Why are all the DJs male?

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main_stem
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#16 Post by main_stem » Thu May 22, 2003 7:58 am

mark0tz wrote:
I ask this in this thread because I remember my jazz band in highschool being all guys and one young woman. We went to some competitions and other performances and the other school's jazz bands seemed much the same to me, while the concert bands and string orchestras were much more evenly divided amongst the sexes.
Seattle has a cornicopia of great highschool Jazz bands. One took the Essentially Ellington contest this year, again. Anyway what I've noticed is that in all the bands the bass players are girls.

How this relates to the conversation I really don't know.
"We called it music."
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#17 Post by mark0tz » Thu May 22, 2003 8:08 am

haha, the Tom Cunningham Orchestra's (of Washington DC) bassist is female. hrmz...
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#18 Post by mousethief » Thu May 22, 2003 8:18 am

what?

there's a fat crop of lady djs out there - tomo, sidney, sharon ashe, etc.

i know that i became a dj because i had the disposable income to do it. there's not a lot of people that can justify dropping - or even interested in - $$$ for this or that piece. we do have a lot of students out there.

kalman

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#19 Post by KevinSchaper » Thu May 22, 2003 4:21 pm

I was in an industrial band named Dustmite when I was 16.

does that count?

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#20 Post by GemZombie » Thu May 22, 2003 5:32 pm

mark0tz wrote:I was thinking last night... How many of you were in a jazz band earlier in your life? Ever played jazz music? Hell, ever a musician in any way shape or form?

I ask this in this thread because I remember my jazz band in highschool being all guys and one young woman. We went to some competitions and other performances and the other school's jazz bands seemed much the same to me, while the concert bands and string orchestras were much more evenly divided amongst the sexes.

Perhaps it's something about jazz music that just seems to attract more men than women... perhaps mainly at that age. *shrug* [/generalization]
I played in Jazz Bands in high school and college for about 8 years.

In high school, our entire sax section, except for me (I played baritone sax) were female.

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#21 Post by djstarr » Fri May 23, 2003 1:13 am

mark0tz wrote:I was thinking last night... How many of you were in a jazz band earlier in your life? Ever played jazz music? Hell, ever a musician in any way shape or form?

.......

Perhaps it's something about jazz music that just seems to attract more men than women... perhaps mainly at that age. *shrug* [/generalization]
I played clarinet in marching band and then learned saxophone so I could play in the jazz band; I can't quite remember how I became interested in jazz; maybe because it seemed the coolest thing to do musically when I was in high school.

Anyway, I spent a lot of time in marching bands (a proud alumni of the Husky Marching Band, along with another female dj from Seattle who was a fellow clarinetist).

There seemed to be a gender bias in instruments played; i.e. the flute section was 90% female; clarinet and sax about 50/50, brass and drums maybe 10 - 20% female --- I think this might explain why jazz bands traditionally have more men, and the women tend to be in the sax section.

Although I think this is changing a lot - very cool that there are so many female bassists in Seattle.

And historically no one made women feel very welcome in jazz bands; for an interesting perspective on this check out "Suits Me" - a biography of Billie Tiptin.

Brenda

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#22 Post by Mike » Fri May 23, 2003 7:27 am

I played alto sax in my jazz band, and that's pretty much why I love this music so much. As for females, in my band there was one girl on piano.

I've actually asked female dancers about this topic, why they are not into DJ'ing or even buying the music. The answer I have gotten on multiple occasions is that they just aren't all that interested in the music itself. They like to hear it and to dance to it, but they wouldn't necessarily want to pay to own it. Now I know this is not true of all women dancers, but the ones I have asked have responded similarly. I wonder if somehow jazz inherently appeals to men easier. Do you think the same may have been true when jazz was America's popular music? Or has it changed?

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#23 Post by Platypus » Fri May 23, 2003 12:03 pm

Also think role models.......once we had a few active female DJs, more came out of the wood-work.

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#24 Post by Lawrence » Fri May 23, 2003 12:38 pm

Mike wrote:I've actually asked female dancers about this topic, why they are not into DJ'ing or even buying the music. The answer I have gotten on multiple occasions is that they just aren't all that interested in the music itself. They like to hear it and to dance to it, but they wouldn't necessarily want to pay to own it. Now I know this is not true of all women dancers, but the ones I have asked have responded similarly.
That's the exact answer I have always received.
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#25 Post by laf » Tue May 27, 2003 1:12 pm

I meant to post a reply to this last week, but I was too busy buying make-up. Gonna fit this in while my pedicure dries and before my stylist is done with her current appointment.

