5 Biggest Issues Facing Women In The Music Industry

sexism in the music industry

Becoming the first US signed female artist on Armada Music, Australian-born artist Bella Hunter is on the cusp of something truly special.

Bella Hunter: ’I think my mission is very simple. I just want to bridge the divide between the underground and the commercial world, and I want to bring back some glamour and femininity into Dance music… Because it’s been missing for far too long.’

And that is exactly what she does with her new single – Deja Vu.

A very important aspect of what she touched upon, is how feminity has been missing in the dance music scene for quite some time. It seemed like the right opportunity, to speak to Bella about her thoughts, on the biggest issues that are being faced by women in the dance music industry. Read on to know what she had to say!

1. Industry Equality is the first thing that comes to mind.

There are more and more female DJs and electronic artists releasing music, and touring, but the fact that women are still paid less than men in countless industries is completely insane.

Granted we have come a very long way (thanks to the powerful women and loving men who have come before us), but there are still huge gaping holes, particularly in dance music and the general creative industries.

I’m grateful that I’ve only experienced a few circumstances when I’ve not been as valued being a woman, as an Artist or as a Producer of music in comparison to a man because the entire Electronic music scene is still such a boys world… For some reason, women have not held the credibility we so rightly deserve to be involved in the club.

EDM is still a total guys playground despite being such a huge part of the music industry.

What I mean by that is, I go backstage on the Ultra Artist yacht, and it’s groups of producers and huge DJs, COMPLETELY SURROUNDED BY OTHER GUYS, and girls kind of aren’t allowed in (unless they know you or you are with someone they know)… It’s bizarre.
It’s like the opposite of being a rockstar or a rapper – the ones I personally know absolutely smother themselves with women.

I’ve heard lots of guys say: “yeah, but there just aren’t that many GOOD female DJs or Producers”, if that’s the case, then LET US IN!
I also think it’s just a silly fear thing, some fundamental caveman instinct thing of not wanting to be emasculated. If a woman can do everything a man can do, what does he have to impress her with right?!

But the more involvement and equality our industry has, the more we will grow in leaps and bounds, together as Artists – not as men and women being separated entities. We are all human and we are all one.

On a seriously exciting and pivotal note, never before has the issue of equal rights for women and diversity come to light.
Festival promoters and bookers are FINALLY really feeling the need to book more female DJs and live acts.

More and more incredible powerhouse female Artists are finally coming out of the woodwork, and the support level is changing which makes this an incredible time to be in the music industry.

2. Respect.

It goes without saying that the time when male executives could get away with disrespectful or mad inappropriate behaviour is coming to an end.

I try really hard to be gentle (I think kindness is a superpower), but it’s no joke that you need an extremely thick skin to survive in this industry…

I’ve laughed my way out of countless indirect insinuations from men. And great that’s a nice compliment you want to throw me into bed instead of throwing me into the booth, but it’s honestly just f*cking exhausting sometimes.

Producers asking young female artists to come into the studio to “hang and work on music” at 3 am is the equivalent of “Netflix and chill” in the music industry.

But as determined as I am, I want to sleep soundly and be proud of myself and my moral compass, and genuinely like the person I see in the mirror every morning.

But times are definitely changing. Once that fundamental alteration is in a more solidified and complete state across the industry, I think that way more girls are going to launch their careers in electronic music. It’s about getting more EDM/House out into the world as well, so it’s as big as mainstream commercial music, and more widely understood and recognised on par with “pop” music as a viable path for women.

That’s a huge part of what I want to achieve – bridging the divide between the underground and commercial worlds.

I see the current female rights movements becoming less aggressive once the deserved respect is solidified, and leading to an eventual overall shift in the music landscape.

The levels of respect shown towards female Artists will only continue to rise – so keep the faith babes!

Seriously, I think Planet Earth is moving into a very female dominated era, hopefully, one full of love, consciousness, kindness, incredible power and peace.

3. Being stereotyped for our looks (or lack of)…

I think female artists (and let’s face it – women in general) are constantly subjected to judgment and stereotypes.

That we have to appear a certain way, or do only certain things. The way women look is a huge thing. If you dress or act a certain way you get labelled, if you don’t make the effort to dress or act another way, you also get labelled.

So you just have to do what feels right for you at the end of the day.

I literally just had a conversation like this with my reps about using my face on the album artwork for “Deja Vu”. It’s my first solo single, and there were mixed opinions regarding the best approach.

