While we are on the subject, if you guys really want us women to join in more on audiophile/hifi forums and groups, please, just put it away will you?  I remember being at school in the 70s and the boys would be frequently shrieked at, by irate teachers, for having competitions to see who could wee the highest up a wall.  This obviously proved that they were highly masculine so when they grew up they continued to apply this ‘rampant masculinity’ and ‘willy waving’ technique to their hifi… 

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Why Are There So Few Women Into Hifi?

Now there’s a question, its one that I hear pretty often too.  It usually comes up like this…I will be on Facebook and something catches my eye, probably someone has posted a picture of their hifi set-up, new speakers, cables or amplifier.  I’ll make a comment along the lines of ‘Wow, that looks serious/I heard these at a show/I have the same one’.  This then prompts a load of comments from guys along the lines of ‘Hey, a woman who likes hifi…that’s a novelty, why are there so few of you?’

The thing is, there are loads of us actually, but we tend to keep ourselves to ourselves and just get on with it…so, to the average male hifi nut, it may just seem that the female of the species doesn’t really give two hoots about the glorious and crazy world of hifi.  There are a lot of females that either work in the hifi and audio industry, or are enthusiasts and these are women that know their stuff, every bit as well (and often better) than the guys.  The question doesn’t seem to get asked about music, I think it’s generally taken for granted that males and females both equally love to listen to music, and hifi equipment is just what one uses to listen to music on, why would we be any less interested in it than you?

What makes us, more often than not, less likely to put our hands up and say ‘me…over here! I love hifi!’ Well, from my point of view, there are several reasons.

‘White Wine For The Lady?’ 

One of the biggest things for us to overcome is that hardwired attitude that a lot of guys have that we are incapable of choosing some things for ourselves.  We are fairly safe with ‘girly’ subjects such as shoes, handbags and make up, but put us in front of anything more challenging, and traditionally male dominated, like tech,hifi or cars and we obviously need the assistance of a big strong man to help us decide what we like…even getting drinks at a bar will often result in pint of real ale for the guy and a nice white wine for her.  If you can get beyond this, there are actually a lot of men that say that their wife/girlfriend/partner is the person in their house that can make the best judgement of how things sound when they are trying out new hifi components. Don’t just assume that because we are a female we are starting from nowhere….we may have a bit of knowledge; we may have a lot more than you on certain subjects.  I read recently a story from the female Vice President of a well known and long established American hifi company.  She was at a hifi show and went over to look what cartridge was being used on the deck in a system, she was informed that what she was looking at was a turntable…….yes really!  Please don’t be so condescending, we are perfectly capable of sitting down and listening and if we have any questions, we will ask!

WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) 

I really hate this term, most people use it without really thinking about it to describe an item of audio equipment that has undergone some kind of beautification or been wrapped in an invisibility cloak to make it more acceptable to our feeble and easily offended female senses.  ‘It’s got really high WAF’ No, it’s a beautiful looking and incredible sounding piece of equipment that any audiophile/hifi enthusiast of either gender can appreciate.  Please note that all women are different and we all have different tastes, what I think is attractive the next woman (or man) might not…I happen to have a soft spot for really big horn speakers and electronics with valves sticking out of the top.  Just as I can look at art or architecture I can look at hifi and see the beauty in its form, it doesn’t have to be disguised in any way to make me accept it.  Many people (men and women) want their hifi to look as good as it works, just like they would their car or kitchen, but that’s a decision that is not based on whether they have a penis or not! 

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‘Mine Is Bigger/Better/Louder/More Expensive Than Yours!’ 

While we are on the subject, if you guys really want us women to join in more on audiophile/hifi forums and groups, please, just put it away will you?  I remember being at school in the 70s and the boys would be frequently shrieked at, by irate teachers, for having competitions to see who could wee the highest up a wall.  This obviously proved that they were highly masculine so when they grew up they continued to apply this ‘rampant masculinity’ and ‘willy waving’ technique to their hifi.  Having the best/biggest/loudest/most expensive hifi in the group and shouting about this whilst belittling everyone else’s choices OBVOIUSLY makes you seem manlier.  Errr…no it doesn’t, it makes you boring and a keyboard warrior.  Please grow up and have an educated conversation with your fellow audiophiles and you might learn a few things…in the meantime us women have better things to do, like listening to music on, rather than showing off about, our hifi.  There is nothing wrong with being proud of what you have; you just don’t need to slate what others have to confirm how good yours is.

Cables 

What is it with you guys and cables?  To me, they are just the things that you use to connect the bits of your hifi together.  I didn’t think that they could make much of a difference…then my ears told me different.  You can, like for every other hifi component, pay a little for cables or lot, it’s up to the individual.  However, if you dare to even mention the ‘C’ word a fight will ensue, between the ‘20p a metre bell wire’ camp and the ‘my speaker cables cost more than my house’ camp and it will probably get very personal and nasty.  Just chill out, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, there is no need for death threats, the world will not end nor the sky fall in just because someone prefers to use a power cable with a telephone number price tag rather than the one that came free with their amp…its their choice.

Hifi Hookers HIFIHOOKERS

Now this really is a bit of an odd one.  To be fair to you blokes, this is more of a female thing.  Social media is a great way to connect with fellow hifi enthusiasts, I have loads of friends all over the world who share my interest and a high proportion of them are male.  These friends are much more interested in finding out what I think of the latest pair of high end headphones, or what I thought of the hifi show that I’ve recently been to.  They like to see pictures of our listening room…basically they want to know about the hifi, not me personally, I’m just another ‘one of the guys’.  However, their wives and girlfriends seem to think a bit differently.  I once had a tirade of abuse (I was accused of being a hooker!) from the wife of a guy that had sent me a friend request on Facebook, despite the fact that we had a few hundred mutual friends (including my husband); she thought that I was after her man! I have fellow female audiophile friends who have had the same experience, its some kind of warped sexism from other women that think the only reason a woman would be into something traditionally ‘male’ is because she is after a man…really it is just not the case!

Image Is Everything. 

Lets be honest here, ‘Audiophile’ or ‘Hifi Enthusiast’ conjures up a certain stereotypical image of a lonely middle aged guy, hiding in his ‘man cave’ listening to obscure vinyl imports of noodley jazz or weird prog rock and spending all of his money on strange system tweaks, or building his own speakers or amplifiers in a shed.  No wonder us women tend to be a bit backwards about coming forwards and saying we are part of the gang too…we don’t want everyone to think that we are just plain weirdos!  Thankfully though, the Audiophile and Hifi Enthusiast demographic is changing.  Go to a show and you are much more likely to see younger people (one thing we do have to thank beats by Dre for!) couples, women and even whole families.  More and more people are getting into the hifi hobby and it is losing its ‘freak show’ stigma.  Vinyl is cool again and high-res streaming and downloads are everywhere in the media…the whole audiophilia/hifi scene is getting pretty trendy.

So you see guys, there are women out there who share your passion for all things audio and hifi, we are just sometimes…for the aforementioned reasons, a little bit less vocal about it than you are.

Linette SmithBIRDSSPONSOR600X74

 

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