4 Unspoken Reasons Why Female DJs Are Unequal (And How To Conquer Them)

Miss Kittin

Miss Kittin, who's sustained a long career as a performer, producer and DJ.

Only 10% of performers at music festivals around the world are female, and an even smaller percentage of women are on music label rosters, according to Female Pressure. So if you're a female DJ, my betting is you've at some point felt like it's close to an impossible task in front of you. That despite pumping out great mixes and working as hard as you can, the recognition from booking agents and promoters - and the subsequent gigs and success - remain elusive.

Why? Why do female DJs get the short end? Why do they fail to break the Top 10 lists of any kind (besides an all-female DJ list)? And more important, how is it that somefemale DJs beat the odds and build brands that help them to achieve huge DJing success?

The answers lie in the reasons why females are unequal generally, beyond DJing. And in this article I’m going reveal the “unspoken truths” that cause well-deserving female DJs like you to be unequal. Truths that mean, if you're don't take action to counter them, you'll end up getting no results, becoming demotivated… and eventually burning out and quitting.

The good news is that once you acknowledge these unspoken truths within yourself, you can beat the odds and start to see results. So, here they are:

Unspoken Truth #1: Women consistently underestimate their own talents and abilities

I’ve met so many amazing female DJs who underestimate their skills and value in the music industry, while equally I’ve met many male DJs who have egos the size of Jupiter yet can’t even hold down their own behind the decks to make a proper mix.

Here’s the deal: When you are a new DJ it is only natural to feel inferior to those that have paved the way for you. Of course your confidence is not going to be so high. So what do we do with this self-inflicted unspoken truth? The secret lies in your ability to prove yourself wrong.

Annie Mac commands respect as a DJ through her work with BBC Radio 1 and tireless work on the road too.

Annie Mac commands respect as a DJ through her work with BBC Radio 1 and tireless work on the road too.

So, I’m giving you permission. You don’t have to be right, day in, day out, about choosing the right mix, meeting the right people, choosing the right logo or website or DJ name, or any of the other million choices that you have to make to build a career. Here, you just have to work to prove yourself wrong about being inadequate! How does that feel? Good? Great? AWESOME? Here’s how one leading lady DJ puts it into perspective:

“From when I first started playing, I've worked very hard to prove myself as an artist that is competent on every level. And sometimes people will say you are very good... for a girl [laughing]. Excuse me, how about you just say I'm very good all across the board?” - DJ Helena Interview with The Examiner.

Unspoken Truth #2: Successful women are liked less than successful men

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, highlighted this one in her book Lean In. She pointed out that if a male (in this case a male DJ) becomes more successful, he is more liked. But if a female becomes more successful, she is less liked - and that’s true by both women and men.

The easiest way to get people to like you through your journey to success is to treat people with respect, and recognise them in your efforts.

So what's the secret to conquering this one? It's this: The easiest way to get people to like you through your journey to success is to treat people with respect, and recognise them in your efforts. If you’re someone who doesn’t need to put others down in order to lift yourself up, then most people (men and women) will feel compelled to respect you for the work that you do, and will have a positive opinion of you as a person.

Ever notice that in many of Nervo’s interviews, the ladies continuously give admiration, positive comments and recognition to all of the DJs and producers that have worked with them? What would people be saying about their success and likability if the opposite were true? I think we would have a bunch of ticked-off people in the music industry, all too happy to cut their careers short.

That’s it. What you must do is respect people who have influence… so you can seize the opportunities they give you. The question is: “How?” And that leads me to the next unspoken truth.

Vanity Fair L'Oreal Paris Nim Liv Nervo

The Nervo sisters have managed to get success and remain liked and respected through obeying the simple rule above.

Unspoken Truth #3: When choosing who should DJ, men are significantly more likely to choose men

In the DJing industry where most promoters, bar and club owners are men, they are likely to favour other men, with female DJs generally only getting a look-in when a promoter or club manager tries to put together an all-female night, or wants you to DJ "the ladies' night". (What is the draw? Should it really matter?)

The best way to demonstrate your value as a DJ is to respect this male-dominated network, and showcase the benefits you and your music bring to complement their establishment. Do you have a large social network of followers that you can bring to the venue? Are you great at crowd interaction?

Some DJs show up around 15 minutes before their set and head out the door as soon as their set is done - will you come early and stick around after your set? Are you dependable? Do you have testimonials not only on your talent but on your character? You want to be that type of person they can roll the dice on, so show them!

