British Columbia

DJ posing for Playboy subject of short doc by Katherine Monk

DJ Rhiannon is a good DJ, but she had to use her sexuality to advance her career. Was that the right decision? A short documentary playing at the Vancouver International Film Festival explores that.

Film critic's feminism and body-shaming issues challenged by documentary

DJ Rhiannon in a still from Rock the Box. The film explores Rhiannon using her sexuality, and what it is we value in women. (viff.org)

For 20 years, Katherine Monk has been attending film festivals as a critic. But not this year.

This year, she's got a film of her own — her first — making the festival rounds, including the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Rock the Box is a short documentary that follows the story of Vancouver's DJ Rhiannon, who made her way to the top of the male-dominated electronic dance music industry by posing for Playboy.

"She's playing a role. She's sort of compartmentalized her identity in order to get ahead in the world of electronic dance music, and unfortunately, she had to go out there and exploit her natural resources. Which was to go out there and pose for Playboy," Monk told On The Coast's Stephen Quinn.

Monk's film begins as a look into the world of DJs, and why women are so underrepresented in the world of electronic dance music DJing.

She learned about DJ Rhiannon, who attended a concert sponsored by Playboy, and thought she was much better than the DJs who performed.

Rhiannon had a tough call to make when an offer was given to her: she could get on the circuit herself if she posed for the magazine.

"She made her own call, and I think the fact that she made the call and no one forced her to do it allowed her to repossess and reassume her own sexuality, which I don't think women are taught to do all that much," Monk said.

Monk said she found Rhiannon's career move challenging as a feminist and a filmmaker.

"It was a bit of a conundrum. It took three years to bring this project to fruition and I had to come face to face with a lot of my own body-shaming issues," Monk said.

Monk said that while Rhiannon is a talented DJ, it was posing for Playboy that allowed her to get ahead, not her talent. She says this raises questions about what women are valued for in our world.


To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: DJ's decision to pose for Playboy subject of short doc at VIFF

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