10 things you can do to make dance music less sexist - Culture - Mixmag

10 things you can do to make dance music less sexist

Enough chat – it's time for action

  • Words: Sirin Kale | Illustration: Eliot Wyatt
  • 8 February 2017
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1 Check the line-up you're playing on...

If you saw the recent Reading festival announcement, you’ll know how embarrassingly frequent all-male line-ups can be. One powerful way to combat this is for high-profile male DJs to refuse to play all-male line-ups. This is becoming increasingly common; off the record, a number of headline DJs confirmed to Mixmag that they’ve introduced the policies, but they didn’t want to speak publicly (lest dickheads spout shit about how the only reason female artists were booked was because X insisted).

“I just felt that the discourse around me and my friends was mounting to the point where I felt I had to do something about it,” a major Berlin-based techno DJ of headliner status told us during a Skype chat shortly before Christmas. He’s asked to remain anonymous, but his policy requires a minimum of 15 per cent of the line-up of any night he plays to include female, trans or non-binary DJs. “I’ve had to turn down a few things, but there haven’t been many negative responses to it. For the most part people are willing to try.”

And if you’re lucky enough to be curating your own line-up: Think about who you’re inviting to play. Yeah, it’s easy to just ask your boys. But if at least half of the artists aren’t women, you’re doing something wrong.

2 ...And Book more than two women for your festival

While things are definitely improving, all-male lineups remain the norm, not the exception. Promoters need to do more, and that doesn’t just mean booking a female artist to headline the main stage one night and thinking their work is done. Forward-thinking festivals like Sustain Release (run by Aurora Halal and Zara Wladawsky) quietly implement a policy of booking 50/50 male and female artists.

“We feel it is important to continue to push promoters and clubs to diversify their line-ups, to call into question the continual cis-male whitewashing we seem to consistently see within club, festivals & even live music line-ups,” women’s events collective Resis’dance tells me. “We want to see 2017 promoters and clubs celebrate diversity and stand in solidarity with us as we try to break the norms of patriarchal partying. We believe in creating freedom of opportunity for all."

Also, diversity isn’t just booking white women – it goes for people of colour, non-binary people, those from the LGBTQ community. Finally, think about your ticket allocations. Hallowed techno festival Freerotation allocates equal numbers of tickets to male and female guests.

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