The gender gap with electronic music is exhaustive, and moreover, it’s boring.
When can we sufficiently overcome the disparity within the scene and agree to dance, bob, and move to the sounds in a harmonic gesture? I can only imagine equality sounding so sweet.
Technology can transform the “conventional gender roles, altering the body and the self via a machine.” Regardless of the neutrality of the machine, gaps exist and gender inequality is vivid within the realm of technology and science, this includes the art of creating music via machine or computer.
The male dominated music scene of techno and electronic music is being disrupted by Discwoman, which is made up of Frankie Hutchinson, Emma Burgess-Olson, and Christine Tran in New York City, who represent and feature cis women, trans women, and genderqueer individuals. The collective works as a DJ booking agency. They have produced events in over 15 cities and work with over 150 DJs.
Burgess-Olson, who is the only DJ of the trio, helped create Discwoman with Hutchinson and Tran, who have worked with bookings, social media, PR, and organizing since 2014.
In 2015, only 10.8% of electronic music festival lineups were female. Similar to the pay gap with employment, women in music are taken advantage of by pay cuts and promises for exposure and opportunities. The problem is striking and not foreign to female musicians across all music genres.
To further combat the rise of disparity, Discwoman’s residency at the Bossa Nova Civic Club entitled, “Technofeminsim” is a party that features all female DJs who are underrepresented or underbooked. Not only do the events give proper exposure to emerging DJs, they provide the musicians with a safe space to promote their work and connect with other artists and listeners. In conjunction with the residency, interviews with trans women, cis women, and gender queer musicians are published on the Discwoman blog, garnering further interest and attention towards female in the techno music scene.
“With every tech thing—and I think DJing is a technical skill—it can be especially intimidating for women to think of it as a realistic thing to do with your life and your time. So Discwoman is a friendlier way to welcome them. I’m imagining all these young girls thinking, this seems cool,” said Emma Burgess-Olson in an interview with Thump.
Discwoman features musicians like DJ Haram, a queer artist who mixes middle eastern rhythms and Jersey club, BEARCAT, a London-born artist who works in performance, sound, and makeup, and SHYBOI, an artist who mixed Caribbean and American culture. The list goes on.
Almost two years exactly in the making, Discwoman provides a virtual space for women within techno and extends their hands towards providing a physical space — through events, parties, and shows — they give female DJs the proper and long awaited outlet that they deserve.