Soundwave 2015 act Butcher Babies have taken Canadian music site We Love Metal to task over their Metal Queen Tournament. Co-vocalists Carla Harvey and Heidi Shepherd shunned the competition, saying it creates unwanted and unnecessary friction between women in metal.
Harvey and Shepherd voiced their concerns directly to WLM‘s journalist The Shepherd (no relation to Heidi), after the interviewer informed the duo of the tournament, which pits 32 female metal figures against each other and encourages fans to vote for their favourite.
Once The Shepherd enlightened Harvey of her progression through the tournament, and the fact WLM had split the duo up into different rounds, he was quickly met with criticism. Passing the buck to his editor did nothing to save his skin, as the two singers voiced their resentment at being cast in competition with each other.
“I’m sorry, but that’s not cool,” said Heidi. “We do appreciate the press from ‘Who’s The Queen Of Metal’, but it also turns girls against each other, it creates an animosity between these women who are fighting so hard to create a spot for [themselves] within metal.”
She continued, saying tournaments of this nature turn girls against each other, and create “competition where there isn’t competition”, only succeeding to unnecessarily highlight gender and further stigmatise women in metal. “You’re actually going against everything that we’re working for in that blog,” she added.
Harvey also expressed her concerns, noting that it was wrong to automatically assume all female-fronted metal bands can be compared to one another. “Our metal’s so different from, say, Arch Enemy, or even what Huntress is doing. We’re all so different, so let’s just celebrate us all in our own special way and not try to compare apples and oranges.”
Following the interview The Shepherd posted an article to WLM, addressing concerns that the “lecture” he received unfairly accused him of playing “gender politics for gain”.
“WLM operates with one main mandate – lift up and celebrate musicians,” wrote The Shepherd. “Heidi Shepherd is correct when she says most blogs are just out for hits, to get their own. My rage is that she didn’t take the time to get to know WLM. No, we were just lumped in with malicious writers and negative websites.”
He dismissed Heidi’s claims of WLM creating unnecessary competition, “Isn’t music one of the most outrageously competitive industries around,” and in turn accuses Butcher Babies of willingly participating. “Whether Heidi wants to admit it or not, she actively competes with the very women she holds so dear.”
Butcher Babies will be in Australia next year as part of Soundwave 2015. You can watch the interview below. The discussion regard the Queen Of Metal tournament begins at 8:34.