EDM.com Spotlight

EDM.com Spotlight

Dutch DJ Makes Sexist Comment On Why There Are Fewer Female DJs

Gender equality is becoming a rising issue in this country as individuals become more aware of the gender bias that affects both men and women.

Women in particular have difficulty gaining entrance and acceptance into industries that are traditionally considered "male." The music industry in particular has long been dominated by men and has left women on the fringe, making it difficult to hold roles as creators or decision-makers about the way that they are represented.

Consider the way that you typically see women in music. Although there are many behind-the-scene babes that are kicking ass and taking names as booking agents, managers and publicists, you see very few female DJs. When in the public eye, women tend to hold overtly sexualized roles as dancers, or are showed in suggestive visual images that accompany the (usually male) DJ's production.

Women in many industries, whether it's technology, engineering, videography, or even the music industry face many challenges that men do not. Women are constantly challenged on their knowledge about a topic, as well as their expertise and authority in a particular field.

Sam Feldt, a 22-year old DJ from the Netherlands, made an inflammatory comment regarding the reason why there are so few women seen in the DJ booth.

"If you want to be a DJ, you have to be a nerd and there are not so many female nerds out there. Females are passionate about it, but they aren't nerds. We men are bigger nerds. Nerdy jobs are mostly fulfilled by men...

...If you have to be a DJ, what you have to do is produce. Sit behind a personal computer for hundreds and thousands of hours to understand what you have to do. You get to see very few female programmers, web designers... Women can be really focused, but it's more about interest," he added.

Huh. So, it’s because we’re not "nerdy"?

What Sam Feldt fails to consider is that the reason that fewer women hold roles in traditionally "male" industries is attributed to social conditioning.

Social conditioning is the way we are raised to believe each gender should behave according to societal expectations. Or, to be properly defined:

"Social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. The concept is stronger than that of socialization, which is the process of inheriting norms, customs and ideologies."

Consider the toys that you played with as a kid. If you were a girl, there is a good chance that you were exposed to Barbie dolls, or played house. If you are a boy, you were probably brought up playing with monster trucks or light sabers. Y’know, typically gendered toys.

Now consider the impact that this has on your personal interpretation of gender. As a child, early exposure to gender concepts influences the roles that an individual chooses to navigate in society. For this reason, women are typically associated with having better interpersonal skills than men, while men tend to develop better skills in math and science. But that does not mean that these are exclusively gendered, rather the way in which we are raised influences the skills we develop and the roles that we seek.

Also, consider the way that social conditioning influences the hobbies that we enjoy. Downloading sound engineering software or purchasing expensive sound equipment can be rather intimidating if it's not something you've ever been exposed to before. Hand a man a bag full of make-up and tell him to grab the contour brush, and most men will experience the same feeling. But that doesn't mean that either person lacks the ability to be able to master the techniques needed to be proficient at these skills.

So for Sam Feldt to say that women aren’t "nerdy" enough to be DJs is an oversimplification of a symptom of society.

Yes, becoming a producer takes extreme dedication and desire to develop a knowledge of complex software and sound design. No argument there. But specifically targeting women is a failure on Feldt’s part to understand the factors in society that influence that outcome. Young women like Rezz, who recently participated in an AMA with fans, are shattering that perception. The unfortunate thing, is that had this been said about any other group – like race, for example – this would be considered a much more inflammatory comment. However, because this is directed towards women and their "engendered skill set" it’s considered by many to be inherently true.

Comments like these by Sam Feldt are not only damaging, but ignorant. It propagates a cycle of gender inequality that discourages women from pursuing roles of influence in not only music, but in all technical industries. Instead of accepting excuses, we need to support women who choose to break gender boundaries and pursue male dominated fields.

These statements are as of yet not independently verified, we will update you at such a time as we receive further confirmation. We have contacted Sam Feldt's management so that he can respond to the comment and are currently pending his response.

H/T: New Kerala