Unspoken Truth #4: Senior men are more likely to mentor young men than young women

This means that men will often gravitate towards helping younger men, with whom they connect more naturally. In addition, women are less likely to seek a mentorship from someone of the opposite sex. This means there are fewer women who are being mentored through their DJing careers by leading male DJs. As someone who was myself mentored by a female DJ, I felt this was the best way for me to learn and avoid any problems my then-boyfriend might have if I had chosen a male DJ mentor. (I can just imagine...)

Women are less likely to seek a mentorship from someone of the opposite sex.

One simple solution: Find other female DJs who can guide you through this journey. Throughout my career, I have reached out to many female DJs to get bits of advice. Still, to this day I look for guidance from those whom I admire and deeply respect. Not only are most female DJs willing to share, the majority of the time, they are generally also happy you reached out in the first place.

Through the brilliance of technology we can reach out to just about anyone on earth, using Skype and Google Hangouts to communicate face to face with people wherever they may be. I know from personal experience that while learning how to DJ is one thing, learning how to be a DJ is a completely different challenge. That's where mentors are invaluable.

Sam Divine

Sam Divine was the first female DJ to sign for Defected Records. If you've got the talent and the drive, there's absolutely no reason why you can't be the next...

Next steps...

Now that you've maybe (hopefully) glimpsed some of the subtleties of why women are held back in Djing, if you're a female DJ reading this, you’ve got one goal: You need to get some sort of result.

Maybe some honest feedback from someone who has been down that road before, or something else to give you as boost in confidence. Doesn't have to be huge, but the truth is that when you work on something for too long without seeing any reward, you get demotivated - and that's the last thing you want that to happen.

So, what can you do to get that? Well, remember when I said: The easiest way to get people to like you through your journey to success is to treat people with respect and recognise them in your efforts.

First you must figure out what DJs you really look up to, in terms of music style, personal brand, attitude, and overall presence, in order to work out who you’d actually like to get some one-on-one straight-up DJ career talk from.

So do that. First you must figure out what DJs you really look up to, in terms of music style, personal brand, attitude, and overall presence, in order to work out who you’d actually like to get some one-on-one straight-up DJ career talk from. Pick your one dream DJ mentor whose wing you'd love to be taken under. (Notice I said “dream” DJ mentor. Shoot for the stars!), but also list three other DJs who you'd also love to get personal tips from. they don't have to be the biggest DJs in the world, just respected names who you think would do your DJing career well.

Vitally, in both scenarios, work out exactly why you think these choices of DJ would be able to help you. This is important, and if you skip this step, the exercise is pointless, because we need to take action to get results.

Now get that spiffy list of 3 DJs (not the dream DJ mentor just yet) and reach to start that connection based on respect. If this DJ is not in your area, you can definitely find them on Twitter, Facebook or through their contact information found on their website. From there, tell them how they inspire you or why you really dig their style. Now is not the time to ask them for anything, but rather this is the crucial step to show them how much of an impact on your career they have.

Everyone likes to get praise from people they don't know: no one likes to have to answer "Will you be my mentor?" What you're doing here is starting something, and while you can't know at this point what might come of it,trust me: You get amazing things back once you start to give like this.


Éclair-Fifi featured on BBC Radio 1's In New DJs We Trust, and is said to have been mentored by Annie Mac, also of the station.

As for your dream DJ mentor, keep following and building on relationships with people within reach and the people they know. People are more receptive to meeting someone introduced by a trusted friend or associate. Eventually by connecting with someone who has an existing relationship with either your dream DJ mentor's agent or publicist, you'll increase the odds of a successful connection.

Finally, if you want to reach out to me you can find me at casielane.com where I write about simple discoveries to bring vitality to your DJing career. Or if you prefer, you can also send me something awesome on Twitter at @CasieLane.

Here at Digital DJ Tips, we suspect there are more female DJs who read this site than ever put their hand up and say something. So if that's you, please take this chance to say hello below and tell us of your triumphs and challenges in DJing.

Now go to:
The Friday Roundup: Female DJs, Paul Van Dyk, Rave Cops, Best of 2013
From the Guardian: Where are all the female DJs?
Your Questions: Does Body Image Matter For DJs?


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  1. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    Good article, thank you. I am sure it will be tremendously helpful to our female readers (of whom we hear way too little, probably as a result of rule #1).

    And the fact that it's a woman writing it will help too. I can only imagine the response if a guy had written this 😀 .


  2. You also forgot rampant cultural sexism. Men often believe, at some level, that women cannot do what men have traditionally done.

