What’s Wrong With Calling Someone a “Female Producer”?

a completely unrelated photo of Magda in the studio

 

I never started this blog with the intention of writing a post with a title as preachy as this one, but after a year of casually observing from the vantage point of Her Beats, there are a few things I feel I need to get off my chest. Sure, some of this might come across as projecting some of my own insecurities as both a producer and a haver-of-ovaries, but I have a feeling this is something a little more universal.

So… what’s wrong with calling someone a “female producer”? The obvious response is to point out how absurd it would be to state the gender of a male producer. It never happens.

But most producers are guys – you say. Yes… I’m aware of that.

However, making a point to clarify how unusually female we are only serves to further validate the twisted paradigm that to be an electronic producer is to necessarily be a man. And I’m pretty sure we can all agree that this is simply not the case.

Pointing fingers at the oddity, the woman producer, only banishes her, straight off the cuff, into the realm of curiosities… a place where apparently she’s in constant competition with other women for that coveted “best female producer” title (ugh). Really, why push us away any further than we already are?

(I realize that at this point some of you might think that Her Beats is the pinnacle of “pushing women away”, but that’s a whole other blog post…)

That’s not to say that I personally have a problem with this because I dislike being associated with my own gender (yes, it has been suggested). But here’s a revolutionary thought – what’s between my legs is not the most important thing about me – or my music. Crazy, right? It’s not even the second or third most important thing. Nobody goes into the studio and thinks, “Right, I’m a woman/man, now I’m going to make this music in a womanly/manly way”. But somehow, this comes across as the most vital, and most oft-mentioned, detail of electronic music made by a woman.

There’s no doubt that context is important – hell, music journalism wouldn’t exist if understanding and appreciating the context of a sound was completely irrelevant to the listening experience. But to treat an artist’s femaleness as a necessary fact that must be clarified and understood and processed by the reader is lazy, and insulting to both the artist and the reader.

Of course, completely avoiding the topic of gender isn’t the answer. But think of it this way – articles about male producers don’t find the need to use the words “male producer”. These things come out naturally with words like “he” or “his”. Perhaps using “she” or “her” might hint towards the fact that the producer is a lady? Let’s give readers a little more intellectual credit.

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What are your experiences with the term “female producer”? Does it bother you? Or is it something you don’t mind seeing around?

 


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