Farrugia, R. 2004. Sisterdjs in the House.

Farrugia, Rebekah. 2004. “Sisterdjs in the House: Electronic/Dance Music and Women-Centered Spaces on the Net.” Women’s Studies in Communication 27(2): 236-262.


Electronic/dance music (signified by E/DM, not EDM, here).  Though EDM lacks center, it is an “overwhelmingly male-dominated field” (236).

Examines online collective of women in DJ culture – the creation of women’s-centered spaces to create discourse, and “articulate constructive and informative spaces for themselves” (236) – though the creation of women-centered (alternative) spaces is not unique to EDM – happens in other areas of arts, and “any place women’s efforts have historically been relegated to the margins and overlooked in comparison to work produced by men” (236).

Thornton (1996), Reynolds (1999) – the maleness of music subcultures; however, marginalization of women’s creative contributions (involvement, representation) is also quite present within the mainstream (see also Thornton 1996; Whitely 1997 for how women are marginalized in popular music communities/industries).

Bradby (1993): “the new categories of studio hero – producers, mixers, ‘scratchers’, etc – are all normatively male” (156, here 238) — author notes datedness of this statement.

Use of Butler’s (1990) theory of performativity, where gender is un/consciously performed and penalized if performed improperly or transgressed – “gender is an identity tenuously constituted in time, instituted in an exterior space through a stylized repetition of acts” (140, here 239, italics in original).

Thornton (1996) – women’s participation in EDM – dancing (feminized), after consuming clothes and cosmetics — considered consumptive – peripheral, passe, even mainstream.  Men, on other hand, spend time networking at EDM events, purchasing music, productive. McRobbie (1999): “girls appear to be less involved in the cultural production of rave, from the flyers, to the evnets, to the DJing, thain their male counterparts” (79, here 241).

“Women are relegated to less glamorous and significant positions such as helping out on the till, working behind the bar, or engaging in ‘PR’ by distributing flyers on the streets and in other clubs” (241, see also McRobbie 1999).

Culture – (Spradley 1980) – “refers to the patterns of behavior, artifacts, and knowledge that people have learned or created” (86, here 243, italics in original).

Thornton (1997) – “subcultures are groups of people that have something in common with each other (i.e., they share a problem, an interest, an practice) which distinguishes them in a significant way from the members of other social groups” (1, here 244) – however, Farrugia disagrees with Thornton’s original definition of subculture within this application, because subculture infers beneathness, hierarchy, and deviance according to larger society/other groups — more so, that the groups themselves adopt and agree with their positioning, and articulate their debasement/deviance as a “perk” or identifier — here, this is not the case.

Shugart (2001) – third-wave feminist ideology suggests that women do not want to view themselves or acknowledge themselves as marginalized.  “A third-wave philosophy also is individually liberating in that it absolves women of responsibility to the collective.  Rather than shouldering the burden of all women, third wavers are responsible to and for themselves, not representative of and thus beholden to generations of women past, present, and future” (133, here 255). Characterized by Shugarts through “consciousness of gender/sexism; individualism, especially articulated as confrontation; and inconsistency” (142, here 255) – argues that feminism is being “appropriated, defused, glamorized, and sold back to members as a meaningless but trendy (and, typically, commercially viable) shell of itself” (166, here 255). “After all, third wavers are writing zines, publishing on-line ezines, contributing to magazines of the mainstream and alternative varieties, guerilla stickering, postering, graffiti writing, boycotting, critiquing both mass media generally and popular culture specifically, negotiating and re-negotiating relationships, contemplating the contradictions of sexuality, challenging paradigms, questioning dogma and resisting, resisting, resisting in their own innumerable private and public ways” (263 here 256) – Sisterdjs is no exception – joining out of personal interest, volition, and ambition – not as way to challenge inequalities in subculture.

McLeod (2001): “men have been in important positions at the artistic, production and promotion levels, all of which are important in controlling the discourse and classification systems that structures these scenes” (73, here 257).

kx^ tie-in to HF paper: Much like Sisterdjs online collective, “these safe and familial communities contribute to the identity construction of their participants and act as discursive interventions themselves by providing spaces where women can learn that they are not alone in their defiance and challenge to normatively male spaces” (259)


Bradby, B. 1993. “Sampling Sexuality: Gender, Technology and the Body in Dance Music.” Popular Music 12:155-176.

Butler, J. 1990. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New York: Routledge.

McLeod, K. 2001. “Genres, Subgenres, Sub-subgenres, and More: Musical and Social Differentiation within Electronic/Dance Communities.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 13: 59-75.

McRobbie, A. 1999. “Shut Up and Dance: Youth Culture and Changing Modes of Femininity.” Pp. 65-88 in Feminism and Cultural Studies, edited by M. Shiach. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Reynolds, S. 1999. Generation Ecstasy. New York: Routledge.

Shugart, H. 2001. “Isn’t It Ironic?: The Intersection of Third-Wave Feminism and Generation X.” Women’s Studies in Communication 24: 131-168.

Spradley, J.P. 1980. Participant Observation. New York: Rinehart and Winston.

Thornton, S. 1996. Club Cultures: Music, Media, and Subcultural Capital. Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press.

Thornton, S. 1997. General Introduction. Pp. 1-7 in The Subcultures Reader, edited by K. Gelder and S. Thornton. New York: Routledge.

Whitely, S. 1997. Sexing Up the Groove: Popular Music and Gender. New York: Routledge.


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