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Bringing Gender Equality To The Dance-floor With MISS WORLD

MISS WORLD is a new monthly club night exclusively featuring the talents of female DJs. However, it also sets its sights higher with its underlying aspirations for social change and commitment to advancing gender equality. We spoke with Katherine, Ailie, and Emily, three of the DJs behind MISS WORLD to learn more about why a dedicated all-female club night is so important for empowering under-exposed female DJs still struggling for recognition.

What was your motive when you started the night, how did you envision it?

Katharine: We wanted to put on a fun night for our friends and other people who care about music, and create a party environment rather than a self-conscious club-night. But I think ew also just felt it needed to happen; there just aren’t enough women playing behind the decks […] It was a way of exposing more female DJs in Edinburgh and giving us all a chance to play on a regular basis.

[…] But overall we hoped to create a fun night where people of all identities could come dance and express themselves. We didn’t even intend to be a regular thing at first but hopefully, now we are holding the night, monthly female DJ nights won’t seem like a novelty anymore, it will just be the norm.

Katharine: Yes, I think it’s inevitable that we’d be associated with feminism. Holding an event run by women where the emphasis is entirely on women is an empowering thing, and will hopefully encourage more women to get out there and make things like this happen. It wasn’t initially intended as a radical political statement […] However the more we’ve done it, the more it becomes apparent that we are part of a bigger movement trying to deconstruct the common stereotype that women can’t select or mix music.

We didn’t want to create a night that men felt excluded from, but more a night which indicated that the issue of male domination in many areas of society still going on […] We are trying to tackle the problem of gender inequality in music, but through doing this we hope to tackle a broader problem of sexist attitudes towards women in any profession. We’d like to get rid of the misogynistic attitude that any performative talent women have is done purely for the male gaze. We just want people to come and listen to our music and enjoy the atmosphere.

What do you think are the most serious current obstacles to women’s involvement in music?

Katharine: It’s generally down to the objectification of women […] Women are just more vulnerable to abuse through lewd comments or people not taking you seriously in what you’re doing. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen to DJs who are men, but I think it’s because women are so often judged based on looks that often they overlook your music.

A recent experience actually reaffirmed this for me. Someone posted a photo of me DJing in The Tab with the caption: ‘Least Confident DJ: iTunes didn’t this many buttons’ because i’m not posing for the camera, but I mean I was concentrating and a group of guys were trying to get my attention by waving in my face, so of course I didn’t look pleased. I just found it incredible that my ‘confidence’ as a DJ equated with how ‘good’ I looked on camera, that someone instantly assumed I didn’t know what I was doing because I wasn’t smiling. It was just straight-up misogynistic because in my experience men don’t get told to ‘smile’ whilst they’re DJing, or get verbal abuse when they politely ask people to stop harassing them. Most people don’t really both male DJs, but still seem to think women want to be distracted because they are performing in public…

How did you personally get involved with this community? Did you have any particular influences?

Emily: I’m studying festival and events management and regularly attend events around the city, but had never come across anything like this idea in Edinburgh. The uniqueness of the all-female DJ lineup was the aspect which drew me most to becoming involved as I felt it was important that we celebrated our female DJs in the city. Our MISS WORLD events are also very versatile and we plan to incorporate more scope for visual artists to exhibit work for future MISS WORLD events […] We hope that more female DJs, artists and musicians will discover us and want to get involved!

What kind of responses to MISS WORLD have you gotten from the public?

Aillie: Generally really positive.

Katharine: . . . It’s great having people coming to the night and telling us they enjoy our parties. We’ve also had a great response from other people in the Edinburgh club community too, they’ve been really supportive of the night.

PLAYLIST: MISS WORLD Recommends

Ailie: Ravoli Me Away – ‘Imagination’, Country Teasers – ‘Spiderman In The Flesh’, Michachu – ‘Fall’, Hype Williams – ‘The Throning’.

Emily: Michael Jackson – ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’, Prince – ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’, Tom Tom Club – ‘Genius Of Love’, Mary Clark – ‘Take Me I’m Yours’.

Daisy: THE PLUGZ – ‘Reel Ten’, The Front 202 – ‘Welcome to Paradise V 1 0 V’, The Sisters of Mercy – ‘Lucretia, My Reflection’, Siouxie and The Banshees – ‘Mirage’. 

Katharine: River Ocean ft. India – ‘Love & Happiness’, Octave One ft. Ann Saunderson – ‘Black Water’, Frankie Knuckle Pres. DBow – ‘Get Involved (Original Mix)’, Carl Cox – ‘Nexus’. 

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