Pro audio website and forum Gearslutz is changing its name after an online petition went viral and gathered the support of nearly 5,000 people.
“Your thoughtful petition has generated debate on both social media and our forum, and we hear you,” Gearslutz founder Julian Standen (known as “Jules” on the forums) commented on the petition itself. “Gearslutz will change its name. We have not yet decided what it will be, but we can assure you that the new name will be inclusive, and will stand the test of time.”
The petition was authored by Cam Ran, who noted the great value of the site was degraded by its title, particularly in educational settings.
“Every engineer I know has used/uses [Gearslutz.com], and most of the engineers I know feel uncomfortable with the name,” the petition read. “I have been one of two women sitting in an engineering class and a professor has uncomfortably mentioned the website, apologizing 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.”
By its own reckoning, Gearslutz attracts more than 1.6 million monthly visitors. A week ago, Standen released a statement on the forums explaining that he had chosen the name “as an ironic way of describing those who, like me, had no control over their desires for acquiring recording equipment. The name was, and still is, not intended to send a derogatory message to women… It was simply meant to poke fun at some people’s pro audio shopping habits.”
A few days later, Standen had changed his mind. “We recognize and agree that the word-play pun in the name has gotten old and it is now time to move forwards. Gearslutz will be changing its name.”
Standen also appeared on Working Class Audio podcast to discuss the issue.
“The plan is to change the name because we understand the 18 year old word pun is no longer acceptable,” he told WCA, adding there are other reasons to change it. “I realize the site is used by a lot of audio educators who point their students to the site and say, ‘You really gotta check this place out.’ But when they say the name of the place, they sort of blanche and it’s a bit embarrassing… I completely understand that.”
Cam Ran called the move “an amazing step for equality in the industry and inspiring for anyone who has felt like their concerns or thoughts haven’t been taken seriously in the past. Thank you Jules and everyone at Gearslutz for hearing us out and taking the right step towards progress. You have gained the support of many in the process.”
Standen added that the name change is “going to take awhile as it is a significant technical task. Thus, we are asking you to bear with us as we embark on it.”