Facebook tells me that today is the “International Day of The Girl”. The day was declared by the UN to support more opportunities for girls and to highlight gender inequality. Recently there have been the revelations about repeated sexual assault and rape by the powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. I cannot help but tie these two things together in my mind and think about the EDM scene.
There is an important discussion taking place in the more woke corners of world of dance music right now: how do we encourage more female and female identifying folks to get involved in the scene as producers, DJs and promoters.
There are many great things taking place as we speak (write?), from the shining example of the Discwoman collective to the femme and LGBTQ friendly Intersessions DJ classes started by Chippy Nonstop but there is still so much disparity between femme and male representation in the industry. Part of me wonders if it’s not just the accessibility of role models and skills but rather deeper. Maybe its the fact that this industry like so many others is riddled with toxic men who make it an uninviting place for women to operate.
It’s not a matter of “is there a Harvey Weinstein in EDM?” its rather a matter of “who are the Harvey Weinsteins of EDM?” and it’s plural because there are many.
I asked the question publicly on my Facebook profile the other day and was dismayed by what I heard. It boiled down to one common refrain: women are subjected to sexual assault and attempted rape regularly in the dance music scene but they don’t come forward because they’re scared of ruining their careers and being ostracized. I had people contact me personally about their experiences and that of others. I had people hit at knowing the names of repeat predators in the scene but they were not willing to go public and I am not going to break their confidence.
What I will say is that these people need to be outed. They need to be kicked out of this industry so that this can be a place where all of us can thrive and feel comfortable.
I wonder how many women have left the industry out of discouragement in seeing these predatory men who violated them lauded and celebrated. I can only imagine how terrible it must be to see someone who made you feel so uncomfortable in control of critical parts of an industry you work in.
I also can’t pretend like it’s easy for someone to come forward. It most certainly isn’t. You risk your career, you risk having no one back you up or being attacked and doubted. It’s very easy for me to say these people need to be called out because I’m a cis-white guy who won’t have to deal with any fallout.
I can only promise that I will back anyone up who makes a claim. I will never work with an individual who is accused of predatory actions on women. I invite all other men in this scene to make the same promise. If you know of men who are preying on women, do not stand idly by. Speak up. Let’s make this a space where we can all have fun.