Dear Music Industry: Everything Is Better When Women Are Involved
Dear Music Industry,
Dance music, to be exact – Hello! It’s Molly here again with more feels about being a woman in the EDM game. A lot of people are trying to tell me it’s not okay to be concerned with such matters, but that is baloney. We out here at the rave with our vaginas tryin’ to get shit done, and you just wouldn’t believe how hard it is. For reasons I can’t fully understand, our hurdles seem to be unjustifiably larger than our male counterparts, and I’d like to know how we can even the playing field.
I’m in an industry group called #NapGirls, which is all about: 1) Ladies in the EDM game and 2) Taking naps. One of the Nap Girls posted in our group thread a few weeks ago asking for advice. She was in a meeting with several men (this girl is kind of a big deal in music publishing), and when the last member entered, he introduced himself to his fellow bros, sat down and wouldn’t make eye contact with her. She asked us: How should we handle this sort of thing?
Most of the Nappers didn’t have concrete answers, but they did have a fuckload of similar experiences to share. How to respond is tricky; it’s been proven by countless studies that the way men and women are perceived in professional settings varies drastically even when they are engaging in identical behavior. When a man speaks up, he is perceived by his peers as “taking charge,” but when a woman speaks up, she is more often perceived as “being pushy.” So I ask you, the internet, how are we supposed to conduct ourselves to assure equal acknowledgement?
Pitchfork published an article about the problem EDM has with objectifying women as a marketing ploy, singling out Skrillex and Destructo among others. The theory that "sex sells" is nothing new in the advertising world, and personally, I like looking at boobs and butts – so what’s the problem? Is it possible that this kind of marketing programs us to equate the sight of women with the expectation of boobs and butts? Is that why an industry meeting full of dudes is thrown off by a woman’s presence? Maybe the male brain just doesn’t know how to identify the female in that environment. Perhaps his brain just said, “You’re not in a bikini trying to sell me something, so I don’t know what you’re doing here – disregard.”
If you don’t think we’re programmed as a society to see women as “less than,” ask anyone you know this riddle (no one I asked knew the answer): “A man and his son are in a tragic car accident and rushed to the ER, the doctor takes a look at the boy and says, ‘I can’t operate on this child, he’s my son.’ How is this possible?” One of my best girlfriends, who’s currently in medical school, could not correctly identify the doctor as the kid’s mother. The only explanation I have for this is that we are programmed from a young age to believe that women do not fill authoritative roles. How do we overcome this programming?
And here’s the question I’ve been waiting this whole article to ask: What would happen if the Krewella or Nervo sisters posed for their own album promo in thong panties? We all know what happened to Miley with her Bangerz promo, so I really can’t imagine things would be any different in EDM. At the time, I thought Miley was some kind of terrible slut-wave influence on America’s female youth – but then I went to see her Bangerz Tour. I realized that by performing like both a female model and a male rapper, she was throwing all the hypocrisies of pop culture back in our faces. It was then that I bowed down to the altar of Miley’s genius and renounced all my sins against her.
I feel like through asking these questions we’ve reached the following conclusions – 1) Our programming regarding women in positions of power is highly removed from reality and must be overcome, 2) While there’s nothing inherently wrong with boobs and butts, using boobs and butts so aggressively to advertise might be exactly the programming that's reinforcing negative stereotypes against women (sexy boobs and butts only too – no fatties) and 3) There is a double standard at play here wholly contained in the notion that male artists using images of women’s bodies in their marketing material is A-ok, while female artists using images of their own bodies in their marketing material makes them sluts. Calvin Harris is not called a whore for posing for Armani man panties (#manties) – I can see your dick dude, why is that okay for you but not for me?
So what do we do, y’all? How do we fix this? Is it entirely on women to change how we’re perceived? And of course, this is a global issue in no way exclusive to EDM, but I hear that changing the world starts with changing your immediate surroundings. Do we have to boycott artists who objectify our bodies to make our voices heard? That doesn’t sound fun. Do we all just have to get our boobs and butts out on the Internet cause maybe if we’re all sluts then none of us are? That sounds more fun but possibly counterproductive at this time. I don’t have the answers, but dammit, I’m going to ask the questions until things change. Much love and respect from your gracious author Molly Hankins, reporting live from the front lines of the EDM game while bearing the stigma of having a vagina, boobs and a butt. We out here.
Read More by Molly Hankins at: ifoundmolly.com