We have identified a range of research papers that focus on gender diversity in music.
Where Is She? Finding the Women in Electronic Music Culture
The author discusses the visibility and participation of women in electronic music culture. She argues that most electronic music social networks privilege male inclusion and success, and that skill-sharing is an important strategy to encourage women in the field. To seed this discussion, the author examines her own history with reflections on the gender dynamics within electronic music communities outside the academy, and the role that social and technical currencies play within them. She also discusses Ladies club, a music distribution project that led to several solo female electronic musicians taking the stage and organising events in Montreal during 2007.
Resistance or Reiteration? Rethinking Gender in DJ Cultures
Many practices of contemporary DJ-driven electronic dance music derive from 1970s club scenes in the United States, which were welcoming spaces for people who otherwise encountered prejudice for their gender identities and sexual orientations. Through their prominence in dance music literature, these scenes, along with British rave culture, have come to represent a broader conception of a global ‘alternative dance music culture’ that incorporates various communitarian ideologies—including non-discriminatory and non-patriarchal gender relations. This paper offers a critique of such celebratory interpretations.
Fabricating Activism: Craft-Work, Popular Culture, Gender
This article examines the recent resurgence of interest in what we call “fabriculture.” Three dimensions of fabriculture are explored: the gendered spaces of production around new domesticity and the social home; the blurring of old and new media in digital craft culture; and the politics of popular culture that emerge in the mix of folk and commercial culture. Ultimately, we conceptualize craft as power (the ability or capacity to act), as a way of understanding current activist possibilities.
Feminised Noise and the ‘Dotted Line’ of Sonic Experimentalism
This article outlines various intersections of noise and femininity, through which noise has been feminised and the feminine has been produced as noisy. Feminised musical genres, such as mainstream pop, have been dismissed as excessive, banal and extraneous noise. Noise has also been feminised by a number of recent historiographical and curatorial projects that have sought to amplify the creative work of women in experimental and electronic music. Using a cybernetic understanding of noise as an explanatory metaphor, I suggest that these projects threaten the integrity of a patrilineal ‘dotted line’ that characterises histories of musical noise and sonic experimentalism. This cybernetic metaphor is also applied to Pauline Oliveros’ Willowbrook generations and reflections (1976) and the performances of noise artist Phantom Chips, so as to identify the production of a feminised noise in and through music. I suggest that these curatorial projects and musical practices raise important questions as to if, when and how feminised noise becomes feminist noise.
‘Beyond the Dance Floor’? Gendered Publics and Creative Practices in Electronic Dance Music
This article draws on ethnographic fieldwork in London (2013–2014) to address the reasons why men dominate the crowds in certain spheres of electronic/dance music. Focusing on a group of London-based genres, notably dub, dubstep, grime and ‘bass music’, I analyse how gender gets attached to musical formations through the qualities and connotations not only of musical sound, but of its material, technological, social and spatial mediations. I show how such connotations ‘stick’ (Ahmed, S. [20041. Ahmed, S. (2004). The cultural politics of emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. View all references]. The cultural politics of emotion. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press) and get transmitted through time, leading to the persistent absence of women from certain musical lineages; and I demonstrate how this process serves to entrench and ‘naturalise’ associations between musical genres and ‘maleness’. I then take this analysis to creative practices. Through my dialogue with DJ/producer Jack Latham—aka Jam City (Night Slugs)—I illuminate how musicians caught up in gendered socio-musical formations can become reflexively engaged with the gendered implications of the sounds they produce, and can therefore experiment with making changes.
Gender, Creativity and Education in Digital Musics and Sound Art
This special issue examines the politics of gender in relation to higher education, creative practices and historical processes in electronic music, computer music and sound art. The starting point is a summary of research findings on the student demographics associated with the burgeoning of music technology (MT) undergraduate degrees in Britain since the mid-1990s. The findings show a clear bifurcation: the demographics of students taking British MT degrees, in comparison to traditional music degrees and the national average, are overwhelmingly male, from less advantaged social backgrounds, and slightly more ethnically diverse. At issue is the emergence of a highly (male) gendered digital music field. The special issue sets these findings into dialogue with papers by practitioners and scholars concerned with gender in relation to educational, creative and historical processes. Questions addressed include: What steps might be taken to redress gender inequalities in education, and in creative, compositional and curatorial practices? How can we combat the tendency to focus exclusively on the ‘problem of women’ while at the same time ignoring the challenges posed by the marked styles of masculinity evident in these fields? Is the gendering of electronic and digital musics and sound art evident in certain aesthetic directions? And what musical futures are augured by such imbalances?
The Invisible Woman: A Conversation With Björk
Following a rupture in her personal life, Björk returns with her most exposed album to date, Vulnicura. She talks to Jessica Hopper about finding clarity and liberation amidst incredible pain, and reclaiming herself as a woman, artist, and feminist.