A little op-ed here. Y’all might wanna skip this if you drink the PC Kool-Aid.
Found this little sign on the wall of the station I DJ at, urging DJs to play more “fem-con” [works by female artists] while also refraining from playing anything misogynistic, or if you’re going to play it, “discuss it”.
Some DJs will prefer to play more women’s music, that’s cool, that’s their business. But they would do so whether there was a quota or not. Trying to push the rest of us into doing the same, especially basing the arguments in ideology, is like the time your mom tried to guilt trip you into playing Barbie with your dumb kid cousin when you were 17 and wanted to just hang out with your friends at the mall. At best you ignore the demand, at worst it breeds resentment. How is this helping anything?
Airplay should always be at the DJ’s discretion, and it should be based on what the DJ likes and is excited to share with the audience. I’m not even a fan of the Canadian content rules, even though I spin industrial and there’s plenty of great industrial and electronic music from Canada. When I spin Skinny Puppy or Left Spine Down, it’s based on thinking 1. they’re great and 2. whatever plan I have for the show that week, they have a song or 3 that fits it perfectly. Some weeks I have the required 35% CanCon, some weeks it’s 100% CanCon, some weeks it’s none. As I DJ after midnight, the actual CRTC regulation requires just 5%, which usually happens naturally.
There’s certainly women artists and female-fronted bands I do play, but in all cases it’s not because I’m wanting to hit some target for political reasons, it’s because I felt like spinning some Nina Hagen or Diamanda Galas or Jakalope or whatever the case might be. [Even my own stuff sometimes, but then technically I’m not supposed to do that even it helps with both CanCon and femcon quotas.]
I certainly would like to think that when maQLu is played on other college radio stations this is the reason – they think my stuff’s cool – as well, not “oh shit, I gotta play some girl stuff – wait, this is a chick, right? Phew!”
Funnily enough, I recall that when CiTR first brought in the femcon rules sometime in 2003 or 2004, some of those DJs who already played a lot of women artists as well as one of the staff members of Discorder who was a fairly radical feminist objected to the quotas for just that reason – they felt it devalued women’s art, reducing the motivation to just hitting an arbitrary target instead of a genuine drive to foster and support emerging female talent as a worthwhile goal in itself.
Naturally, I speak here of airplay on a college radio station where the DJ picks their own material, obviously on a commercial station it’s whatever major label stuff is popular enough to survive the bloodsport. Here too, I believe in survival of the fittest – if it’s good enough, listeners will demand to hear more of it and this is how we make a hit a hit. Money and payola can help spark the flame but if there’s not public interest to fan it, it dies out quick. It’s popular to comment on “oh the majors just buy their way to airplay” but in that case explain how the Hell they ever manage to have a flop? But I digress…
Annoying as it is, femcon is the more innocuous portion of the message here, the more insidious portion is the bit about not playing “misogynistic” music. In other words, DJs are to be the thought police. I have a major problem with that kind of censorship of artistic expression.
Or if you do play it, you’re supposed to then give disclaimers and discuss how bad it is that the artist said whatever. This assumes a couple vile things: 1. that your listeners are either too delicate to hear such an offensive message or so mindless they’ll think hearing it gives them license to act violently [either way the message is your listeners are stupid and incapable of thinking for themselves] and 2. that a song ceases to be a valid artistic statement if it fails to conform with the current political mindset.
Didn’t we already go through this horseshit in the 80s? Are we really still fighting against the PMRC and Tipper Gore [or their modern equivalents]?
It seems so, but it’s a more insidious guerilla war now.
Well, what sort of song is it that you should not play? One that is misogynistic or stereotyping of women or which uses derogatory language. That’s pretty broad – obviously Jim Goad’s “Let’s Hear It For Violence Against Women” is a no-no on the far end of the spectrum, but where’s the line on the near side? It seems to me that like the issue of vulgar language, the onus is never on the offended to flip the station if they don’t like what they hear, it’s on the DJ to be tame enough to not incur such wrath before anyone has even made a complaint.
Furthermore, any guy writing one of those standard “bitch left me and broke my heart” would be in violation of it because he’s making a negative portrayal of a female and using derogatory language. Even worse if he hasn’t gotten laid since the break-up and decides to write a “fuck all you stuck up cows” song. Which happens from time to time.
Art like this creates an outlet and I think probably reduces tension more often than not. You’re pissed at your girlfriend, you sing along with something rude in the car, it’s a bit of a release. Hell, I do this on the flipside when I’m pissed at a guy.
Also amusing is that anything “stereotyping” women shouldn’t be played, but the whole drive of this is the stereotype that women are helpless, easily offended delicate flowers, always pure and perfect so that only a monster would say anything negative about any one of them, always producing content worth listening to and playing yet incapable of getting it listened to or played without rules and quotas to blackmail DJs into playing their work. The notion is that women are weak and therefore special attention and favor needs to be given to them, not only for exposure but also to protect their delicate feelings and tenuous position in society. This is bullshit.
Here’s something else they haven’t considered: what happens if a female artist makes something they would define as misogynistic? Hmm? Not all women hold hands in oneness singing “we are family, I got all my sisters with me.”
I know I for one have no illusions of any automatic sisterhood – I have female friends of course, and I’m female myself, but I can think of other females where if I saw them lying in a pool of blood on the sidewalk the only reason I’d approach would be to give those rotten cunts a good hard kick to the windpipe to speed them on their trip to Hell. You don’t get a pass just because of what you’ve got in your pants.
And that’s not some sort of internalized sexism, folks, that’s a simple reality: just as some men are worthless pricks, some women are worthless cunts. And sometimes an artist of whichever gender will have the misfortune to encounter one. And then they may decide to write a song about the experience.
I say as long as it’s a good song and the DJ likes it, it deserves airplay without the DJ having to second guess themselves on the basis of someone’s ideology and fear of a few words.