I posted in a public forum today, asking what the going rate for DJs is in the town I recently moved to.
Several men mistook my post to be a *request for them to DJ* and sent me unsolicited private messages.
Then came Roman.
Roman was just a regular guy who was *very concerned* that I couldn’t possibly be an experienced DJ, as I claimed, and not be Right On Top of current DJ rates in medium-sized midwestern towns.
He assured me he meant no disrespect. He was just VERY CONCERNED that I might be lying about the whole “experienced DJ” thing. And it was very important that he air this concern in a very public manner, being sure to tag me into his comment.
I am COMPLETELY CONVINCED that he had NO INTENTION of publicly humiliating me in front of potential clients. (sarcasm)
Before I could respond, the forum moderators deleted my post and all comments. They did not inform me why.
This is what I needed to say to Roman.
I have been a DJ for 15 years. I have DJed friends’ weddings, parties, cultural events, fundraisers, on the radio, clubs, you name it. I have DJed across the country, but not in a celebrity kind of way… just having fun with friends and the communities I lived in.
Since I started as a teenager, there have always been men who told me I couldn’t do it. I can’t possibly be a DJ. That’s a man’s job.
And men worked to keep it a man’s job. Men have laughed in my face for wanting to be a DJ. Men have insulted me to my face. And behind my back. And online. They have sexually harassed me, groped me, and stalked me. They have posted threats and insults about me online because I was a woman and I was in public and I was getting attention.
Men have collaborated together to push me out and keep me out of certain spaces where they thought I didn’t belong. They have kicked me off of line-ups for being “too gay” and “not serious” (wtf?). They have used their influence at venues to make sure their inexperienced male friends got gigs, while locking myself and other female performers out. They have talked down to me, explaining basic information about equipment to me like I was some kind of child, when I have a top-notch set up at home that I paid for myself, with money made from DJing. They have come up to me while I am DJing, and attempted to physically push me aside while grabbing my records because they assumed it is totally cool to do that…. to a woman.
And yet, I never let any of these men stop me. I kept on doing it. Now I live in Lawrence. And I will keep on doing it.
Here I am, in my mid-30s. What has changed? I can still be publicly humiliated by a strange man named Roman who believes I cannot possibly be a DJ. Because I am a woman, and I spoke up in a public forum. And that forum chose to erase my voice and presence instead of let me be a woman, and a DJ, in public.