DJ Mag Top 100 – It’s Not DJ Mag’s Fault There Are No Women, It’s Ours.

Source: Spinoff Comics

In Part 2 of my review of the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs controversy ( for Part 1 go here: Why The Controversy? ) I’m tackling the issue of why there aren’t any women on the list.  In years past there used to be women in the top 100 but this year there aren’t any – not one.  And people are really pissed off about it.  However, I think the public statements about this only hit the tip of the iceberg.  Peaches told DJ mag to go eat a dick – which I think is placing blame in the wrong place, although personally I appreciate her hutzpah. Hanna Hanra from The Guardian goes into how tough it is for women today and the overall general disrespect women face when playing out ( Why are there no female DJs on DJ Mag’s top 100 list? ) – an important topic but not the core reason.

If we are to assume the list is generated by mainstream tastes – who are the most recognizable DJs – and assuming DJ Mag’s main demographic is male, the lack of women DJs on the list can be due to the fact that we are not mainstream or male.  Sorry to say, but there are no women selling out stadiums or working with top 40 artists in the way that David Guetta is for example.  Fiona Walsh, founder of Clubber’s Guide NY, offers this opinion: “The followers of DJs like David Guetta and Armin Van Buren, while both men and women, tend to skew towards young men. I think the DJs we know and like who are women are not necessarily making the kind of ‘popular’ music like Guetta and AVB! We need a female DJ version of someone like Lady Gaga or Madonna!” I’m not going to get into a who’s who of the best female artists – for that check out SheJay’s Top 100 Female DJ list (thank goodness someone did it!) because I want to address the question of why women are not top of mind in this vote.  First – there aren’t that many of us, and second, culturally, we are not considered authority figures.

There Aren’t That Many Of Us:

I’m trying to find a statistic on the percentage of female DJs versus male DJs and it’s tough because no one is really calculating these kind of things but if I could take a wild guess I would say that female DJs account for maybe 10% of the global population of DJs. Now, one of the reasons why there aren’t many of us isn’t just the barriers that are presented to us when we enter DJing or are active with it – it starts much earlier than that.  There have been studies done on how girls and boys are socialized in this world.  While boys are taught and encouraged to understand mechanics at a young age, girls are taught to be more conceptual or focus on dolls and being pretty.  Boys = told they are smart and encouraged be individualistic (you are alpha).  Girls = told they are pretty and to think of others before themselves (you are beta).  I had to fight for my right to be a tomboy when I was a kid.  While playing with my Matchbox cars and Legos asserting my dominance with the boys in my neighborhood because I was the only girl and didn’t have a choice, my mother was trying to ease Barbies into my play and telling me that when I say something I should say it in the form of a question so as not to offend people.  Girls are not socialized to understand how things work from an engineering standpoint and therefor we grow up a little bit behind the curve on that.  It takes a special kind of woman to unlearn that socialization and go against that DNA.  For women in general, the idea of circuitry, gear, individualism, and being Alpha is a side of our minds we need to tap into, and it’s not something that is nurtured in our culture.  Hence a possible reason why more women aren’t getting into DJing.

We Aren’t Viewed As Authorities

There’s something that is already inherent in male privilege and that is that men are automatically considered a leader or an authority.  It is our culture basically to give men that level of respect without question.  Women are generally not considered born leaders – we have to earn it and in some cases fight for it.  We have to work twice as hard to be thought of as half as good – with anything.  Now, what is a DJ?  A DJ is considered an authority in music, the leader of the experience, the architect of the journey.  That understanding and energy is automatically attributed to a male perspective and for women it’s not an attribute automatically given to us.   So it should be no surprise that men are generally more respected and known in the DJ community – it’s human nature to think of them first when considering who is best in a given domain, especially one that is as male dominated as DJ’ing.  Also, fans and DJs who revere another DJ is in a lot of cases because they want to BE that DJ – it’s an emulative feeling.  So, if the voters are mostly male they will probably vote for men as that is who they want to emulate ( the authority, the skill, the talent, etc. ) This is why when the DJ Mag Top 100 list comes out there are hardly any women on it – because when people vote in an open ballot system without prompting (as in “hey, don’t forget to think of women in your votes”), they think of the men first, and the rest of us, not at all.

Now, I know what I’m saying is disappointing and difficult to hear because we all want to believe that DJ’ing is a fair and equitable art to pursue, but it’s not sometimes.  Once we understand the essence of why women are not in the same position as men in DJ’ing we can do something about it.  The  main insight for women here is that we can use our socialization to our advantage – we are brought up to be nurturers, caretakers, artistic and conceptual.  Well, that’s what a DJ is as well!  The DJ is a caretaker and nurturer of a good time, a therapist catering to the many emotions experienced on a dance floor.  Women are goddesses of establishing purpose in art and instilling self-worth in people.  We are highly musical because we are emotional and empathic beings.  We can also channel our frustration and anger in being discounted back into our DJing and fight to change things: through music, collaboration, and support. We are going to understand why things are the way they are, and we’re going to do something about it.  It is our collective responsibility to ensure that women’s contribution in DJing is recognized and honored.  DJ culture is asking us to do that – the proof is in the list.

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