Technology with attitude

Where The Ladies At? A Dearth of Females in the Seattle Music Scene

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Now I don’t mean that in a yo-yo-yo, raise your hands in the air and holla-for-ya-fella kind of way.

What I mean is that when I look behind the stages and decks in Seattle, I wonder where the women are, literally, because they are not there. In my extremely unscientific estimate, females account for about ten to fifteen percent of performers in our city, a sad statistic when we represent over half the population. This is especially true in the electronic music scene, where female deejays are very underrepresented, and those that do spin must be twice as good and four times as hot to get the notice and props that even the lamest male deejay does.

So where are the ladies, and why aren’t they on stage? What accounts for the obvious lack of female performers in our creative scene? The easy answer is of course to blame the historical tradition: for thousands of years men were patting male artists and musicians on the back, commissioning each other and sharing ideas while the women were raising kids and making homes from households. Arts in the traditional female domain like folk stories and handicrafts don’t stand the test of time as well as those in male-dominated spheres; a nursery rhyme evaporates into the blur of historical haze while the Sistine Chapel will be around for a while. Though females have “come a long way baby” in regards to our gender roles, the tradition of male domination of the arts certainly still affects the scene.

But that isn’t the whole story. This is Seattle, this is 2008; for a generation now women have been able to pursue any career they could possibly want, from firefighter to fine artist. So why aren’t they?

Why are most of the musicians, deejays, artists, and comedians in our city all BOYS? Where the ladies at? Do males dominate the arts scene because they get into it for the female attention? As one of my friends (a deejay) said, “Why else would you get into deejaying?” Um, for the love of making music, perhaps? Don’t women love to make music too? Maybe they are pursuing careers that they feel are more worthwhile to society that a creative profession; now that women can be doctors and lawyers and policymakers, they are. We all know that artists are the most important people in our society; art is able to cure ills that no doctor could, comedy can take down a dictatorship, music can change minds and governments. It is possible that women are too busy getting college degrees and starting companies that they forget the true value of artistic expression; however this theory also easily applies to men.

I just can’t figure out where the women are. Maybe like me they just prefer dancing. Maybe they are afraid they’ll upstage their musician boyfriends. Maybe they are busy trying to land a musician boyfriend. Maybe they are working furiously to raise families with strong female role models. Maybe they are trying on yet another outfit. Maybe they are curing cancer. Maybe they are reading blogs about the Seattle entertainment scene. I don’t know where they are, but they are not on stage, and we are missing a vital element of the creative scene.

Seattle, help me solve this mystery; weigh in with your opinion and let me know your theory on the missing women. We must find them, and nurture them, and the Seattle arts scene will be better for it. Ladies, can I get your opinion? I know you have them, and I know you love to express them. March 8th is International Women’s Day; let’s start with Seattle and find the female artists, wherever they may be.

Shilo Urban