  3. DJ STELCH says:

    This Is Beautiful. Even as a male DJ, i got so much from this and i'll apply them.. Thanks I appreciate..

    • That's fantastic! I'm delighted you got the take-a-way from it. :)

      • Love this article! Such true words, I have very recently started to learn how to dj and love the feelings I get, I done my first set in front of anyone last night to a crowd of 130 and things went very well considering I had no set list planned.
        Why not spend the rest of your life doing what makes you happy?

        Thanks for this article

        B :)

  4. DJ Desbaa says:

    Thank you so much for putting this together. i am new to djing having just decided a year ago this is what i want for my life and future. i have always been a musician but had to put it all down to raise my two boys. Now they are old enough to where i have more time for things i love other than them lolol.. one of my first questions after i got started was "why are there so few female djs?" and no one had an answer. this was amazing to read. i have a female mentor as i sought her out. jennifer marley. i feel blessed to have her guiding me through my beginnings and also blessed to know to look for my own answers and ways. thank you for this.. i will be using this to keep me motivated to obtain the success i see in my head and my heart.

    • Always do it for the love of music, plus you are a musician which is an advantage that most DJ's don't have, consider production as well, good luck.

    • Hi DJ Desbaa,

      I am so happy you commented and shared your experience being a mother as well because I feel this is another unspoken truth that isn't talked about at all! Women are historically never taught how to manage a career (especially on in the nightlife) and children.

      I'm hoping there are more women, like you who will come forth and share their experiences of motherhood, becoming and being a DJ.

  5. Thank you for a good article and inspiration! :)

    Im a Dj myself and i have always thought that its both pros and cons that I'm a woman. After reading you article i think its more cons.. i agree on everything. I have also got gigs just because I'm a girl thats kind of sad because it means that we are not that many in the business. I think you are spot on why we are not that many, it takes more to be a girl and its more lonely that for guys (at least thats my experience)..

    Greetings! :)

    • Hi DJ My,

      Thank you for sharing, I agree that I too have recognized that I've gotten gigs simply because I am a female. In some cases, there have been feelings of exploitation in play...this due to lack of communication between myself and promoters or managers. No one wants to be labeled as something they truly aren't.

      Saying this, the more communication around these subjects the more we can come up with solutions!

  6. DJ Desbaa says:

    also thanx to the male djs who have replied here. im glad to see the growing support for female djs from the males.. many guys do think a female cannot do what a man can do and i think guys tend to judge a females skills harder and so we end up doubting ourselves and the things talked about in the article of not having confidence.. but one by one we will get our respect :) i refuse to let it happen any other way for myself while still being gracious to say im not the best 😀 i hope you all get the show of your dreams.. keep the hard work up along with your head, and with our music, minds we will shred 😉

    • ForcedHand says:

      Honestly, I think that a lot of men know what they can do isn't very much and they're afraid that someone prettier than them will come along and they'll never get their chance. Pretty people do have an advantage in this world and that often garners more scrutiny.

      • I'm not sure I understand completely what you are saying about people being prettier. Is it perhaps there are insecurity issues from less-prettier people or men in general and this is why we have these unspoken truths?

  7. Julie Amyotte (Jülz) says:

    I started DJing a little bit over a year ago. I was always drawn to DJing and electronic music but without any female figure to lookup to, I never had the guts to start, until I met my ex-boyfriend and his friends.

    They are the biggest tech house, deep house, techno and progressive house fans I know. And some of them are amateur DJs. When I first started hanging out with this new crowd, I was curious, always hanging out near the DJ booth at the parties, and finally, one day, i went to push a few buttons while no one was DJing. The result: an awful mix of music coming out of the speakers AND a guy who offered to teach me.

    Since then, some of my friends are starting to make it out, mixing at different venues around Montreal. I try to be at every single one of their gigs because they make me meet people. I am still the only girl in our group who DJ at every party but it's slowly inspiring other girls to pick it up. And every time someone brings a female friend who DJ at a party, I make an extra effort to get to know them and make them part of our "inner circle".

    When it comes to mentoring, 2 of my friends are sporadically doing so. They are both guys, but except for the little sexist jokes (and they are only ever jokes) they never look down on me for being a girl. I'm also lucky that I've always preferred hanging out with guys, and that never created any issue in any of my relationships because I made sure that whoever I was dating understood he had nothing to worry about. I know I am blessed to have those people around me because they all are very respectful of women in general but also when it comes to DJing.

