As Female Electronic DJs Break Through, Is There an Industry Double Standard?
In the past five years, electronic dance music (EDM) has quickly become one of the most popular (and profitable!) music genres in the world. Every month in cities around the world, festivals are packed with hundreds of thousands of concertgoers who clamor to buy tickets just to hear their favorite DJs — musical deities who are treated like gods.
And just as with hip-hop's emergence a generation before it, men were the first to hit superstar-status levels in the genre. More and more, however, women have been breaking through that glass ceiling and carving out an important space for themselves. And with that achievement, comes inevitable gender stereotypes.
Now that women are finding equal success, both as live DJs and as studio producers, we couldn't help but wonder: Is there a double standard for women in the EDM world? So, we caught up with three different successful female DJ duos — from three different countries — to ask their thoughts on the topic.
Rebecca & Fiona from Sweden are certainly at the top of their game. Around since 2010, the close friends are now packing dance tents with their high-energy performances and hard beats. Their anthems, which include "Luminary Ones," "Turn It Down" (with Kaskade), and "Taken Over," drive crowds wild. We chatted with them in their trailer before their set at Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas in June (check out the videos, above and below, shot on a Sony Action Cam), where they shared their perspective with us over a few shots of Jägermeister.
"Who makes your music?" is the first question Fiona Fitzpatrick claims that producers always ask them. "And that would be really disrespectful, to ask a musician … 'Who makes your music?' But still there are so many pros to being female. We stick out!"
"We have all eyes on us," Rebecca Scheja says. "Because if we f--k up a mix, it's, 'Oh they're not doing it right, they can't mix.'"
"We have to acknowledge all the time that it's a very male-dominated business," Fiona adds. "Where all of the record label heads are men … it's always 90 percent men … it's heterosexual men, mostly."
But for these two independent women, having each other nearby has helped them navigate tricky waters, a sentiment echoed by all three DJ duos we spoke with for this article. "For us, we have a union … we have each other, so we make all of the decisions ourselves. Nobody can tell us what kind of music we should make or play, it's only us doing it," Fiona notes.