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IMPORTANT READ & SHARE || MIXMAG || 10 THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE DANCE MUSIC LESS SEXIST

Surfing in the net and checking the DJanes news, our editor came across one very important article, written and posted on Mixmag in February. We found it on Nina Las Vegas facebook fun-page. By the way, follow her if you haven't done it yet (www.facebook.com/ninalasvegas). Nina wrote: "Important read / share". We follow the link, read it want to share it with all our readers. Here you can find 10 ways we can all challenge bro-culture and misogyny in dance music (although boys, as you dominate the industry, you kind of need to step up here).

WORDS: SIRIN KALE | ILLUSTRATION: ELIOT WYATT

Hi, dance music bros! No, don’t look over your shoulder – I’m waving at you! Yes, you, with the scoop neck tee (so artful of you to show off your neck tattoo). Over here! Wait – why are you blanking me?

That’s the problem with dance music bros, they never realise they’re bros. Always looking over their shoulder, accusing someone else of all The Bad Misogyny they’ve been doing.

You know who tends not to think much about sexism in dance music? People who don’t directly experience it: namely, men. It’s like the proverbial tree falling in the woods. If you don’t see the tree fall – you don’t hear the sexist comments, see the all-male festival line-ups, notice that female artists being paid less – does it still happen?

Yes, absolutely. The forest is fucking burning up with misogynistic bullshit, and it’s up to men to help put the fire out (they've certainly got some catching up to do).

1. CHECK THE LINE-UP YOU'RE PLAYING ON...

If you saw the recent Reading festival announcement, you’ll know how embarrassingly frequent all-male line-ups can be. One powerful way to combat this is for high-profile male DJs to refuse to play all-male line-ups. This is becoming increasingly common; off the record, a number of headline DJs confirmed to Mixmag that they’ve introduced the policies, but they didn’t want to speak publicly (lest dickheads spout shit about how the only reason female artists were booked was because X insisted).

“I just felt that the discourse around me and my friends was mounting to the point where I felt I had to do something about it,” a major Berlin-based techno DJ of headliner status told us during a Skype chat shortly before Christmas. He’s asked to remain anonymous, but his policy requires a minimum of 15 per cent of the line-up of any night he plays to include female, trans or non-binary DJs. “I’ve had to turn down a few things, but there haven’t been many negative responses to it. For the most part people are willing to try.”

And if you’re lucky enough to be curating your own line-up: Think about who you’re inviting to play. Yeah, it’s easy to just ask your boys. But if at least half of the artists aren’t women, you’re doing something wrong.

2. AND BOOK MORE THAN TWO WOMEN FOR YOUR FESTIVAL

While things are definitely improving, all-male lineups remain the norm, not the exception. Promoters need to do more, and that doesn’t just mean booking a female artist to headline the main stage one night and thinking their work is done. Forward-thinking festivals like Sustain Release (run by Aurora Halal and Zara Wladawsky) quietly implement a policy of booking 50/50 male and female artists.

“We feel it is important to continue to push promoters and clubs to diversify their line-ups, to call into question the continual cis-male whitewashing we seem to consistently see within club, festivals & even live music line-ups,” women’s events collective Resis’dance tells me. “We want to see 2017 promoters and clubs celebrate diversity and stand in solidarity with us as we try to break the norms of patriarchal partying. We believe in creating freedom of opportunity for all."

Also, diversity isn’t just booking white women – it goes for people of colour, non-binary people, those from the LGBTQ community. Finally, think about your ticket allocations. Hallowed techno festival Freerotation allocates equal numbers of tickets to male and female guests.

3. STOP ACCUSING FEMALE PRODUCERS OF NOT MAKING THEIR OWN MUSIC

It’s pretty astonishing that this is still going on, but sadly female producers are consistently belittled by people accusing them of not making their own music. Mixmag’s favourite artist of 2016, The Black Madonna, has also experienced this. “Someone I don’t even know IRL has been accusing me of not making my own music,” she tweeted last November (incidentally, she told me who the dickhead responsible was, and they were way less talented than her – funny what insecurity will do.)

“To be honest it makes me laugh when people doubt my ability,” says conceptual techno artist Demian Licht, who in addition to running her own label is the only woman to be an Ableton Certified trainer in South America. “At the beginning I got really angry. But with all the knowledge I’ve acquired in the field of production I have confidence now. I don’t need to explain anything, my work and my words break the misconception.”