Would using my picture on the artwork make the release less “credible”?
Would it look like we were selling my face instead of my music?
Would I be perceived as too commercial if I was to deliberately capitalize on my looks?!

In one sense, I love that Deja Vu is dropping without an immediate physical identity (until you click on any links to my online profiles), because you could close your eyes and it seriously doesn’t matter WHO made it, if they’re male, female, black, white, yellow, brown, green, red, alien cat or spirit creature, it just feels like it was made by a being with an obvious love for life and happiness. And that mentality truly speaks to me.

However in another sense, this is my face and I can’t do much about it, and everyone will see it anyway. So next release look out for my mug shot 😉

4. Being afraid to have a voice.

It’s almost impossible to stand up for what you believe in today without deeply offending someone. We are going through a strange time, peoples sensitivity levels are out of control, and you cannot have a single strong opinion without the witch hunt that follows.
An interesting time to be Australian – famous for our blunt approach 🙂

If you’re quiet about an issue then you must obviously stand for nothing, so you’re contributing to the problem by being inactive, and if you’re overly opinionated then you are deemed as aggressive, offensive, speaking out of turn, and probably not feminine.

I’m extremely opinionated, but I also thrive in a state of diplomacy and peace. I also like to be open with my beliefs, because if they’re not hurting anyone, then we are all entitled to our own.

Every time I have commented against something that is the general consensus, there has been a mini-uproar. And I don’t even have an audience yet, I cannot imagine the unnecessary stress so many celebrities go through for speaking their mind, and accidentally offending countless activist groups and ethics and moral rights associations and 50,000,000 twitter and IG trolls.

I feel like yelling relax, it’s okay to have a brash opinion.

Girls have to stand up for what we believe in, because if we turn into a female race of boring opinion-less wallflowers, I am moving to an abandoned island where I can scream my thoughts to the world without the impending doom of being inevitably ripped apart via social media.

But really, people are getting shredded to pieces for any slightly “unsuitable” words or content or behaviour, and the appropriate police are hiding around every corner.

It’s just a by-product of countless lives being lived online, hidden away behind their brave devices.

A screen has become our armour. We are a generation of kids forgetting how to communicate.

It is so important for women to try to be open and authentic with our voice… It’s also amazing what you’ll find face to face.
(Insert Daft Punk as the background soundtrack to my preaching).

5. Breaking through the clutter.

It has become easier than ever to release your own music or start your own label.

But with socials being the obvious driving force behind the path of self-management, the scene naturally continues to become more crowded.
A lot of the time with just noise – not necessarily music – if you know what I mean. So standing out is becoming more difficult if you’re just beginning your career…

If you don’t have a clear vision for your personal style, it’s becoming harder to break through. And hiring a creative team or stylist, or video producers and website designers, is a luxury afforded to very few lucky artists when they first start out.

We are being bombarded with new music and new artists by the minute, making it more important than ever for female Artists to identify with their authentic self.

And the approach has to be no-bullshit. Nobody has the patience anymore to give concessions… Our time is all we have. Obviously, if an audience doesn’t like the Artists music or their vibe and look, you won’t have any audience…

And I’m guilty of doing the same thing, if I scroll past someone and see something that doesn’t vibe with me, I’m instantly gone. There’s just too much information and content to choose from.

But defining your vibe is vital. Always has been, always will be. Narrow down what your aesthetic is, figure out what you care about so you can find your tribe who care about the same things.

Like if you want to stick green feathers all over yourself and dance naked down the street every day, GO AND DO IT. Just be real about it and make sure it’s for the sake of a strategic IG post. If it IS for a strategic IG post (and let’s be real – we all have to sell ourselves) just make sure it’s coming from an authentic place with a clear vision!

And it’s not about money, it’s about being non-manufactured. (Some of the most broke people I know have the most incredible personal weird/fabulous style).

I think once you’ve honed in on what your musical taste is, what you really love, and how you choose to present yourself to the world, you can take steps towards crafting your vision.

We have the absolute luxury of choice – we get to wake up and choose who we want to be every single day!!!

The same principle applies to women in music, we can choose how we want to represent our sound and our image and energy to the world.

But without vision – and love – we are lost.

What are your thoughts on the issues that women face on a day-to-day basis in the industry? And how do you think they can be tackled? Don’t forget to let us know in the comments’ section below.

Till then, make sure you check out her music at her FB page.


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