    When it comes to the future, I am scared. I know that if I start getting gigs, it will be harder because I am a woman. The Montreal scene is slowly starting to involve girls but they are still very rare. I decided to turn that to my advantage, and be proud of being the only girl. I embrace the sexist jokes and comments and turn them to my advantage. Guys like the challenge I bring them, and I like that they challenge me back. And slowly, this is making us better. So to all girls out there, don't be afraid to start and make your way up. The more of us who push our way up, the easier it will get!

    • Julie,

      You ROCK! I love your attitude and your story, it's truly an inspiration for other females thinking about this awesome world of DJing.

      I would be so happy to see your career take-off and fly to the stars!

  8. Hi Cassie, welcome to the family with your perspective.

    I sincerely want to apologize on behalf of my gender. I know that there are males out there who will hate on female DJs no matter how talented they are. I wish I could do more than just admonish them online for their bigotry.

    With that said, I have a few skepticisms I wanted to bring up and talk about, hoping to get your perspective and thus have answers. Please don't think I'm attacking women in this.

    First off, is there really an equal number of female DJs out there compared to men? In equality talks such as this, I usually like to venture that if we had 10 slots for a festival, and 100 DJs are trying out with the makeup being 90 men and 10 women...would equality be 5 men and 5 women booked? (thinking only of gender) Or 1 woman and 9 men? (thinking of the ratios of people)

    Secondly, when you mention Sandburg and her "Lean In" push, I remember many women who were interviewed expressing how they didn't want to be a CEO, but more a wife and mom. That or they wanted to start their own business as opposed to fighting to get into the board room.

    When it came to the club scene, I noticed the same out of women. Most women I've encountered look at DJing as some "geek" thing, or too expensive. These women seemingly were more looking for quicker notoriety and money. Many of them get into bottle serving and bartending, which often ends up being more lucrative than as a resident DJ. I'll even add that in the clubs more women get bartending/serving positions than men. Many others get into gogo dancing, hoping they can use it to get into modeling or what not...or even in the hope of finding a sugar daddy.

    In the long run, most of these women never stick around the scene long enough to build from it. Even in music I see more women wanting to be singers than producers...hence why we end up with the issue of EDM singers barely being paid while the producer makes a fortune.

    I think if we as a scene (male and female) could teach many rookies about balance and patience, then there might be more growth. I've actually tried mentoring female DJs in my past. I'll give them advice, teach them things, and help them make promotional materials.

    The problem is too many are in a hurry to get into the booth that they cut corners. Suddenly my mentee vanishes because some guy is offering her gigs she's not ready for (again, it's a guy with ulterior motives). Things seem to go ok until she either turns down the guy's advances or they hookup and later breakup...which often then leads to her quitting DJing altogether.

    I personally think we will see more female headliners happen, but they might not be the big EDM festival DJs. Most of the female DJs I respect are too "underground" for those festivals...and they keep it that way for their own sense of creativity. Right now, I still see too much of the billings and top DJ charts loaded with guys who have been in the game for a long time and thus are finally seeing ROI. As long as we see female DJs keep it real and stay in this game for the long haul, then we'll see them join the likes of the big headliners.

    • Hi D-Jam, I appreciate this well thought through comment and I, not only understand where you are coming from, but I also agree.

      You are correct, there is not an equal number of women vs. male DJs and I do believe it has quite a lot to do with how women are traditionally raised to represent beauty.

      I often times catch myself perpetuating this with my own daughter....saying, "You look so beautiful" more often than, "You are so talented." This is going against all what I want to instill in my child, yet, I still do it because it is embedded in unfortunately the way I was brought up and now, through my family and extended family's values on a woman's looks.

      I bet you can imagine I am much more proud when she decides to play on a keyboard and experiment with sound over looking at herself in the mirror playing with lipstick!

      Maybe a little off subject, but showing you some of the societal norms of a female (which is magnified in Asian cultures where I am now) that greatly effects behaviors later in life.

      I believe there are people that will always try to cut corners in life, try to use the latest tip to get ahead, we see it blatantly so in this industry.

      And just like you, with time I think we will see more women taking the lead with their careers in this industry it just takes time.

  9. I have been told by another male peer that it is a male *perception* that just because we are female, our struggle is not as hard as the male DJ.

    This perception will never change until we all earn respect. Unfortunately, some females would rather feed into it and do things that foster this type of thinking- while the rest of us put in work. I could get mad but really that's where my longevity becomes the winner and builds a career rather than one year wonders.

    Great article. I wonder what percentage of male/female actually read it?

