unsuspecting person and/or waiting for them to incapacitate themselves (for example, with alcohol), and sexually abusing them while they are unconscious. Of course, date rape is an odious act, but it doesn’t even give you that violent grotesque image in your head that most other metal bands seem to be going for. What’s the point of associating yourself and your band with such a horrible event that so many people (many of them metal fans, no doubt) have to live through?
The difference between Date Rape and bands with morbid names like Death and Decapitated is that, unlike date rape, a crime that primarily victimizes women, death and decapitation not only know no gender, they also don’t leave survivors (of course, people who witness death/decapitation are traumatized, but that’s a whole other thing). I’m not necessarily trying to argue that there’s nothing at all problematic about band names with gross or morbid themes, but they at least don’t target women specifically. Out of curiosity, I searched Metal Archives for the term “rape” –- 14 bands were in the results (curiously, none of them were Date Rape), and a whopping 84 album titles matched. We can’t POSSIBLY have run out of gruesome yet non-discriminatory phrases to express ourselves, right? Flesh Eating Bacteria isn’t taken, but Date Rape is??? What’s next – igropedachickonce? Five Finger Ass Pinch?
My point is, we can keep our grittiness without reminding millions of fans –- male and female alike, but overwhelmingly female –- about something horrible they’ve lived through. We can still be just as metal without alienating a quarter of the female population. We can make the uptight normies super uncomfortable and push the envelope without normalizing rape culture. How does it make you feel when your favorite bands reference sexual assault? Am I overreacting here? Give us all a piece of your mind!