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Do Women Really Belong in the EDM Industry? 

 September 28, 2015

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Thousands of tracks on Soundcloud, hundreds of artists that headline different shows and festivals, but there is one factor that stands out like a sore thumb; where are all of the women? Being a mostly male centered industry, women DJ’s get pressured, women producers get degraded, and most women working in press aren’t allowed to shows that they have credentials for because they aren’t taken seriously. Except where did this stigma come from that women aren’t good enough or have little to provide to this industry? The power of creativity and music is never limited to a gender and it shouldn’t have to be restricted to one based off of society’s standards.

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Throughout the course of a month, I spoke to plenty of individuals in the industry themselves. Taking both men and women from different aspects and career paths in the EDM industry, whether it’s their position for work or they attend for pleasure, all individuals were asked the same question:

”What do you feel is the negative connotation placed upon women in the EDM industry? What are the differences between the treatments to female artists/workers of the industry and attendees?”

 

Kimberly, 23, New York, content writer for EDM site:

The most negative thing I’ve experienced as a writer is how some artists or people in management treat me. I know it’s common for them to be paraded by women and are used to women throwing themselves at them. When they attempt to flirt or ”get with” me, it’s an absolute slap in the face. Yes, I understand I’m a woman but I do not understand how they can treat me differently from male writers. When I’m there to interview, I’m not there to flirt or play games, I’m there to work and do what I love – WRITE!”

 

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Alyssa, 25, Orlando, frequent attendee and EDM social media mastermind:

”I thinks there is a stigma placed on women in the industry, especially female artists. I think there is a perception that girl DJ’s are just up there to look good. It doesn’t help when we have male artists like hardstyle DJ Frontliner saying they ”spend to much time in Sephora and not enough time producing”. Statements like these really downplay the passion that females have for the music. However, I think things are slowly changing with artists like Maya Jane Coles, Ida Engberg, Nicole Moudaber, Anna Lunoe, Hannah Wants, and a handful of other ladies gaining massive respect recently.”

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JP, 25, Chicago, event photographer for EDM event coverage:

”From my less experienced knowledge, women in the industry as performers don’t get the same respect as their male counter parts but i believe that is due to the archaic structure to any professional industry. As for female attendees, i would say there are stigmas brought upon by a relatively major female demographic that chooses scantily clad outfits for shows/festivals. i get that it’s warm at these instances and even i enjoy my fair share of bearing skin but i try to keep it to shorts and/or sleeveless shirts. when females choose to wear revealing outfits, it brings up the subject of ”over-sexualizing” the female body and therefore bringing those attracted to it to objectify the subjects in question”

 

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Cheyenne, 22, Chico, manager at an EDM production company:

I personally don’t like the way men treat me at festivals. Usually why I hate going to festivals in groups of full girls. It is HOT at many festivals, and I know that I can dress revealing at times, but that gives you no right to think that I want you touching me or dancing on me. A lot of people are under the influence which doesn’t help, but they also don’t understand the concept of no. Traveling with guy friends I honestly feel much safer, because there can be a lot of inappropriate men at festivals. But from working in the industry,  It usually isn’t even the artist or management directly, but I remember trying to get to my interview with Firebeatz at Beyond Wonderland, and no one helping me find the press area, one staff member said that it wasn’t a spot for groupies to be, and I had to show them the text conversation I was having directly with Firebeatz tour manager to get back there and conduct the interview.”

 

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Hailey, 22, L.A., intern and content writer for an EDM blog:

It’s the amount of disrespect we feel from men especially from outfits or attire. I understand that we may be wearing something less of normal clothes but that doesn’t mean we want to be harassed or cat called while at events. Another terrible thing for women in the industry is the other male press, they look down upon us and they think less of us. I was at the Yost interviewing Doctor P and one of the photographers for the Yost completely disrespected our photographer and said she didn’t belong up there with him. He then proceeded to do the same for me that it wasn’t my place to be and I belonged with the other groupies in the crowd. I mean it’s the constant battle we face as women, those looking down on our abilities and the belief that we aren’t as good as the rest. Another thing is the flirting, I’m there for business not to be hit on by the crew at some of these venues. But we are tough, strong and we can do anything as women.”

 

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Chandler, 18, Chicago, DJ artist and frequent attendee:

”As a female artist in a male dominated field, it’s difficult to stand out and rise above the male competition. Historically, women have had to work harder and fight longer for societal status and legal rights and the continuation of these struggles is evident in the DJing industry today. Ask any festival-goer to name 5 female artists and the majority of the responses you’ll hear are Nervo, Krewella, and ”I don’t know any others”. But who else? Paris Hilton?  At EDM events, attendees look to either become extremely intoxicated and party hard or to simply enjoy the music being showcased. Generally, the party animals outweigh the latter – and these party animals look to be guided by an aggressive MC through a wildly crazy bass-filled experience. Men tend to be seen as the source for this aggressiveness while women are ”softer”.”

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Working as a content writer myself, attending many events, interviewing countless artists, I’ve also had quite some experience in the field of artist management. Through simple meetings with other producers and managers, I automatically get labeled the assistant. ’Where is the manager?’ they’d ask me, and with my response to them saying, that I was right in front of them, the levels of respect and my professional integrity practically plummet in their eyes. But just because women aren’t as popular in the industry, should only gain all the more respect for them. But so many female artists and workers in the scene have so much incredible talent that is overlooked.

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Anything as simple as the video posted on the EDM Chicago public forum last week of the Korean female DJ caused some sparks of controversy to fly. After watching a video of a talented artist who brought out some great tracks and also had a high held energy during this short clip of her set, I realized how little representation women truly receive in this industry. And although this isn’t a plea to an ideal of feminism, this is simply an observation of some of the unspoken truths that occur in this industry.

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