    -(female dj) Kelly Ross aka Agent 137

  10. When we used to go to the festivals back in the early 2000's (TAO, EDC, Monster Massive just to name a few) there were quite a few female DJ's (DJ Rap, Reid Speed, Sandra Collins who actually headlined TAO back in 2001 if I'm not mistaken, Collette, etc...), so there was talent back then which I'm sure there is today but just not getting the mainstream exposure that every DJ seems to covet these days be it male or female, most female DJ talents are booked for genre-specific gigs with minimal crossover appeal (Nervo, Krewella as examples), the only way to get exposure these days is to have a Top 40 hit, doesn't matter what gender you are, to me if you have talent you should not be hampered by gender but this is the society we live in, and if promoters pay top $$$ for a no-talent Paris Hilton to DJ then there's your answer.

    • I remember when dj rap started djing before most of today's male djs even picked a record up , excellent.

    • Please don't take this as snarky, I'm so glad you could name more than 2 female djs, but 4 is not "quite a few".

      I'm not looking for a hit or much exposure. I have a day job and just want to share my favorite music and make people dance once and awhile. I'm just looking for promoters I contact with mixes to even respond to me with a friendly rejection.

      You, BTD10, said, "to me if you have talent you should not be hampered by gender" . Yes this is an ideal, it feels dismissive to the reality females face every day. And from my experience, 90% of djs aren't natural "talents".
      They have played and practiced long and hard to get good at what they do.

  11. My fav sets in 2013 all came from very talented djs who all happen to be ladies 5 in total , no ego's, always showed up , and musically they all play with a maturity that's second to none.

    We need more :).

  12. thedjprestige says:

    Not sure what im reading here....a compatent female dj who is also attractive will trump an average male dj any day of the week in the states when it comes to booking.

    • RIGHT!!!! That's why they're quick to label themselves and hashtag #femaleDJ every chance they get because they know that their gender can get them ahead faster. Totally disagree with this piece

  13. ForcedHand says:

    I think who gets breaks and who doesn't is based on more than just gender and talent. I know in my area (San Francisco), there are a lot of lady DJs (Dee Janes). Much like anywhere else, if a standard is being challenged, the person challenging that standard should do their best to "win friends and influence people", rather than "do whatever you can to get ahead." I think we're all aware of the women that show cleavage, bat their eyelashes (and even offer sexual favors) at the bouncer or the club owner to get into a club or get free drinks, but using this techniisn't how a person should go about skipping "professional lines." There are a lot of pretty ladies that use their line skipping techniques to become club Dee Janes, but they ultimately fail because people see them as cheating their way to a position.

    How could we have a conversation about Dee Janes without talking about the tragedy that is Paris Hilton?

    • ForcedHand says:

      Man I really wish we had an edit or at least a delete button... Can we get that this year?

      Anyway, carrying on...

      Paris isn't nice to people one-on-one, she obviously cannot mix tunes even when she's told what to do. She just stands there looking pretty and I guess some people want that because they've gone to her shows, but I think people like Paris are traitors to their gender and the DJ community as a whole.

      If most women were like the examples Phil showed, Miss Kittin, Annie Mac, the Nervo Sisters, Sam Divine and Éclair-Fifi (sometimes I wish I was in Europe so much...), There wouldn't be a problem, but what we have is a culture of (mostly) corrupt people in power who are known to exchange favors in exchange for the offerings of certain vices (normally sex, money, and drugs). I guess the people (both men and women) who "put out" to get a DJ slot are hated because they haven't earned their spot and jumped right to the head of the line. I'm not naive, I know this whole culture is oozing with corruption, but people who do this kind of thing are normally flash-in-the-pan performers who aren't very good and they usually impede the people with talent from getting their time to play.

      Again, I know quite a few Dee Janes, and they have earned their positions be being the kind of person other people want to be around AND playing the songs people want to hear. Pretty people (of whatever gender bias) have a double-edged sword when it comes to their looks. All of these people realize that their looks are a powerful tool for them and they are consciously aware that over-use is a very real concern for them much more-so than their male counterparts because they know it can blow up in their face.

      If I had to guess, the reason more women aren't DJs is because many club owners, promoters, agents, etc. see pretty people as sexual objects and that is very unsavory to people who respect themselves. Most people are either unwilling or unable to manage the extra pressure.

  14. Love this article Cassie. I'm going to share it with all the female DJs I know. Thank you for doing research and presenting a "problem/solution" article. I love the tip on honoring the DJs we admire without asking them for anything. I also find it the most challenging!
    Thanks again. Re-posting!


