Dani Deahl is more than just your average DJ and producer. She produces her “dsquared” podcast from her blog, and has a background in music journalism. Given her well-rounded perspective from both sides of the decks, it is no surprise she was invited to give a TEDx Talk covering a contemporary issue in EDM culture. For those unfamiliar, TED Talks are a series of free lectures given over a variety of topics, covering arts, sciences, social issues and more. Her specific kind of TED Talk, TEDx, was spawned as an independent outgrowth of the TED Talks and spawned various TED-style conferences in various cities.
Deahl’s talk, titled “Women, STEM, and EDM,” explores what she calls the “gender canyon” that exists in the EDM community, particular among producers and DJs. (I’d be interested to see what, if any, connection can be drawn between Deahl’s statistics and Nielsen’s recently released statistics on EDM listeners.) Now I know it may seem somewhat surprising for me to espouse a talk extolling the gender deficit given my comments in some of my past articles, like this one. However, one of the most prominent women in the industry told me (more appropriately, bloggers generally) not to ask about how it feels to be a woman and a DJ, so frankly I’m a little confused about the best course of action. Regardless, Deahl’s statistics (and experiences) don’t lie. There are only two female DJ’s on the DJ Mag Top 100. Only 5% of acts at the largest festivals are female. There seems to be something off.
While gender may not be the dispositive quality that accounts for these low numbers, it surely doesn’t hurt to explore that potential. Throughout the talk, Deahl explores her growth as a person and DJ in the electronic music world, provides insight on the flawed concept that men are more inclined towards STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), and implores everyone, not just women, to do what they love and follow their passions. Check out her talk below and I guarantee you’ll rethink not only the existence of sexism in EDM, but how it operates and what can be done to combat it.