Girls to the Front: POSSO Talk Feminism and Women in EDM
We at POSSO believe that in any vocation, and in anything you want in life, it’s about how much you want it and how hard you hustle for it. That being said, you can’t talk about being a woman in a male-dominated industry without addressing it (hashtag girldeejay, hashtag letsmoveon). This leads us to discuss the necessary paradigm of old-school feminism: a term that has unfortunately become a “bad word” because of the reactionary, anti-male “complain-y” philosophy that it originally had to be. And by that, we mean no disrespect to the 1970s women whose shoulders we stand on…out of almost any sociopolitical movement comes an understandable dose of reactionary anger. Because now us badass chicks in 2014 can address this stuff with the proper 20/20 hindsight that change can’t ever happen by fighting against something or blaming someone else (men). The real power of any change comes from an awareness within.
This leads us to our theory (which goes deeper than just the girl-deejay thing): Our society is unconsciously structured for a woman to placate a man, in both her personality and sexuality. Uh-oh…clock’s ticking and you gotta find a husband so you can make that baby…but, really, why? We can talk about this because we went through it: subscribe to all the supposed hopes and dreams of that perfect nuclear family or be world-traveling deejays and live our dream? That strange pressure from everyone else—media, family—is really just a collection of cultural ideas, not your own. Is it really your dream to be that placid, smiling mother showcasing her smooth dishwashing hands in that Palmolive commercial? That being said, we don’t wanna be “men.” We just want what we want. This brings us to our next point:
What do you really want? Or, what do you wanna say? We didn’t know for a long time, but now we do. And with that inner knowledge comes the silencing of everyone else’s ideas. Many women unconsciously fall into this cultural belief system because they don’t know what they really want, and so do men. Now that we know what we want to say as artists, the satisfaction of spreading something honest has surpassed the urge to give in to the conditioned ideas of someone else’s “happiness.” Apologies, but the tangent is necessary here: How does this relate to being a “female” deejay?
We’ve established that our society pushes women to politely fit into a man’s world, so when women are trying to break into any industry, there is both resistance from men, because they’ve had the established power, and competition among women. Why is there competition among women? Because we are taught to be accepted by men, not ourselves. This is a collective-consciousness issue, ladies: Girl deejays need to stop being scared that there is only one spot for the female deejay crown. It’s just not true. It’s all about perceived value: We are all artists and how true you are to that vision means you get to have your cake and eat it, too. Only when we stop playing the boys’ game and start playing our own will we get to have that big champagne party with allllll the cake, the biggest macaron in the world.
Let’s shift 180 degrees for a minute. What about the audience of EDM? The fans, the people who consume this culture and make the industry wheels turn? At the EDM Biz conference in Vegas two weeks ago, Tatiana Grace, the former music director at Twitter, spoke on a panel in detail about who this audience actually is: 55 percent are male and 45 percent are female. A lot of people might think of EDM as a bro-dominated sport, and it is, but barely. Again, perception is everything. If there’s anything we’ve learned about business, it is, know who you’re selling to…so who’s giving these ladies something to rave about, really? The music culture is at this critical point where it needs something real, something that describes what this generation is feeling. And that demographic is almost 50/50. Thump, Vice’s online music platform, published a survey and reported that, on average, female deejays make up only 6 percent of the talent booked at the top-grossing music festivals in the world. Which is funny ’cause there are a lot of female deejays out there these days, but they aren’t getting booked.
So we asked ourselves why and thought about some of our girlfriends in the industry who are strangely lacking proper representation. A lady we know, who plays all over the world has a top-tier agent and makes great music, doesn’t have a manager. Same goes for a Grammy-nominated songwriter who also tours and deejays but does not have a manager. There are more examples, but they become redundant. This isn’t a rhetorical point here; we are baffled. Their hustle seems to be on point, but we obviously don’t know all the details. To make it big in this industry, you need to have the right team. So what’s up with that?
We know we preach the gospel of the Nasty Gal here on the reg, but this is a company that is changing the game for all us women, in any industry. Fashion has been a male-dominated industry that further dictates those cultural “norms” we addressed earlier, while NG has risen up and is run by an 80 percent female fleet. The success of this multimillion-dollar company (that never had an initial investor), as documented in NG founder Sophia Amoruso’s book #GirlBoss, is proof that as women, if we listen to each other and give a voice to one another, we can all create a massive change here…for her, one crop top at a time.
Let us implement this model with the power of music. There is only one Madonna, and we know this because of Britney. Amoruso carved out a niche with her eye for style by listening to and engaging with her demographic of girls buying her clothes. She asked what they wanted and delivered with style and integrity—just like Madonna did with her music. That’s why they’re both millionaires. Look at the site: the clothes and attitude are injected with an elevated kind of sexuality, something we haven’t seen before. To us, that’s why it’s popular: It represents being sexy for yourself, not for a man. It’s about feeling good, feeling your best, and feeling new.
We now propose to you, dear reader, a new kind of feminism: Real power isn’t about putting men down or having power over anyone else. It’s about owning your power. Money is power. But, then again, so is sex: own your sexuality and redefine it. Own this, and you own it all. Now forget about what you’ve been taught to want, and know what you are capable of. Find what you love and go get it. There’s no one getting in our way but ourselves.