Enough with all-male, all-white, and all-straight line-ups on festivals, and a big hell to the yeah to female empowerment and diversity! In 2018, the round, flashy yellow stickers with the text “All Men? Nein Danke” first appeared on male-dominated festival posters all around Amsterdam. With the sticker-spreading initiative, its creators wanted to crack down on festivals, panels, club nights, and pretty much every other kind of program in the music scene that consists solely of male lineups.
As an ode to March's International Women's Month, music is her passion wants to shine a light on this incredible initiative brought to life by the Amsterdam-based artists Emma van Meyeren (music journalist and DJ), and Fenna Fiction (DJ). Fed up with the patriarchy in music, the two DJs got on their bikes and placed stickers on every only male line-up poster they could find.
United Against the Patriarchy
When Emma realized the fundamental inequality in music, particularly in connection to festival line-ups, she established an idea to make festivalgoers aware that the number of female artists booked is far behind the number of men. Of course, the idea was not to change the whole system by simply putting the stickers all over town. Really, “the stickers are mainly about visibility” as Emma explains in an interview with the collective BLUE. For her, the round, striking stickers were little helpers in making people acknowledge the existence of the problem and start a dialogue about it. Quickly, she found supporters of her idea and Fenna Fiction joined the initiative. Armed with as many stickers as they could carry, no only men festival poster in Amsterdam was safe from the wrath of these two.
"The stickers are mainly about visibility.”
Looks familiar? Surely, it is no coincidence that the stickers look confusingly similar to the international symbol of the anti-nuclear energy movement from the 1970s saying “Atomkraft? Nein Danke”. The stickers’ looks were intentionally chosen and inspired by the impactful design originally created by Anne Lund. The then 21-year-old activist Anne Lund created the logo that would go around the world in 1975. "It was a little bit of a reaction to most of the symbols that were used at the time that just signaled the fear of nuclear power. I thought it would be better to show a positive alternative.", explains Anne Lund in an interview with the Heinrich Böll Stiftung. The slogan quickly gained international popularity at the time and has since been translated into more than 60 languages. “It was perfect because it had a history of being used for political goals”, Emma reveals in her interview with BLUE.
Let’s Talk Numbers
In 2017, the Dutch broadcasting organization NOS calculated that on average, fewer than 10% of the ten most impactful dance festivals were made up of women. Today, the number of female acts is steadily increasing, yet still far behind. According to the techno music platform Monument, there were 20,5% female acts, 0,6% no male acts, 6,6% mixed acts, and 2,0% unidentified acts in electronic music festival line-ups calculated 2017-2019. From 2019-2020 the number of female artists at electronic music festival line-ups has increased by 4,5%. Still, these figures do not take into account whether women are booked as headliners, for which they would earn more, nor whether they have good time slots if they are on the main stage.
Regardless of this jumble of numbers, we can all agree that while the number of female acts at festivals is steadily increasing, it's just not good enough. So, follow the two powerful women of the "All Men? Nein Danke"- initiative, do better, and stand up for equality and diversity in music to celebrate Women's History Day every day of the year!