4. USE YOUR CONSUMER POWER

We’re all consumers now, and social media makes us powerful. For example, I recently bought some merch from a Berlin techno label I love, then realised their entire artist line-up was white men. I emailed the label boss to complain and he responded with an apology and a promise to do more. It’s not enough, but it’s a start.

5. CHECK YOUR BEHAVIOUR ONLINE

Like a US election or a royal wedding, the Internet makes idiots of us all. Platforms like Boiler Room and Mixmag are stepping up to check misogynistic abuse in their comments section, but the problem persists. Unlike the US president, though, misognyny isn’t just orange and white. It can come in much subtler colour permutations. Like critiquing a Nina Kraviz DJ set because she played a mix of more experimental techno than the pounding beat narrative you were used to. Would you really be as whiny and belligerent in the comments if a high-profile male artist had used the set as an opportunity to experiment and broaden your musical horizons a bit?

6. CALL OUT DANCEFLOOR HARASSMENT AND THINK ABOUT HOW YOU ACT

If someone’s behaving in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable – even if they’re not doing it to you directly – say something, or get the bouncer if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself. And think about how you’re acting. Are you in a huge group of rowdy guys? Are you physically dominating the space? What about your creeper mate who checks out girls when he thinks they don’t notice (they always do?) Remember: you don’t have to be physically groping a girl’s arse to make her feel uncomfortable. Dancefloors are a community and we all need to act together to keep people safe. Here’s a helpful thing we wrote with more tips.

7. VOTE FOR WOMEN IN OPINION POLLS...

Here’s a story: Every year major dance music magazines publish polls of the public's favourite DJs, and every year no-one votes for all the talented female artists out there, and predictable Twitter outrage ensues when all the top spots go to men.

How can we end this repetitive cycle of social media outrage, which isn’t the magazine’s fault? By voting for women in opinion polls.

This also goes for all the journalists contributing to staff lists, too.

8. AND USE YOUR PLATFORM TO PROMOTE WOMEN

The explosion of incredible underground internet radio stations in the last decade has been beautiful to watch, and if you’re lucky enough to have a show on one – use it. Bring young female talent on the show, give them a guest mix, push it on social media, and let them talk about their musical inspirations and what they do.

“From my experience, the entry into professional music felt almost impossible to me as a woman,” NTS resident DEBONAIR tells me fresh from a recent set at Panorama Bar. She explains that curating sets for her radio show was great preparation for club djing, building her confidence and sonic identity. Now she feels an obligation to help other female artists. “Sharing your airspace and inviting women on air is a great way to connect with and support women in music,” she argues, “as you can garner exposure and create a comfortable environment for them that often isn’t available elsewhere.”

The same principle applies for any other platform. Run a website? Ask women to do a podcast, or commission female writers; If you’re a music PR or booking agent, make it your business to seek out female talent and help grow their careers; Has your label not released music by women? Dive into a SoundCloud wormhole and sort it out; Book women to speak on your panel events (and pay them).

9. STOP PERPETUATING THE MYTH THAT WOMEN IN DANCE MUSIC ARE THERE BECAUSE THEY FUCKED SOMEONE

Repeat after me: "The woman behind the decks is not there because she fucked someone... The woman behind the decks is not there because she fucked someone."

Last year on International Women’s Day, Dr Rubinstein shared on Facebook comments she’d overheard while DJing at Berghain: “She fucked someone to get this gig.”

Clearly this means Berghain’s famous door policy isn’t working, because they’re letting sexist idiots in.

“I’ve played sets where guys have been staring at me,” Parallel Berlin label owner Daniela La Luz tells me. “Afterwards, they’ve come up to me and said, ‘I could do that as well as you’, or asked if I’ve just been playing on Traktor. They didn’t seem to understand I was playing all my own productions, mixing them live in the club.”

10. FINALLY – SPEAK UP

You may not agree with all of the stuff in this list. You may feel like it goes too far. You may feel it doesn’t go far enough (some people feel that boycotts are the way, but why not change things from within?)

The main thing is that we’re engaging with the dance music industry as fans as well as influencers and proactively shaping it into a better, more inclusive space, which means we can’t be inactive. Do something: throw a night, buy tickets for a party you wouldn’t normally to support up-and-coming-female talent, use your platform to help other artists.

But as Jackmaster’s comments show, it’s high time that men stood up and took responsibility for fixing this broken industry that we’re all a part of. And in a male-dominated scene, it’s up to men to look in the mirror and be honest about what they see.

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