How Can The EDM Community Be A Real Safe Space For Women?

There is much to be said when it comes to how the EDM community can honor the women that call the scene home.

On one level, female producers and artists of all kinds are making strides in the industry, and many women see raves as a safe space to let loose and be themselves on the dancefloor.

Women, trans, and gender non-binary EDM lovers have been at the core of the rave movement since its inception, and they are a crucial influence on the culture today.

That said, there’s always room for improvement. 

While it can prove difficult to accept, the world of electronic music hasn’t always been the most welcoming to non-cis-male-gendered individuals.

This unfortunate reality is a reflection of issues rooted in greater society, which only evolves through struggle and heap loads of collective conscious efforts.

I’ve felt the burden of this reality in my own life in more ways than I’d like, as have many women in the scene. Making the world a safer space for women (and all genders) is a painstakingly slow, frustrating, and often confusing process, but small(ish) communities are often the ones to drive progress– and that’s where EDM community has a unique opportunity to lead the way.  

Why It’s Important

Before diving into the “hows” of making the EDM community a safer space for women, it’s important to reflect on why it’s important– and not just for women.

Sexism, misogyny, homophobia, and all forms of gender-based intolerance infiltrate the EDM community at all levels. This is deeply harmful as it purports the ideology that one group of humans is more valuable than the other.

Human beings are all created equal. Any ideology that says otherwise creates environments that fuel fear, resentment, and division which is destructive for everybody.

This goes directly against the inclusivity the EDM community stands for. “PLUR” fall apart whenever incidents of sexual harassment, assault, abuse of power, and marginalization occur.

While everyone’s opinions differ on how these matters are handled, the truth is, these abuses do occur in the scene, and that jeopardizes the integrity of the community as a whole. There’s no simple solution to this, but taking the following steps can help build a path to a healthier, safer community.

Fostering Healthy Relationships With Power  

Taking time to question and evaluate our individual beliefs (including the unconscious ones) about gender, power, and human value is the first step to making the EDM community a truly safe space for all.

Every person approaches this journey differently, but it all starts with asking what beliefs one holds about themselves and how that shapes the way one interacts with the world around them. People in influential positions in the industry have an especially important opportunity to set a positive example. 

Power is a tool: It’s neither good nor bad on its own, but what matters is how it’s used. Privilege, wealth, social influence, and status can deeply distort a person’s healthy sense of self, and this can lead to abusive behavior as well as other harmful behaviors.

Like anywhere in society, influential people in the electronic music industry can—and occasionally do—succumb to these forces. This is where it’s important to remember that everyone in this scene is human: Artists, managers, promoters, fans, and everyone in between.

Everyone is responsible for shaping the environment– for better or for worse. All humans are imperfect and susceptible to bias, but every human is also capable of and deserving of respect. Building a safe environment isn’t possible unless everyone is held to the same standards. 

Leaders in the industry have an enormous opportunity to take proactive action by embracing a culture that fosters healthy boundaries, transparency, accountability, improving mental health, and honoring victims of abuse.

As fans, that also means recognizing that, while it can be hard to accept that people we idolize can be capable of harm, valuing one human life over another is always problematic. Dismissing the voices of women who report experiencing abuse in the industry is hurtful and propagates a toxic culture in the community.

That said, it’s also important to recognize that many leaders in the industry already acknowledge this and are actively doing a lot to uplift and support women and other people of marginalized identities.

Embracing Women, Trans, & Non-Binary Individuals At All Levels

Female artists and artists of marginalized identities are making strides in electronic music today. I’m especially excited to see how female producers in techno are such an ingrained part of the scene that their gender identity is hardly a relevant topic of conversation anymore.

This is a goal the entire dance music industry can shoot for. After all, music and artistic ability have no gender—or race, religion, and so on. 

It’s no secret that male representation in the electronic music scene dwarfs that of female, trans, and non-binary folks, and as mountain-moving producers like Rezz and Charlotte De Witte have proven, that’s not due to lack of talent.

Female producers deserve to be welcomed onstage whether it’s their first time behind the decks or their first time headlining at a festival. The EDM community can only benefit from welcoming more talented artists, and removing gender-based barriers is an important step to growing the scene. 

Modeling Harm Reduction 

Finally, the community can also support women of dance music by adopting this mission into the growing harm reduction movement.

As fans, this starts with recognizing that women, trans and non-binary folks have a right to respect and inclusion on the dancefloor as well as behind the decks.

No outfit choice or form of self-expression is ever an invitation to non-consensual physical advances or harassment of any kind. However, showing love for someone’s creativity and self-expression is always welcome.

Organizations like Dancesafe are furthermore stepping up by providing educational resources on sexual assault prevention and bystander intervention to the dance music community through their We Love Consent project.

This is an important addition to the organization’s existing mission to help ravers stay safe on the dancefloor by promoting substance testing and educational resources. 

As health and safety draw more focus in the scene, these kinds of resources can make a big impact on making the EDM community a truly safe place for everyone.

While it might feel daunting to take it all in, dance music lovers everywhere are already helping to make these goals a reality. Everyone deserves to feel safe and welcome at their favorite festival, and as ravers know best, even a small act of kindness makes a big difference.


Images courtesy of Insomniac.

Written by
Federica Brandi

Hi! I'm Federica, I'm a writer, world traveler, and above all, I'm a dance music lover. The communities, culture, history and free expression I've encountered through raving and the world of EDM inspire me to explore the scene far and wide and to share all the stories I encounter along the way. If you see me at a show come say hi and trade kandi!

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