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The Secret Life of a DJ: a Joyous Job in a Grimly Misogynistic Industry


An anonymous DJ pens this op-ed about her experience as a performing DJ and the differential treatment that comes with it. In order to avoid being called 'bossy' or a 'diva' when negotiating her own DJs fees, this anonymous DJ constructed a male alter-ego manager to handle all of her financial dealings.

Spoiler: It worked.

This article originally appeared on The Guardian

The entertainment industry is a difficult place in which to carve out a career, and attempting to navigate this patriarchal, charlatan-filled landscape is all the more trying as a young female. I am a successful DJ, play all over the world and have won various awards for my work. I love what I do. But I loathe the music business.

Dance music for the most part is a boys’ club: tech geeks pressing buttons in darkened rooms, or ultra-macho pseudo rock stars strutting their stuff, accessorised by half-naked podium dancers. As such it is an unregulated, unadulterated hub of misogyny. Of course a few token women break through but you only need to look at a festival or club lineup to see how infrequently it happens.

I am relatively well-known and have worked in the business for almost a decade, filling clubs, doing the festival circuit and touring with some of the biggest names on the scene. And yet I have experienced repeated incidents of chauvinism and condescension, especially when trying to discuss my fees and terms with those behind the scenes. It’s a dog-eat-dog industry and although there is a veneer of camaraderie, it is merely that. If you don’t fit into the lads’ gang, life is much more difficult. And there’s no such sorority among female DJs.

You may ask why I continue to work in a field in which I find the conditions so unpleasant. Simply because nothing compares to the buzz of mixing tracks, bouncing around on stage for hours on end, and the energy and oneness I feel with the crowd. Engaging with thousands of strangers who are “having moments”, transcending social barriers, and making memories through the joy of music is my high. Of course I enjoy the afterparties too, but I don’t involve myself in any negative aspects of the scene. Drugs are out there and young people are prone to experiment but they’re not as prominent as they once were.


Read the full story at The Guardian

Cover photo illustrated by Michael Driver

Tags : The Guardian