Why Are There So Few Female Magicians?

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There are not many female magicians that are well-known in the field. Despite the fact that women make up 50% of the world’s population, there are only around 20 female magicians. 

This begs the question: Why is it so difficult for these women to break into this industry?

To answer this question, Inside Higher Ed interviewed six female magicians at magic conventions across the country. 

Through their stories, we find out just how difficult it can be to break into a male-dominated field and why it seems like magic is still stuck in its own time warp.

Here are some more points discussed about Why Are There So Few female magician

1. Gender is a barrier to entry.

“There’s a big, big difference between men and women,” Marisol said. She added: “I didn’t really think too much about it, and then I realized it was so much more than just making $50 doing magic.” 

It’s hard for women to break into the industry because women are not seen as funny. “I’ve been asked why I perform stand-up comedy,” Lizzy said, “and that would be my question back to them: ‘Do you want to be a female magician?'” 

She said that people usually think of comedy as being scripted, predictable and over-literalized, which doesn’t work well in magic, she says.

2. Men are more confident in themselves.

“I feel like the guys are better marketers- they’re out there,” Marisol said. Lizzy added: “The guys leave no stone unturned in getting their name out there and getting their product out there. If you don’t do that and you don’t market your product, then your product kind of falls off the face of the Earth.”

3. There are less female magicians because the pay is so bad.

“People who do magic for a living, you can’t support yourself off of it,” Marisol said. She and Lizzy both said that they had to get day jobs for their comedy and magic careers. 

“I’m lucky enough to be able to support myself,” Lizzy said, “but there’s so many women out there who work really hard at this and they can’t make a living.” 

While some men do magic as a hobby on the side, she said, most female magicians only do it because they want to use it as their main source of income.

4. The community discourages women from joining in.

“I think a lot of the people in the magic community assumed that I picked magic because I needed a hobby,” Marisol said. “That was a big thing when I started doing magic- ‘You’re so pretty, you should be in modeling.'” 

She said she has been told by magicians that her best bet would be to become a female illusionist instead of a magician because women are “so much more connected to seduction.”

5. Women have negative experiences with performance.

Going out on stage is scary enough for men, but women have added worries. “[The male audience members] feel more empowered,” Lizzy said. “They’re like, ‘Yeah! I can look at you while you’re naked!’ 

They’re just saying it louder than girls are saying it to other girls.” She said that’s why some women don’t perform- because they’ve had bad experiences with the audience.

6. There are fewer role models for women in magic.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” Marisol said. “We need to see more women doing magic.” Lizzy added: “It’s so weird there’s not more female magicians. 

There are so few of us, and there are so many festivals out there, and there are so few female performers- it’s weird. Why is that? There are male magicians out there who are doing things other than direct magic.

7. The sexism makes it hard for the women to “get over” their self-doubt.

Marisol said: “I think a lot of it has to do with what you’re used to. If you’re not used to being looked at as sexy, then when someone does look at you as sexy, it can be hard to get past that. 

When I’m onstage, I don’t see the guys staring at me. They’re not thinking of me as sexy, so it’s easier for me to get through their eyes.”

8. Women need to be heard.

“It’s hard for women to be heard because they’re not loud enough,” Marisol said. She added that there is too much of a focus on men in magic, which means that women are often seen as unnecessary or superfluous.

“You can’t do life without attention,” Lizzy said. “But if you’re not getting attention, then you feel like something is wrong with you.” She added: “Concealing your best qualities can make you look more likeable.”

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