Shame on you, Century Media

by Cosmo Lee

Century Media is selling a 2009 calendar called “Maidens of Metal.” It’s supposed to be “sexy.” (You can see the calendar images here.) I’m not surprised the label would do such a thing, and I appreciate the female form as much as anyone – but this gives me pause.

Perhaps one could liken these women to Suicide Girls, who’ve dealt with the “exploitation” vs. “female empowerment” issue for some time. But this feels different. Unlike Suicide Girls, these women don’t seem “real.” They’ve been airbrushed, windmachined, and Photoshopped into settings that aren’t even sexy so much as kitschy. That’s fine; some people think Playboy is erotic. To each his own.

But ostensibly these women are musicians. They shouldn’t have to sell their bodies. I realize this was a conscious choice for them – at least I hope it was – but what little respect I had for them as musicians has vanished. Hooters girls have more integrity.

Metal has plenty of sex appeal from men and women alike. The greatest sex appeal comes from those who don’t try to show it. This tries too hard, it’s poorly executed, and it demeans everyone – the women, their bands, their fans, and the label who preys upon them all. Shame on you, Century Media. What are you selling, exactly? Music, or women’s bodies?