The infamous case of female DJs suddenly conquering the world
Look around you. It’s here, it’s there, it’s everywhere: suddenly female DJs have become the real deal, inside the techno and house environment. Or, at least, a very good deal. Haven’t they? For too many years djing has been a man’s world (with some notable exceptions, from Miss Djax to Ellen Allien, from Sister Bliss to Storm and the late and sorely missed Kemistry…) and well, from time to time some folks were questioning whether this was reasonable or not (tip: it’s not), but that had never been a hot topic within the club culture globe, frankly said.
What about now? Now, it’s Nina Kraviz having her popularity (and fees) rocketing. Now, it’s Amelie Lens selling out every single venue she plays; now, it’s Peggy Gou playing or being portrayed on magazines every single step you take; and if you fall short of Amelies’, there are Charlotte De Witte’s; and if you’re not keen to major venues and festivals, underground headz raise the flag and popularity of Helena Hauff and The Black Madonna. All of a sudden. Is that cool? “Yes it is”. Sure that’s the immediate answer you’re likely to drop.
The most sincere one, though, may sound slightly different. Hardly people – male or female – admit it, but there’s some semi-silent, subterranean discontent with this state of things. Konstantin, from the (once?) much hyped Giegling crew, had the ingenuity to speak out: it sounded like, “it’s unfair that women are so heavily promoted, although they are usually worse at DJing than men are”. He actually added: “Thus women who seek careers in male-dominated industries like the DJ business must lose their ‘female qualities’ and become ‘manly’…”.
Konstantin said it. Many people think it. Be honest. They may not be convinced that these sentences are 100% correct and exact but hey, “…there’s some truth in this”. Is there?
Yes, there is. And that’s exactly why Konstantin words caused him much trouble and controversy, luckily enough. Fact is: there is a business stream in club culture that heavily promotes woman DJs just because they’re women. That happens because there is a consistent bunch of night viveurs and party goers that still consider a female djing a sort of weird, seductive exception, therefore they’re honestly attracted by a woman selecting tracks much more than if it’s a man twisting the knobs and matching beats. Ok. So what?
So, that’s shit. We have to fight against it. That’s a pre-modern attitude we will hopefully see kicked out of whatever is concerned with real club culture. A culture, let us remind you, that was born thanks to weirdos, eccentrics and minorities, because they wanted to have mad fun within a setting they were likely to feel at ease. So, please: be comfortable with women djing. It’s just normal. It’s not an exception. It’s not a surprise. It’s not bizarre. It shouldn’t be.
Why are Nina, Amelie and others slightly despised when they dance while playing, and Lil Louis or San Proper are revered when they freak out at every single track they play? Have you ever asked that? Why are woman DJs taking care of their look and apparel cheaters and assholes, and men DJs being pushed by their managements running well crafted social PR and delivering intense black and white pictures with-no-smile-on-your-face just smart, serious and fairly ambitious?
If a woman is beautiful, if she’s sexy while she plays, if she’s dressed in style, or even simply said if the person at the desk is a woman instead of a man or a gay or a lesbian or whatever, that shouldn’t be an issue. If you’re there for the music. If you claim to be there for the music. Some guys (and girls) deejaying are narcissistic. Some guys (and girls) deejaying love to party. Some guys (and girls) deejaying are friendly. Some guys (and girls) deejaying are outspoken. Some or not. Every single person is different, every single dj is different, and his career is a result of matching his skills, how good his or her management is, how smart he or she are in dealing with people in the business, how right is or her sound related to the flavour-of-the-year.
It’s ok if there’s hype around female DJs rising, rising high. But it’s ok just because in a normal world – and sooner or later we’ll come to that point – the split between male and female DJs will be 50/50 circa. In quantity, quality, popularity. We’re not at that point yet? Sure we’re not. And that’s wrong. So fine, let it go. This hype surrounding female DJs we should simply turn it into something normal. And just as there are overrated male DJs, give the girls the same right to be overrated, overhyped, whatever. If you’re an overrated (for so many reasons…) dj and you’re a woman, that’s not worse if you’re an overrated dj (for so many reasons…) and you’re a men.
What you should do, if you’re a real music lover, is to look for skilled and sincere artists. Full stop. Whatever gender they are or claim to belong to. You may like more flamboyant personalities, or may deal better with stripped-to-the-bone approaches: it’s up to you. But don’t let the gender influence you, just as you shouldn’t let the hype influence you.
There’s loads of very talented women djing. We need more. But we’ve already had the luck to host a good number of them, through the years, in various settings: Samantha Garofalo, Carola Pisaturo, Ramona Yacef, Paola Poletto, Giorgia Angiuli, Eleonora Cutaia, Flavia Lazzarini, Manuela Gandolfo, the She Made collective (Ameliée, Aghnes, Erica.Me, Sara Siu), just to name the closest collaborations we’ve had. Each of them has a different touch, personality, approach; one thing is for sure though, each of them is serious, dedicated, respectful when it’s about to deal with music. Just as men are, when we ask them to collaborate with us.
If a woman dj is experiencing success “just because she’s a woman”, you shouldn’t complain. You should just ask yourself: is she dedicated? Is she talented? Is she working hard as an artist? If you strike all positive answers than it’s definitely not a problem if she’s beautiful or not, if she’s flirty or not, is she’s a media darling or not. Because if a woman dj is over-exposed today, remember that since the very beginning, men have been over-exposed and over-present, within deejaying. The split should be 50/50 circa. That’s not happening yet. Let’s make Konstantin’s words definitely out of fashion, out of style, out of reason.