  15. Michael Rempel says:

    I also think it has to do with the approach Men and Women take to relationships. Men are straight forward and have an easier time with being identified by a brand or a single purpose label. Women, at least the ones I know and hear from most, are complex creatures with more intimate relationships. The dance floor is a rather predictable space with genre definitions that create spaces with little room for dynamic intimacy or complexity. Women, especially young women; dance when they are interested in finding a man. It is about knowing your place, defining your space and participating in a well defined sameness. It is one of the last places left for masculine expression in a world gone feminine crazy. I think the biggest reason women dont DJ much is because women who dance want a man to relate to on the dance floor. Women who can do it well acknowledge this and transfer the energy through idealism. Many times the women I know who do this well have to fend off men who think they are sluts. (Not that they act that way, just that they are in front of a crowd at all will start this.) Fending off idiots is part of the gig for all of us but women have it extra hard.

    • My girlfriend (now wife) who I met while I was DJing was and is an avid clubber and she dances because she loves dancing, along with many of my female friends, so this doesn't ring true for me.

    • I don't agree with this comment at all, the women I know and myself dance because we love to move.
      I've become an accidental DJ over the last year due to a combination of factors, but mostly my love of most music and seeing people enjoy themselves. I don't think of the lack of women DJs as I'm not in competition for gigs, and it's never going to be my career.

  16. Thanks Casie
    Your article was much appreciated, clean simple and direct. I personally prefer both male and female mentors and ways of learning from many people the more the better. But I do totally understand what your saying about the ego/confidence thing... It's some what natural, but well worth acknowledging respecting your self for what you do know and understand that there will always be more to learn, so get in there !
    Cheers, much respect to you from Brisbane Australia, DJ Rox-Rox

  17. One of my favoite DJs is Reidspeed been following her for years

  18. "Unspoken Truth #3: When choosing who should DJ, men are significantly more likely to choose men

    In the DJing industry where most promoters, bar and club owners are men, they are likely to favour other men, with female DJs generally only getting a look-in when a promoter or club manager tries to put together an all-female night, or wants you to DJ “the ladies’ night”. (What is the draw? Should it really matter?)"

    I would like to respectfully disagree with the #3, in my local area, most promoters, bar and club owners (all men of course), much preferred a Female DJ's, be it just one night show gig, or a 1-2 months contract, they always and always looking for none other than a Female DJ's

    Why ? In my humble opinions, is because much of our local crowds are still in primitive apes brain stage, aka resulting in they love to see a pretty face, sexy body, with no skills what so ever, they (Female DJ's) cant even do a basic beat matching as much as the music selections.
    It really puzzled me that the crowd dont even care about the music selection at all as long as they all disguised in pretty face and sexy body,
    This is also a big slap for a real Female DJ's who actually have the skills, yet they cant even get a gig/show as much as this "other" Female DJ's. This real Female DJ's is a full time working DJ's, their whole income comes from depending on DJ gigs /show, yet this "other" Female DJ's is stealing it from them

    How to actually combat this kind of "trend"? And don't even get me started on those Female DJ's who took their top off while DJ ing, its sickening my stomach and a total disgrace to the other real hard-working Female DJ's

  19. dj moetec says:

    I love and I mean love female djs. They have my utmost respect. They can dj and they look sexy and can rock a crowd. I dont think a guy is better than a girl or vice versa, its all in the end product. Your mixing and crowd control and music selection.

    I was taught how to dj by a guy but I was taught how to dj a club by a girl and she could rock it out and i took over after she left.

    Two of my favorite djs of all time are women, Sandra Collins and Little Jen who is an Atlanta Ga., native and she got mad props when she djed.

    Miss DJaxx rocks hardcore and I do love those girls Nervo!!!

  20. Although I appreciate the intent of this article, I feel these points are almost as old as DJ culture itself. In this modern world, be you male or female, it's about being a PRODUCER now, about having the tracks (--unless-- you are a turntablist).. so just being a "DJ" now isn't really going to take you to an international level for the most part.

    I struggled for years and I ascribed all the reasons you've described to my struggle.. and then decided to take a break for two years and focus on making tunes. And guess what? I started getting more gigs, more praise, play from other DJs (which is straight up promotion whatever gender you are).. and now my schedule is buzzing.

    I think that trying to be a nice person, having some confidence, and being able to relate to either gender are pretty basic life skills that will get you ahead no matter what. But whether you can sit down in front of a computer for thousands of hours, and break through the plateau of frustration and emerge with something beautiful? That is a big factor in determining success.

