Originally Posted by Pollyanna
I've met a few metalheads through work and it surprised me to find what lovely, mellow guys they were. One was a good work friend and he looked pretty scary, but he was just a big pussycat. I was a Black Sabbath fan when I was young and I remember the intensity hitting the spot like a rough massage on sore muscles. None of this really meshed with the violence I sometimes saw at heavy gigs back then. It can go either way.
I've been to some extraordinarily violent rock gigs from bands I wouldn't consider metal.
I think you've made a brilliant point on the topic of stereotyping, while metal has a fashion, not everyone passionate about it wears it. Not everyone acts like the media portrays they will either, though in all honesty, metal is pretty non-existent in the media. The only time it will get coverage is if there is something stereotypically negative, like a huge fight at a sell out concert.
It's also worth noting that very few people listen to solely one kind of music, I used to play jazz, and listen to a lot of post-rock amongst other things. Metal bands, like metal heads, are just as diverse, I could name a dozen bands, each one with as much in common with each other as Frank Sinatra and The Ramones.
Cynically, if you want to look at why these stereotypes get reinforced, by moderating public opinion to the point people start to pigeonhole each other and conform, it makes target advertising and selling product much easier.
You'd think in such a post-modern society people would be smart enough, or at least accustomed to questioning 'truths' but this certainly isn't always the case. A lot of people still just like to be told, not take responsibility for their opinions.