With International Women’s Day coming up on 8th March 2021, Musicvein has made the pledge to help empower females in the music industry, by celebrating their achievements and challenging gender stereotypes.
The pledge cast my mind back to a few years ago when I noted a discomforting online discussion. Female DJ’s were talking about the lack of respect they had in the industry and how their talent was being devalued by males – be that other DJ’s or just opinionated ones. Fast-forward to only a few days ago and someone I know personally was subjected to the same chauvinistic attitudes surrounding her work.
Slicing through the noise of a very male-heavy industry is still very much a challenge, but female DJ are on the rise and here to stay.
Respected publication DJ Mag posted their poll results for the Top 100 DJ’s of 2020 which saw 12 females make the cut – an increase on 2019’s figures which saw 8 included, so positive public perception is on the rise at a marginal pace, but is the respect there too?
It seems a noxious air still dwells of sexism and bias when it comes to women in the DJ world, when all they really want is to be acknowledged – not compared to men, not put down, just rated on their craft.
French Hip-Hop music DJ, Lady Style inspired by Mix Master Mike and DJ Q-bert, has over a decade of industry experience. Speaking to Musicvein about negative comments she’s received, Lady Style said, “On the occasions where I am criticized by male DJ’s on social media – it makes me laugh! Myself and team notice that it’s always from the ones who have no skills or no club exposure, so it all comes down to jealousy...still the words ‘you have skills for a woman’ should be abolished!”
Miss DVS from Canada began DJing in 2007, generally known for her Electro and Bass House sets, DVS was influenced by 90’s dance music such as the Prodigy, Daft Punk, Salt n Pepa, to name a few.
Reflecting on her experiences she calls for gender equality. “There have been many many negative interactions from being sexually assaulted and harassed several times, to fighting to get paid. I’ve had promoters undercut me, I’ve been stalked, black-mailed, and publicly attacked due to jealousy – the list goes on. The stress was so much it drove me to the brink of insanity! I really don’t take shit from anyone but somehow when I stand up for myself – I’m the monster! Men simply don’t know what to do with an independent and strong-willed woman.
There’s so much change I would like to see like Equal and Fair opportunity and pay. I’ve seen my male counterparts make hundreds more than myself and when I ask why, the promoter says they are better negotiators, yet when I try to negotiate I’m called a ‘Greedy Bitch’! I just want everyone to work together instead of the divide and competition! “
Candian DJ Lykx found her passion for the decks following a creative block in producing. With over a decade in the industry and many stories to tell, Lykx calls for respect for women in the industry. “I’d like to see us female DJ’s recognised. I have spent a lot of time perfecting my craft over the years. I have top companies like Redbull comment on my work but instead of male DJ’s saying ‘well done, congratulations, good job’, I get ‘Did you really do that???’ The funny thing is I then get male DJ’s sliding into my DMs asking me to teach them certain techniques!”
House Music DJ Myma inspired by Monki, Annie Mac and Sam Divine, joins the chorus of wanting industry respect for women.
“I really would love all female DJ’s and Producers to be taken seriously and respected. There are a big number of us, fighting daily for what we represent and want to be known for our talent rather than how we look.
I find that men mainly want to give me tips and apply small pressures on me with their own ideas. It’s quite hard to choose just one situation as there have been so many (examples), but the one I wasn’t a big fan of was when a guy working behind a bar tried to give me tips on how to DJ!
It’s obvious that some male DJ’s feel insecure and do their best to not make us feel welcome – they seem to feel more comfortable with their own gender and their comments do make you feel like you need to stand up for yourself as an artist.“
So as you see from the words of these inspiring women, the battle is still there for equality, respect and recognition, and only through shining a light on this and keeping the conversation going, can we move forward.
Let’s keep choosing to challenge.