In 2016, HARD Summer festival had four women on the two-day bill. That’s a deplorable number, to be sure, but it’s not an outlier. Most music festivals, dance oriented or otherwise, fail to equally represent female identifying musicians, and before you neckbeards start chirping out your tweetholes, “well actually, there are just less women in the industry” is not a valid argument.
In 2017, HARD head Gary Richards, aka Destructo, made is a point to put more women on the festival’s stages. Its upgraded 26 female performers (out of 110) include Anna Lunoe, Tinashe, and Charli XCX. It’s an addition lauded in the lineup’s official press release, and it marks the central theme of this year’s HARD Summer ’17 video trailer – sort of.
Richards and friends always give fans some wacky, zany, behind-the-scenes kind of trailer for HARD’s parties. They’re usually hella goofy, but this clip is downright controversial, which is certainly the aim. You don’t outfit DJ Snake, Claude VonStroke, What So Not, and Party Favor in clownish fake breasts unless you’re trying to push some buttons.
Led by a downright disgusting character named Harvey, the video shows Richards being all “we need to book more girls,” but instead of actually working with women, said sleezeball Harvey would rather put tits on the dudes and call it a day.
“Women have it so easy,” he grunts. “You’ll see.” From there, it’s pretty much a visual list of all the industry’s double standards (sexist photographers, sexist managers, sexist directors) aggrandized to such over-the-top proportions that it’s got to be funny, right? There are comments about how women can’t produce, dudes with boobs in cages, sex sells and music doesn’t, etc. The point is clear, women are not taken seriously at all in the dance music world, but there’s another point to be made about this video: where are the women?
It takes six minutes for this clip to feature any actual females at all, and when it does, there are about four, which takes us numerically back to HARD’s original problem. Anna Lunoe eventually appears, alongside Kittens, Cray, and Gina Turner, but they’re just kinda like “hey, why are there boobs on these guys?” That’s pretty much it.
In an interview with Nest HQ, director and known female Agata Alexander addresses her use of men in the video.
“It’s scary for females to voice their opinions about stuff like this, and it’s the reason I put mostly men in the trailer, because as soon as a woman opens her mouth about discrimination she’s a crazy feminist who just needs some dick,” she is quoted. “How many times have you read comments like that? I didn’t want to put any other women through that, I’ll take it gladly cause I don’t fucking care but I don’t want to put anyone else through it. And I think it’s so important for men to open up their fucking mouths and loudly say, ‘It’s really important we support women and give them a fair shot’.”
It’s great to see HARD face the issue straight on. No one can say they’re not starting a conversation. Shout out Alexander for taking a risk and putting the insanity of gender inequality out in the open for all to see. Maybe next year we will have evoled as a society, and we can get a video with 26 women in it, and maybe we won’t have to scream “BOOBS” while we do it. Until then, aren’t boobs funny?