TIFF20: Underplayed

You may not be ready to hear this, but did you know men and women aren’t always treated equally? Turns out, that holds true in the music industry as well. In 2019, only 5 of the top 100 DJs list were female, and they made up only 3% of technical and production roles, which is pretty embarrassing, and I thought the days I was embarrassed by math were behind me.

Underplayed explores gender inequality through the lens of EDM. It’s basically the Hidden Figures of electronic music, only these women send concert-goers into ecstatic trances rather than rockets to the moon. Tomato, tomahto.

The EDM community likes to think of itself as rather inclusive, but it clearly falls prey to the same gender, ethnic, and sexual equality issues that virtually everything else does. Systemic bias: it’s the real deal. DJs might put out music under fake names and perform wearing face-covering helmets, but they still find a way to weed out the ladies. That’s pretty dedicated sexism, if you ask me.

Director Stacey Lee assembles the very best in female talent, including Alison Wonderland, Tygapaw, TOKiMONSTA, REZZ, NERVO, Louisahhh, and more (gosh they love their CAPS), but clearly this is an issue that transcends the music industry and affects literally every woman the world over. Lee makes a point of not just discussing the disparity, but exploring how it happens, and how it might change.

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