On The Decks: Guy’s Girl

Guy’s Girl is a short documentary, directed and produced by Leah Rustomjee and Tali Ramsey, highlighting the representation and experiences of female DJs in London’s predominantly male DJ scene. Premiered on Dummy Mag and featuring interviews with DJs such as A.G., Pussy Palace, Sicaria Sound, Jossy Mitsu, Danielle and FOOZOOL, the documentary brings together women of different backgrounds to weave a more representative picture of a shared female experience in a man’s world of decks and mixes.

The film itself has a homemade feel, with grainy video effects allowing vintage aesthetics to remind the viewer that this is not a new issue: it is ingrained. The interviews are confessional and confidential, creating a close-knit sisterhood, with the obvious rapport between interviewer and interviewee making the viewer feel like we are privy to a conversation between mates at the pub. What the documentary highlights is that, unfortunately, all too often women experience sexism, misogyny and discrimination as DJs. This is a fairly universal experience for a lot of female DJs and not enough is being done to combat this. Which is why we need smaller, grass-roots exposés like Guy’s Girl to expose these instances of discrimination on a more everyday level, not just the industry-wide examples of sexism such as the remarks that came last year from Giegling’s Konstantin.

The documentary also highlights the important issue of tokenism: when female DJs are being put on a line-up simply for being a girl. It’s a very grey area for promoters and clubs to navigate, and it’s a fairly entrapping Catch-22 situation. All-female line-ups come under fire for being reductive and only about the gender of the DJs rather than their talent; when only one woman is featured on a line-up, the night is accused of tokenism. We are not at a point yet in our society where we can look at a line-up and judge someone not for their gender but for their talent. We need these all-female platforms to help draw attention to female DJs, and we need the lone rangers to call out events for their institutionalised sexism. We need these dribs and drabs of representation to help stimulate a conversation that will hopefully progress forward into real change.

That is why Guy’s Girl is a fantastic and important film. It starts specific, allowing the problems it highlights to be applied upwards, on an industry-level scale. Essential viewing.

Jemima Skala

Image and video: Dummy Mag


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