I had my first gig in 2013, my female friend who ran a successful night in Birmingham offered it to me and I was instantly met with misogyny. I was offered a residency after my first gig there, but the male’s of the crew made sure I didn’t get a set in the main room.
After a few weeks I was offered a gig in another club. I planned it for weeks and played to a packed dance floor. After I finished I walked away from the decks and a male DJ who was playing after me grabbed my arm aggressively and said “you do realise you only got this gig because you are eye candy?” I’ll never forget that crushing feeling and how hurt I was that weeks work meant nothing.
After that I was often offered gigs, but always had male DJs coming up, turning the EQ’s when I was playing, taking over my tracks and complaining about levels (even though they were fine). There was a group of male DJs in Birmingham who took special offence to me being a female techno DJ. Publically declaring that I was a ‘fake arsed DJ whore’ just because I was getting offered more sets than them. Even called a mediocre techno bitch who wore lipstick – for no other reason than I was getting gigs.
The first time I had a big gig at the Rainbow, the DJ after me came up on the decks, grabbed my breasts really hard – and spat in my ear ‘ that’s our little secret eh?’…. my boyfriend at the time was on the dance floor – I was scared to tell him because I thought he might kick off and ruin my first big opportunity but by not telling him I felt like I was agreeing to this dirty little secret.
It deflated me. This went on for years.
I started running my own nights around 2015. At first I was often finding male DJ’s refusing to work with me, often asking to speak to my partner when it came to technical set ups or DJ equipment. I was pushed into a toilet by a bouncer at the start of one night – aggressively pushed against the wall and offered a note with a line – like some sort of bribe. I was terrified when he was pushing himself up against me – and only stopped when someone came in the toilets.
When I started running my latest night it was started, and still is run by myself and another girl. I still get resistance from ‘some’ men, still looked at like some kind of joke at times and even when booking big names and popular DJ’s, a selection of men will refuse to come, just because its my party. I barred someone recently because of his attitude to women at our nights, touching them up mostly- he publicly went on Facebook saying our nights weren’t ‘inclusive’ and we were a bunch of stuck up bitches….the amount of people that had sympathy for him was insane. Yet totally ignoring the whole reason why he had been removed.
In the end it’s made me stronger and made me want to achieve more.