    I'm not trying to say I'm as successful as I want to be. That is always an evolving process. But I know that I am releasing quality music of my own, which is something special that no other man or woman can replicate. And THAT is what is getting me booked. Not my gender or the overcoming of such.

  21. Love the article, Cassie. This may not have anything do with it. Yet, here I go. As someone who has commented many times about getting the female booty shaking, I never really had any problems with women DJing. Skills are skills, regardless of gender. Now, that I think about, I have some photos of female DJs. This article inspired a future blog.

  22. Jacques Cousteau says:

    I love this article. Glad to see Jahkova chiming in. Cannot wait to show everyone a male female dj duo in 2014 the yin and yang of dj's Jacques Cousteau and Lady Jane.

  23. Relating to #4: When you approach a male DJ/producer as a mentor, and he interprets it as a come-on. -___________-

  24. Excellent article and to the heart of the issues surrounding the male-dominated culture. As a dnb/dancehall DJ of 17 years now I am happy to say that I have mentored more than several talented women who I am still proud to call my friends and comrades within the industry. (never viewed their quest for knowledge a "come-on" either - they would have called me out in heartbeat!) One even runs a very successful record/ independent clothing shop and really supports true DJ culture.
    When it comes to booking shows, I would prefer to see more female deejays booked consistently no matter what the night, instead of only seeing them pop up on "All Female" nights every 6 months or so. Don't get me wrong, those nights are still very much needed to bring attention to how talented they are but I think it can sometimes be a slap in the face when they are shunned bookings on a regular basis, only to be paraded at a "special event" but not included on top billing line-ups when less talented gents get the exposure. Good on you Casie for writing what needs to be said. I will be sharing this amongst my peers in hopes that that they do the same.

  25. I have to admit that I have only seen one club female DJ to date and that was a long time ago and she was very good.

    I have also recently seem some excellent female DJs on YouTube and that is so unfair that they are exposed to so much bias.

    "Spin on" Girls and I will play alongside you any day just for the shear pleasure of having a female partner which woul be cool to me.

    My wife used to spin alongside me during my vinyl days so there!

  26. A good read, can definitely relate to this and have left this with some inspiration to push myself harder!

  27. DJ Jimni Cricket is a super awesome female hardcore DJ!

  28. Rebecca & Fiona are an amazing female dj duo to see. They played at an event with hardwell headlining and they completely womped on that sorry fool. Hardwell sucks by the way.

  29. I am just getting started as a dj and while I am extremely excited about what my future could hold, I am also equally afraid. This article couldn't have come at a better time for me. It was extremely helpful and I'm definitely taking away a wealth of knowledge into the start of my dj career. My friends seem to think that females have it way easier than guys in this industry and while I am just getting started (my first gig is in 2 months) I don't feel as though that's true. But after reading this I'm definitely a little more confident than I was 10 minutes ago, lol. this was awesome. thanx!

    • Honee The Bee, I love your name by the way!

      I am so happy you found this article to be useful for what you are going through. I believe many females feel exactly like you starting out.

      Truth is fear is so frightening at times it prevents us from doing what we really want. Fight it and go for what you want, girl!

  30. Hey everyone, I'm a bit of an "old timer" DJ here. Started when I was about 18/19 yrs old and just turned 50 last month. I have had many fun and great times in my life as a DJ. I want to recall back to when I lived up in Anchorage, Alaska. There was barely any dance clubs up there at the time except for the gay bar. This is where I started my DJing at. Back then I didn't know any famous or pro DJs. The ones that I did know were all male DJs. That is until I started DJing at a club that was opened up by a female owner. One of the reasons (I heard) she opened it was that she wanted to DJ and DAMN!! she was good at it. I never had the mentality that it was an all male profession. I knew a few female radio personalities and they were awesome in what they did. This DJ that opened the club would rock the place every weekend. I guess that owning the club and DJing was a bit much for her so she hired other DJs to help out. I LOVED DJing on a weekend and at times she would come to the booth to spin. I LOVED watching her at work. It was as if she'd been doing it her whole life when in reality most of her DJing was in the basement of her parent's house. Playing second fiddle to her while she spun was what kept me going as a DJ. She showed me tips and tricks that made DJing fun. Hey, in this time and age where women are doing just about everything a man can do, if they do it well, why even try to discriminate against them...just because they are female.
    Oh yeah, and about Paris Hilton, I would almost bet that she has someone making her mixes for her and she's "DJ Syncing" (like lip syncing) her sets. Just another poor and pathetic way for her to get attention.

