Lilith Lane, female audio engineer with speakers and gear


When you think of the slang term ‘slutz’ what comes to mind? As a young female engineer mixing at live music venues in Melbourne, I was in constant internal conflict about expressing my feminine, and desexualising myself to deter unwanted male attention.  These days I’m less of a target for sexual predators as a mature boss-lady engineer but as a newby a downplayed presentation to remain unassuming in appearance was the norm.  In the opposite extreme, social media has created a space for the over-sexualisation of women and gear, as with bikini-clad women selling cars in the 50’s.  Women posing with gear in a sexualised context is a way of gaining attention in a male-dominated space where online platform attention can have a serious influence on career visibility.- Lilith Lane 2021




Gearslutzspace logo | Recording Studios Living Archive

Previous branding of the website


When popular audio equipment forum site Gearslutz, established in 2000, rebranded to Gearspace in early 2021, long-term forum participants were either disgusted, congratulatory or nonchalant.

Some were up in arms that this male-dominated space would buckle to social justice pressures. Why would women be offended by the name? Why change something for a small number of noise makers, especially when women largely choose not to participate in these forums?


As a female engineer who has visited the site for many years for information and discussion of user experiences with equipment, I’ve never made a post. I’ve always found the title off-putting and felt I might be intruding on the Boys Club. The term ‘slut’ is usually used in a derogatory manner towards women. Even the site’s cofounder claims she thought the name was awful.  It reminds me of the most unfavourable aspects of the industry that I would rather not engage with.

Some of the information people share can be useful and I certainly don’t speak for all women, but I think the name change signals a positive change.   My thoughts on the whole women talking about gear thing on equipment forums and social media groups…….. It’s intimidating being the minority in the cyber room.   Just as it is in the real-life room.  The fear of heavy scrutiny often silences people, even when they have a lot of knowledge.

Gearslutzspace | Recording Studios Living Archive

Mansplaining, and the inevitable attempt by at least one person to one-up the female is over time, incredibly exhausting.  It’s definitely not everyone doing this, but the few bad apples really do spoil the barrel. Bad apples who (often unknowingly) use condescending language or inferences.  As a real life example, on joining a professional gear buy and sell forum, I was sent a private message by the site coordinator informing me that the site isn’t for music gear, with the assumption that I had mistakenly joined as a musician.  How could I possibly be an audio professional?  What, a female? Here?  On top of this, gear discussions are often based around buying and selling equipment.  Women are usually working for, or under the management of men, using men’s gear.  Women have traditionally been much less likely to be in a financial position to buy gear and set up their own businesses.  The confidence gap also contributes to feeling less authoritative in discussing equipment that they don’t typically own themselves or use as often as others in these forums.