Meet DJ Justin James, on the hunt for female DJs - as long as they meet very specific requirements
Doing his best to set back the dance music industry as far back as possible.
Update: Please do not confuse this DJ for techno DJ Justin James, he is lovely and awesome.
Women in the music industry, much like many industries, don't get the same treatment as men. I'm not going to pontificate on this in depth right now because as a man it's not really my place to, but in short it fucking sucks. Recently there was plenty of (very valid) debate centred around male privilege and the triple j Hottest 100, and the representation of women on music festival lineups has long been a source of heated discussion in Australia and abroad. It doesn't take an idiot to look at something like the Stereosonic lineup and recognise that women are grossly under-represented.
Related: Sexism & Pop with CHVRCHES
Why we're gathered here today is to point out the kinds of attitudes that are still prevelant in the industry that in no way what-so-ever help the situation. A couple of days ago the public Facebook group "Support FEMALE DJs" - a place for women in the dance music industry to share mixes and booking opportunities, had this US-based DJ stop by to throw an "amazing" opportunity in to the members of the group:
Image via Amber Akilla.
It ends with "I do not work with DJs that do not know what they are doing. If you do not meet the requirements, then please please do not waste my time or yours. I look forward to hearing from a few of you :)"
His first of a few (poorly numbered) points aren't exactly new territory for DJs looking for shows (of either sex). Particularly when it comes to Facebook/Instagram page likes. Of course anyone should be booked on merit, but unfortunately the number of fans you have on your social networks (that you can talk about upcoming shows to) isn't a new thing. Where he falls down is the rather specific requirements in terms of physical appearance, and lines like "I only work with attractive female DJs"... Oh and the fact that nowhere does he ask for an actual mix or example of your talent beyond looks and likes. And no, throwing "do not suck" at the end doesn't cover that base (editor's note: To be fair, you would assume mixes and things of that ilk would be in the EPK, asked for earlier).
If we go back to earlier in his post, and read over it a couple of times, well the dude just sounds fucking suss. For instance, his insistance that he doesn't want to deal with managers or agencies, just women directly... It's not only wildly unprofessional, it reeks of someone who is dodgy. This is further backed up by some messages with women who've confronted him about his post (which he very swiftly deleted from the group following a heap of abuse):
Image via Facebook.
Marvel at how his apparently forward thinking attitudes about only caring how a DJ plays are completely turned upside down not two sentences later.
On the internet in 2016 it is very de rigueur to argue with people who are simply trying to have a discussion about an issue that effects them - for instance, sexism in the music industry. The amount of backlash Erin Riley copped in the article linked above is a prime example. People are all to ready to get defensive rather than just open up a dialogue about certain issues that, in this instance, are holding women back in the music industry. It's not as simple as saying, "well there's just not really enough girls who DJ to put on festival lineups, or play in clubs." You need to look at the fact that, well, there is, but also this kind of bullshit women face just to get a gig in the first place.
When it's pointed out that a festival lineup is very male-dominated, or women don't get the same treatment as men do in the DJ world, it's fuckwits like DJ Justin James who are great examples of why that discussion needs to be had. When some idiot like this jumps into an actual support group for female DJs work together saying, 'hey girls you can get a gig if you fit this exact specifications based only on looks and nothing else', it's 20 steps backwards.