Popular pro audio website Gearslutz is facing calls to change its name on the basis that it’s unprofessional and derogatory to women.
A petition calling for the change has been set up by Cam Ran on Change.org, who wants to see a new name “that more appropriately represents the gear community.” It has so far been signed by more than 2,600 people.
“Every engineer I know has used/uses [Gearslutz], and most of the engineers I know feel uncomfortable with the name,” she says. “I have been one of two women sitting in an engineering class and a professor has uncomfortably mentioned the website, apologising for the name, but bringing it up because it has been an important resource to use when learning about gear.
“While there has been much progress in the gear community and audio world for women, we still exist in a time where every woman I know who works in audio has been asked which band member she's dating when she's loading in gear.
"Every woman I know has been called a slut in a derogatory manner. Every woman I know who works in a male dominated field has felt objectified and patronized. And not every woman is offended by this name, but enough people are that it's a frequent and recurring topic.
“It might not seem like a big deal, and people will likely say that we should focus our energies on bigger issues of equality, but we can do both. We can talk about the things in our community that make us uncomfortable, starting with this website created by men, who have never been called "slut" in a hateful and derogatory way.
"Who have never had to prove their merit in their field simply because of their gender. Who have never had someone assume that their level of success was due to the fact that they slept with the right person.”
In response, Gearslutz founder Julian Standen is reported to have said in a now-deleted post: “The word “slut” isn’t necessary [sic] just a derogatory word for women, it refers to someone driven by their lust more than by their brain - kinda like nerds who habitually spend money on a bunch of machines they don’t really need or are worthy of. The gear is no longer a tool but a self-purpose and is fetishised. “Slut” is a good word to describe people who indulge in this behaviour.”
Standen is referring to a lesser-known definition of the word ‘slut’, which is more frequently used as an offensive and derogatory term for promiscuous women.
The petition has provoked intense debate among those who agree that the name should be changed and others who want it to remain.
Ending her petition post, Cam Ran says: “Aside from making some people feel a bit upset, it's also just a very unprofessional name that makes people uncomfortable in an educational environment or workplace.
“I'm looking forward to a brighter future where women and female presenting people feel comfortable in all spheres of work and passion, and this small change would be a great step. If you're angered or annoyed by this request, truly ask yourself why.”