I’ve been reading on this forum, and online, and it seems like the audiophile community is based primarily on a male audience (hence things like WAF: (wife acceptance factor). Are there many female members of this community or is audio primarily a male oriented discipline? Just curious.
My experience is women are vastly more interested in the music than the equipment.
Didn’t we have a poll at some point? I believe that the responders were all male?
There’s so many facets to this that it’s hard to encapsulate.
I think one of the major factors is that men have a propensity for one-upmanship, which is unwelcoming to newcomers. One guy buys a car, his buddy makes sure the car he buys is faster. If you’re interested in driving a fast car and you see this pissing match, it can be really unpleasant to get into the splash zone.
My favorite explanation, though, is that women are just smarter.
As a side note, I think we as a community should stop using the term WAF. All it does is paint the wife as the antagonist, which is not doing us any help at all if we’re trying to be an open and inclusive hobby.
Excellent comment on WAF. I have felt this way for a long time.
I similarly dislike the “jokes” and comments about how to mislead one’s spouse, trick them, etc. to get new/more expensive equipment, etc.
The generalizations about women (eg “they are smarter”) could be seen as “mansplaining” or even as paternalism. The only way to know why women are not participating as audiophiles is to ask them (eg conduct research).
It raises questions for me about what is lost by not having women and other underrepresented demographics involved in this pursuit.
Without the benefit of any research, and admittedly going out on a limb, I am comfortable stating most women agree they are smarter.
I was just kiddin…
Anyway, I just asked my wife to whom I am married for 36 (thirtysix) years and she said: “Because I just want to listen to music that I like and I don’t like yours…!”
Now to clearify that: She likes that latin Zumba stuff. That stuff makes me aggresive. She has her own iPhone and Bose “boom” box that she knows how to use. My stuff is complicated and changes all the time. We seldom listen to music together, because she has no patience, she always needs to do something.
Finally, I honestly think she doesn’t give a
But let’s be clear: I have the best wife on the globe…!
WAF is sooooo 2018
In today’s world it is called SAF - Spouse Acceptance Factor
Same here. We do have a few female members. It would be better to have more.
My wife loves show tunes. Me, not so much. She has a Sprout fed by a Squeezebox Touch powering old Thiel 1.5’s and is very happy with it. She has even been experimenting with Qobuz on it a bit. She is very tolerant of what I do in “my” room. As for the rest of the house, she has strong opinions that tend to win the day. Nobody is suggesting there are no differences between the sexes. Just that we should be a little mindful about how we talk about them.
Many different viewpoints and approaches is always most interesting.
I agree with your point - nuance is lost with generalizing comments like mine or Elk’s. At the end of the day, we’re making best guesses based on experience. We can’t know anything without engaging in conversation with those who are not participating.
My comment regarding how alienating one-upmanship can be was influenced by this post from a female audiophile on reddit.
One of my colleagues here, Joey, echoed the sentiment of the redditor. She’s had numerous negative or outright sexist comments from audiophiles. One audiophile at a show asked her, “oh, are you just here to look pretty and push play?”
Another grilled her on her qualifications to be in her position despite her exhibiting knowledge of the hobby. Others straight up refuse to talk to her, instead asking to speak with a male salesperson.
If we want to share our hobby with others, we should remain as open and accepting as possible.
That stinks. Joey helped me with my purchase and was very helpful.
I agree that one-upmanship can be a turnoff for women–and men. Sexism and offensive comments (such as the one your colleague Joey heard at a show) are more on target from my perspective if we are going to conjecture why women “choose” not to be involved in high end audio.
I recently watched a PBS special about a woman in the Pacific Northwest who started a club for women to enjoy exercise in the outdoors who don’t feel welcomed by the mainstream “outdoor enthusiast” culture. In this case, those who don’t fit the ideals (in terms of body size, cultural style, etc.). This has a lot to do with who feels welcome to participate and those who do not. Those who are in the “in group” have no clue what it feels like to be on the outside. They naively say things like “anyone who wants to can do this. It’s a free world.” Those who swim in the pond of power and privilege don’t see the water.
Being open and accepting are great first steps. Actively trying to bring others in is a more progressive step in my opinion.
As a non-engineer/technical person, I often feel intimidated and have been derided for my lack of understanding of basic principles of electrical engineering. It doesn’t feel great, but for me it’s not enough to keep me away. For others that could be enough to dissuade them from participating.
Spend more than 5 minutes on Paul’s Daily posts and you will see the “tone” of aggressive arguing, dismissive statements, know-it-alls, etc. Paul is a model of tolerance, and rarely, if ever, fires back.
I deal with professional women on a daily basis. Engineers, designers, supplier reps, sellers, buyers, truck drivers, shipping clerks, assembly line workers. All of them are very good at their job and passionate about it. If I was a stereo equipment manufacturer I would go out of my way to attract this smaller segment of the buying public. There are now a lot more women with disposable income than ever before. Shaming them or anyone else that is interested but not knowledgeable is very counterproductive to cash flow IMHO.
I would add that my wife is not particularly interested in the nuts and bolts of our stereo system but she does appreciate the fact that “it sounds better than ever”. I always offer to play anything she wants to hear and ask her opinion an new additions.
I do not read Paul’s Posts for this very reason; the environment is too toxic.
I left most of the audiophile forums and audiophile Facebook groups primarily because the moderators and a good number of members allow and accept the objectification and crude sexualization of women. Examples include posts with bikini clad women next to speakers, and the very frequent misogynistic wife/girlfriend jokes. It’s no wonder that women have no interest in being part of the audiophile community. I don’t know why this PS Audio forum is different, and maybe it’s because @Elk is a superior moderator, but this feels more like a safe space for audiophile men and women alike.
This is certainly true for my wife. She likes to listen to music but prefers to perform herself. She plays the piano and the church organ, but it’s not her main profession. My daughter is a little bit different: equipment does matter to her, she is a music producer/singer/songwriter, she is playing her own music, she is the pro, she sure needs good playback equipment for her work, but she is not an audiophile as far as I know. She has access to fancy recording studios though…