The broad genre of hard rock and metal is often depicted, both in media portrayals and academic accounts, as particularly sexist, its male dominance and hypermasculinity alienating for women. In this article I draw on my research, which aims to understand women’s experiences as fans of the genre within the context of assumptions of sexism. I interviewed British women who were fans of bands across the broad genre of hard rock and metal. Here I pay particular attention to women’s experiences at hard rock and metal events and their encounters with sexism. My participants depicted hard rock and metal as less sexist than a generalised ‘mainstream’. I argue that the contradiction between academic accounts and fan accounts of sexism is due to the subtle ways in which sexism manifests and also down to a mythical sense of ‘equality’ that exists within metal culture. However, I posit that, in accordance with feminist methodological work, it is vital to take women’s words seriously and to acknowledge the broader significance of metal in their everyday lives. This means that we must contemplate that, in distinction to some academic accounts, metal might actually be a culture that is relatively free from sexism.