Whether we like to admit it or not, sexism is an ongoing theme in dance music’s history.
Even a cursory glance at the stats reveals that women have been traditionally under- represented in almost every faction of the industry — in short, the numbers don’t lie. With this in mind, DJ Mag thought it high time to open the issue up to the floor, and revive the discussion about women in dance music in the print media.
When the Top 100 DJs results came in last October, and it transpired that you lot had again only voted a handful of female DJs into the poll, we asked all the DJs in the Top 100 why they thought this was. A few of the answers we got were decidedly dodgy, even if they were attempts at jokes in a second language — remarks like ‘Because maybe they spend too much time in the make-up store’. This kicked off a whole debate about sexism in the dance music industry, and the idea to produce a ‘Women In Dance Music’ special issue of the mag.
We’ve spent the last few months chatting to some of the most talented and eloquent females in the scene today, each of whom was more than happy to help us produce some pithy, dialogue-creating content for this special issue. Surprisingly, rather than an attitude of doom and gloom, the stance from these women has been overwhelmingly positive — change is happening, they said, but it needs to happen faster.
Women are under-represented in a lot of professions, but you’d think our scene — founded on inclusive, utopian ideals — would be one of the more enlightened industries. And when you look at the role of women in pioneering electronic music, or realise that there are literally thousands of women doing crucial work in the industry, the idea that women are inferior DJs or producers goes completely out the window. It’s also important to recognise that the problem is not exclusive to dance music, or even just music for that matter — sexism stretches far beyond dance music’s comparatively small community.
It’s our hope that this issue will help to inspire fellow women to pursue a career in dance music, plus encourage tastemakers to keep talking about how we can improve the current industry climate. We'd also like to use this issue as a platform to draw attention to the ladies who’ve made dance music what it is today, some of whom have been woefully under-recognised for their considerable contribution to our beloved scene.
Finally, this issue isn’t about absolutism, there’s also many positive examples of inclusivity in dance music, but we’re not there just yet. In the words of our wonderful cover star LOUISAHHH!!!: “The answer isn’t to stop talking about it.” So let’s keep talking, questioning norms, challenging stigmas and breaking down barriers, to do justice to the legacy on which dance music was originally built: peace, love, unity and a whole lot of reaching for the lasers!