  31. It's really great to see an article like this. Props to Phil for giving Casie Lane the chance to have her say and props to Casie for saying it. Refreshing to see a practical approach to the problem(s) and to see so many positive responses!!!!

    Can we hear a mix of your somewhere???

  32. Should have known this article was by miss Casey Lane herself. Always great advice hun. I am so glad we found one another this year.

  33. Sorry, but this article is out of touch with reality. Even if we look only at current DJ class enrollment and ignore gear-buying statistics, forum registrations, and the fact that women were even less interested in DJing in decades past than they are now, the actual ratio of male to female DJs out there is at least a spread of 10 to 1. Bring in the other stuff, it starts skyrocketing further. There are way, way more guy DJs. Probably 20 or 50 to 1, and that's not probably even counting the ones who don't even try to play out anymore or who quit to pay for a wedding. If festivals are booking gals 10% of the time, that's pretty progressive. In established venues it appears to be 10-20% (or better) of the guest DJs being female. Looking through these comments, I see some of these gals having been into this stuff for only a year and are already booking clubs. Unless you're a producer or an accomplished turntablist, that's unheard of for a guy nowadays. Hell, unless we fit into one of those categories or we're established from the 90s, we're essentially invisible. And what's this about senior (I assume you mean in the skill set and not senior citizens) guys not wanting to mentor gals? Most of the female DJs I know and some of those who have commented here said they learned from their boyfriend. I've never turned down a lady who's asked me to teach them, though I've had a few eventually back out. Also, I've never seen guy DJs train wreck the first half of their set and get asked back. I've seen that happen with gals, though. There is a double standard. That is a reality. And those Top 10 lists you're going on about are really producer lists, not DJ lists. If you believe you're being discriminated against by labels, self-release or release using an androgynous pseudonym. There are plenty of career-but-not-famous DJs who've intentionally changed producer aliases over the years to avoid fame. The whole goa scene in India and Israel was big into that. There's literally nothing stopping a great track from taking off like wild fire on its own merits. I know hot chicks kind of live in a hot chick bubble, but when you start complaining about something that's catering to you disproportionately, I'm going to call foul on it. In Vegas we had a saying never to dis someone's hustle, but give me a break, (wo)man. No literally, give me a break. I need a break! 😛

  34. Eclair Fifi says:

    Love this article and I know it's a while ago but please edit as other music journos will then think it's true - I had NO mentor and I haven't even met Annie Mac ever... A lot of great points in this article, keep it up but I'm sorry I can't be part of your research or "evidence" of women turning to other women for mentoring.. I taught myself and I was not "intimidated" by male dominated record shops and clubs.

    Peace <3

  35. Thanks so much for writing this article, Casie!
    There definitely needs to be more female djs out there. Helena Legend, DJ Yasmin, Juicy M, and NERVO are my biggest inspirations, yet when you mentioned contacting female djs, the problem is that I don't know any. I'm alone in this walk. Probably I'll share a similar path as juicy m did, starting out with no major connections. I'm constantly producing my tracks and uploading them on soundcloud and YouTube (https://m.soundcloud.com/lix4) and making friends with male producers online, who are totally respectful of my dream career.
    I hope to be someone who can pave the path for female djs. I know there's a ton of girls and women who want to become a part of the music industry but the constant fear of being belittled hinders them. Someone needs to take the big step or women will just remain a minor part in the industry.
    I read somewhere that NERVO and Calvin Harris have equivalent accomplishments, yet Calvin receives all the fame and money, yet NERVO doesn't have anything near that. I think that them constantly praising and lauding other male producers is unnecessary. But that's what's holding them up in the industry, no?
    I hope whoever is reading this, regardless if you're male or female, constantly strive to improve your craft. My parents yell at me for spending too much time on my laptop producing songs and abandoning my schoolwork, but schoolwork is just a thing of the past now. I've applied to distinguished colleges and universities but I don't care if I don't get in. Actually, it would be an advantage; I can attend community college and have more time to focus on my music.
    In addition, research about techniques, tips, and tutorials. It doesn't matter that you don't have the renowned Sylenth1, or Nexus, or Massive. What matters is how you use the sounds you already have. You can DJ like a boss but it's production that matters too. Constantly listen to your favorite tunes and analyze them like what I'm doing.

    I wish the best of luck to all aspiring Djs reading this article, and I hope to see you in the biggest music festivals one day. :) Work hard, and don't give up NO MATTER WHAT! This is your passion, don't let go of it!

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