Yes, the PacNW has a strong fem-dj component (tho I'm the only one in Vancouver, Canada, as far as I know). Since we're generalising, one difference I have noticed between men who dj and women who dj is that women like to play the music and men like to play and talk about the music. Many male djs have either a burning desire to discuss the stats of a recording or a burning desire to exhibit their knowledge of the stats of a recording. It often strikes me as a sports-fan stats-fixation kinda thing.

Woops, there's Candi with her comb and pink leather chair. Ta ta, duckies.

L

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#26 Post by Lawrence » Tue May 27, 2003 2:51 pm

laf wrote: Gonna fit this in while my pedicure dries and before my stylist is done with her current appointment.
Pedicures need to dry?!?! :?

I agree that the perception is perhaps exaggerated by the fact that guys like to talk about it more, somewhat akin to sports-stat-geeks, who all seem to be guys. But the disparity is still there, nationally, as well as in most cities. And, more importantly, is there any way to encourage women to DJ in response to what Mike wrote?
Mike wrote:
I've actually asked female dancers about this topic, why they are not into DJ'ing or even buying the music. The answer I have gotten on multiple occasions is that they just aren't all that interested in the music itself. They like to hear it and to dance to it, but they wouldn't necessarily want to pay to own it. Now I know this is not true of all women dancers, but the ones I have asked have responded similarly.
Does it have to do with the women in our scene being too follow-oriented, so they just follow along to whatever music the leaders choose to play? Or is it just a striking coincidence that will change when a new crop of dancers comes through the ranks?
Lawrence Page
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#27 Post by laf » Tue May 27, 2003 4:09 pm

The varnish does (or so I hear).

Re getting women out there, I think Brenda brought up a good point with the tactic Bethany has employed at Sonny's in Seattle: present a non-threatening, non-competitive atmosphere to try it out. For the most part, women are more insecure about their accomplishments and are less likely to take what they perceive to be social risks. Sucking as a dj in an environment in which all your friends are dancers could have an impact on your social life (or so it may seem from the perspective of a tentative dj).

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#28 Post by Platypus » Tue May 27, 2003 7:30 pm

How do you find new DJs? Do they come to you or do you coax out the 'DJ within'? Two approaches I have seen: some are more likely to present themselves and ask for a slot, whereas others might come at it sideways, starting with general questions about DJing and music (translation: I might be interested, but don't want to commit until I know I can do it). My bet? Women present more as the latter. So, what will make that second person feel comfortable "trying out" the booth?

First, I shoot the breeze with them and see if they are thinking like a DJ (eg flow, style, reading the room, etc). If they haven't thought about DJing, I try to plant the idea in their head as a future option. If they get to the point of saying, "maybe," I start talking about what would make them feel comfortable during their first gig. Asking them to "co-DJ" during a time slot is a great way for them to check out DJing without a lot of pressure. Or maybe they want a "bite sized set," like a 1/2 hour. Or try a "buddy" system, where an experienced DJ hangs out in the booth for the shift, to provide support (or, the unspoken, to take over if all goes to hell in a handbasket). After the first few sets (if they make it that far), do you spend time "debriefing" them? Is there someone in your community who is trusted to give honest AND supportive feedback?

Just a few thoughts to start........

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#29 Post by yedancer » Tue May 27, 2003 10:49 pm

I started down the path of the Swing DJ when a local promoter hosted a Guest DJ night. He gave anyone who wanted a 30-minute set. Down side is that most of the time, those nights suck, because you get a bunch of people who don't know what they're doing.

The promoter hooked me when he invited me back a second time and said, "I'm going to pay you for DJing, as long as you promise to use the money to buy new CDs."
-Jeremy

It's easy to sit there and say you'd like to have more money. And I guess that's what I like about it. It's easy. Just sitting there, rocking back and forth, wanting that money.

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#30 Post by Shorty Dave » Tue May 27, 2003 11:29 pm

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I'm eventually gonna meet my wife in the jazz section of a used cd store!


We've had a bunch of "girl power" DJ nights in NYC. Props to Megan/Swinghoney and Tomo/tomobeans for representing NYC in the female DJ category :) Laura Jeffers also spun a real popular set at Frim Fram once. And then there's Sidney and Laurie Zimmerman/LindyButt down the road in Philly.

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