Forty-Seven DJs, Four Women: Meritocracy, Talent, and Postfeminist Politics
In 2016, only four of forty-seven DJs booked for Musikkfest, a festival in Oslo, Norway, were women. Following this, a local DJ published an objection to this imbalance in a local arts and entertainment magazine. Her editorial provoked booking agents to defend their position on the grounds that they prioritise skill and talent when booking DJs, and by implication, that they do not prioritise equality. The booking agents’ responses, on social media and in interviews I conducted, highlight their perpetuation of a status quo in dance music cultures where men disproportionately dominate the role of DJing. Labour laws do not align with this cultural attitude: gender equality legislation in Norway’s recent history contrasts the postfeminist attitudes expressed by dance music’s cultural intermediaries such as DJs and booking agents. The Musikkfest case ultimately shows that gender politics in dance music cultures do not necessarily correspond to dance music’s historical associations with egalitarianism.
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