Konstantin: Label head of no-girls-allowed Giegling
It’s been about a week since Konstantin of Giegling’s interview with Groove magazine was published, in German language.
Long story short, the story went practically viral because of claims made about women, in particular women who DJ techno. Konstantin proclaimed that women are unfairly promoted, less talented and worse DJs. The lucky few that do succeed in techno lose their feminine qualities and become more masculine. It’s men’s “natural” desire for recognition and power that boosts their careers in music. Certainly not the boy’s club environment that the all-male Giegling label has provided for them.
But first things first: we are promoted too much. Talentless women are too hungry for recognition and are taking it away from rightly deserving men. Then we’re worse at DJing because we’re not hungry enough. There is a powerful subtext to this. The appeal to nature is like something from a 1800s reproductive science textbook. It’s an appeal to a stereotype. Women are sexless, passionless things that aren’t capable of creativity in same the way that a virile man is.
This is what is known as “dog whistle politics”. Konstantin says things that will perk up the ears of other chauvinists to understand the meaning in between the lines. If women are disproportionately promoted according to their talent, the implication is that they should be stripped of this. Women aren’t deserving of even the small amount of representation in music that they struggle to have. If men like Konstantin had their way, there would no women in techno music full stop.
Women’s new movement in dance music
Women are experiencing a new wave in dance music. The feminist and LGBT/queer movement has brought solidarity to communities that have allowed them to build their own scenes. Women and non-binary centered collectives are coming up worldwide. Rather than being “unfair”, the unified consumer power of women, LGBT people and people of color has been able to turn the music industry away from it’s previous state. Women have used their agency to support labels and line-ups that offer them something different.
People often argue that this is shallow. Women get lambasted all the time for siding with other women. It gets forgotten that this kind of solidarity has always existed for men. There’s power in unity. Men have had access to this and much more and have used it to dominate arts industries for centuries. This kind of power has been offer for so long, men like Konstantin don’t even realize that this is the case. Without it, men wouldn’t even have the platform to say such things about women in the first place. It presents itself as simply “the natural order”. The way things are. It gets mixed up with the way things should be. An “ought” from an “is”.
It becomes a self-repeating cycle. The “natural order” can be used as both a tool to maintain the status quo and as an explanation for it.
The brave new statement
Konstantin probably thought his ideas were original. Always before the inevitable lame apology, it seems that men making these statements think they are pioneers. Breaking a silence that has been held too long on something scandalous. Women will actually tell you they’re undermined almost daily about their abilities. It’s been a long time that men have accused women of being worse at, or even incapable of producing valuable artistic work.
Men like Konstantin want to believe that they live in a world where meritocracy is everything. He is where he is because of talent and talent alone. None of it was luck, or support, or community. Not even because no one said in a large publication that you were worse at DJing than all other men in the world. Unfortunately this just isn’t the case. Talent will get you about half way there, if you’re lucky. Then you need a whole lot of friends, faith, luck, social skills, and money. Konstantin couldn’t have it more backwards. When it’s between a talented woman and a mediocre male counter-part, one of the only advantages she may have is strength between other women to bring her into success over him.