It’s 2016, Why the Hell Do We Have Beauty Pageants for Female DJs?!
Females have long been the minority in the boy’s club that is the music industry. Both in areas of artistry as well as business, women are less represented than men across the board. Electronic music, however, appears to be particularly exclusive.
With more females dancing in panties and sparkly bras than women behind the decks, it calls into question why are women a constant source of sexual objectification in electronic music?
And a word of caution to all you nay-sayers out there: this article is by no means a judgement of the talented female dancers and confident bartenders that utilize their physical appearance as a means of building a solid income source through the exploitation the male sexual "weaknesses" that patriarchal systems unfairly propagate. We’re all about female utility, however, the problem occurs when there’s only representation of the sexual female form and not of the badass ladies that are slaying it behind the decks.
Thump recently brought into our awareness the existence of DJaneMag.com, a website featuring a clever play on words to brand female DJs. At first glance, the idea of a site dedicated to increasing awareness of women DJs was really exciting and progressive. However, we were disappointed to find that the focus of the site appears to be on increasing branding and advertisement opportunities for attractive female ‘DJs’.
2015 Miss DJaneMag.com - Mëw
The site, which holds a yearly beauty pageant for the title of Miss DJaneMag.com describes the pageant as “[a] contest for choosing the most beautiful, sexy and charming Djane.”
According to the contest rules and description, it doesn't appear that being an actual performing or producing artist is a considering factor in the pageant.
The contest rules read as follows:
"1. Girls will submit applications for participation in the contest, the contestants will be placed after an approval of site editors.
2. DJaneMag team will choose 5-10 contestant at its discretion every month
3. Site users and the contestants will not be able to see the number of points received. (in order to avoid manipulation of the poll)
4. The contest is held on a monthly basis starting March 1st.
Beauties, we look forward for your participation”
Lol. Hold up. This has to be a joke, right?
According to Thump, the representatives contacted from DJaneMag.com responded that the site was founded after finding a lack of diversity in traditional DJ polls. In regard to the pageant, the winners were akin to glamour models and the contest awarded “additional advertising for winners”.
We gotta say… DJaneMag.com, what’chu thinkin’?
Hosting a beauty pageant for female DJs in effort to create more diversity among the DJ pool is in direct opposition to the feminist ideal of female empowerment.
Although ‘feminism’ is a term that causes a lot of mis-aimed aggression, the term does not in fact support the increase of rights to women at the cost of men. Nope, not even a little bit.
Feminism is the theory that women and men are, and should be equal, it is gendered structures within our society that dictate the way we view sexual roles. So just as women shouldn’t feel compelled to act and behave in a classical ‘feminine’ way (emotional, soft, subordinate, mothers, etc) men should not have to conform to traditional ideas of masculinity in order to be considered a man (strong, dominating, bread-winners, unemotional, etc).
By holding a beauty contest for female DJs, DJaneMag.com is reducing women to a physical appearance. This is damaging because it places value on a image rather than inspiration, artistry, and technical talent that are so crucial to music production.
(DJ and full-time badass, Nicole Moudaber pictured with Carl Cox)
Luckily there are many talented and capable female DJs that prove that artistry and musical ability aren't a gendered phenomenon. Women like tiNi, The Black Madonna, Cassy, Nina Kravis, Nicole Moudaber, Ida Engberg, Ellen Allien, and many, many, more have broken major gender barriers and continue to be incredible role-models for aspiring DJs.
We don’t look to male DJs to be physically fit, have nice hair, and a beautiful smile as credentials to be a talented artist. If a man doesn’t have the technical ability and artistry it is unlikely that his career will have any longevity. Marketing females based on their physical appearance rather than their technical ability isn’t empowering, it’s an unfortunate disservice to women who are struggling to prove their professional worth and talent in male-dominated industries.
But we gotta say, this Facebook user on the DJaneMag contest page had the best response:
Born and bred with the Detroit techno scene, I pledge my allegiance to the underground.