Sexism in music is the oldest story there is. Still, sometimes it takes us by surprise when we look at the lineups of the big upcoming summer music festivals, or ads from local clubs, and how few women (if any) appear. What century is this?
Ask any female DJ how their work differs from their male counterparts, and it's almost like you can see them playing back Samantha Bee's Full Frontal opening skit in their heads while your question drones into, "What's it like to be a female woman?"
"As a DJ who happens to be female, we often get this question, and we just freaking — aaaah! It kills us," Sky Deep, an American-born, Berlin-based DJ and audio engineer, told Refinery29. "In general, you just want to be respected as a technician and as an artist. It's not cool for some guy to reach over and touch the decks or touch the mixer while I'm working, as if I don't know what to do. It doesn't happen all the time but it's annoying."
Lately, however, groups of female-identifying DJs have been taking matters into their own hands. All over the world, they're forming collectives to provide each other with the support they're not receiving from a largely patriarchal industry. Some are small, local groups who perform together, and help each other book gigs or organize club nights. Others exist solely in the virtual world, hosting mixes by female artists on streaming radio sites. And some reach across all borders, connecting DJs in real life and online for a variety of projects, both musical and political.
"I find that we have to support each other, work together, pool resources. Because in most cases, no individual artist has a full set of resources needed to make the impact that we want to," Sky Deep said of belonging to global collective female:pressure.
The groups listed ahead aren't just supporting each other; they're making noise. Soon, no festival or talent booker will be able to say they don't know of any qualified women who deserve to share the bill.