Manning the Booths

Why is the DJ scene almost completely devoid of women?

On the other hand, some female DJs elsewhere, like Portia Surreal and Penelope Tuesdae, prefer to spin topless -- giving new (and gratuitous) meaning to the claim "Her crates are well stacked."

"That just breaks down everything -- not me -- everything we've built up," says Davila. "It almost denies what we're trying to say. And it really infuriates me." Perhaps it's naive, though, to think that electronica would somehow be immune to the crass sex commercialism that governs other pop music industries like a pedophile Big Brother. If a woman is willing to take her top off in the first place (for money), maybe the surprise is that it took this long to put turntables in front of her.

A more interesting and hardly provable debate is whether female DJs even have tendencies that could mark them as distinctly female.

"Something I've heard from numerous people is that what they've seen as a key difference is that female DJs tend to be a bit more interactive in the sense of playing off the crowd around them," says DJ Amanda Robinson, who spins with Rent, House Party and Rotate. "That it's more of a give and take of, okay, well, I'm going to try this, and if they aren't responding then I'm going to go in a different direction. More of wanting to have that response of 'Yeah, that's exactly what they want,' rather than 'This is exactly how I feel like playing tonight.'...That sort of makes sense if you think that in general women are more relationship-oriented and collective in how they think, and men tend to be more individualistic."

Davila puts it more boldly.

"Women love bass. We gravitate toward music with bass -- rolling bass lines, rhythm. I've always noticed when females are playing...it's like a gay man. You're trying to tell a story with your music," she says. "Straight men mix like they fuck: They're in and out. They're in and out. Women -- they make the blending, they come back, they're going back and right, back and left, go to the middle, stick it in and all out, come back in -- because that's how we make love. It's how we do it. We're giving you everything we've got. We're just really making love."

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