The Ups and Downs of Being a Female DJ in Berlin

photos: Olga Khristolyubova

Berlin is such a diverse and open minded city, yet the music industry has not been cracked by women, as I noticed the lack of female presence behind the decks.

No… I’m not a DJ… but three years in this magical city has allowed me to explore Berlin’s electronic music and club scene, through the eyes of a music enthusiast, dance floor filler, and a social party girl.

Some ladies have successfully crept there way into the music industry, as many of my best memories in this city, has been witnessing legends like Sonja Moonear, rocking it at CDV, Anja Schneider who burns Watergate down with her vibrant connection to the audience or my personal favorite, Anthea who rocks the boat at Hoppetosse.

Funnily enough, after noticing this lack of female presence, many of my female, up and coming, Disk Jockey friends spontaneously got in contact with me. I was invited to my friend Barbara Myra‘s first gig at Ritter Butzke. She asked me to bring some people to support her, and so I did. After a successful night, Barbara asked me to help her with her social marketing, management, and bookings.

Meanwhile, I bumped into an ex-flatmate of mine called Dora Pan, who said she was finding it difficult to keep up with her gigs, as all she wanted to do was make music and play her vinyl.

I noticed quite some difficulties they and many other female Dj’s were facing. We’ve heard stories of sound men persistently asking the girls if they knew what they were doing. And some female DJs were told to “dress more femininely” to attract a certain crowd. It’s unheard of for a male DJ to get the same kind of treatment. Some girls, for fear of being discriminated against, have adopted “genderless” or male aliases.

That’s when I came up with ‘Hearworm’, a platform dedicated to promoting the events of talented female DJs offering them exposure, and endorsement from somebody who is willing to fight for their good music. I love finding out where the girls will play next, what music they are listening to and what mixes they are creating.

True music lovers acknowledge that boys aren’t better at DJing than girls. And we know that girls aren’t better at DJing than boys. When you hear a great song or set, you can’t immediately tell who it’s by. We understand that societal constrains have made it more difficult for women to break into certain industries and they’re only just starting to catch up, but at Hearworm we’re definitely not trying to alienate male listeners. After all, we don’t spin the records with our genitals, do we? Music is so fluid and it’s one of the few things in life that isn’t gender-bound.

The 3rd of June marks the official launch for Hearworm. Despite our all-female lineup, we want to create an atmosphere of inclusivity, where everyone can enjoy the music some of the most remarkable female DJs are bringing.

Text: Christina Georgiou

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