Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Martha Copp

Committee Members

Joseph Baker, Melissa Schrift


This study looks at female musicians performing in subcultural rock genres commonly considered non-gender-conforming, such as punk rock, heavy metal, noise, and experimental. Twenty-four interviews were conducted with female musicians who reflected on their experiences as musicians. Themes emerged on women’s patterns of entry into music, barriers they negotiated while playing, and forces that may push them out of the music scene. Once women gained a musician identity, their gender functioned as a master status. They negotiated sexism when people questioned their abilities, assumed men played better, expected them to fail, held them to conventional gender roles, and sexually objectified them. Normative expectations of women as primary caregivers for children, internalization of criticism, and high personal expectations are considered as factors that contribute to women’s exit from musical careers. This research closes with suggestions for how more women and girls can be socialized into rock music.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.