honey dijon’s notes on being a woman
From the 80s Chicago club scene to soundtracking the Louis Vuitton runway show, Honey Dijon shares what it means to be a woman.
Am I doing this woman thing right? Do you do this woman thing the same as me? Does it matter? Existential lady crisis -- we all have it. Notes on Being a Woman is an ongoing series that examines the many myths and meanings of what being a woman is all about.
DJ, fashion icon and trans rights activist, Honey Dijon has been spinning decks since she was just a kid, when she got to lift the needle between tracks at her parent’s parties back in Chicago. By 12 years old, she was a seasoned pro and had amassed a sizable record collection of her own. She’d even started going clubbing albeit with her parents’ approval.
Moving to NYC in the 1990s, she honed her craft under Derrick Carter and Danny Tenaglia, soon becoming a cult figure within the city’s underground fashion and music scenes in her own right. Instinctive, versatile and genre-defying, her ability to manipulate a crowd has seen her DJ around the world, from nightclub to dive bar to fashion’s most major runways -- last year she soundtracked the Louis Vuitton autumn/winter 17 show.
Honey has also spoken out about her experience as a black transgender woman. Growing up on the South Side of Chicago in the 70s, the word transexual didn’t exist. . And though she’s said she doesn’t like labels, she’s realised the value they can have when it comes to offering much needed visibility for underrepresented communities.
Here Honey Dijon offers her notes on being a woman.
Being a woman is great. I am fortunate to work in creative worlds and queer environments, so I live in a bit of a bubble that is definitely a bit more tolerant of my womanhood. That is not to say that there is no misogyny in these spaces, but I feel like I have much more opportunity to succeed in these spaces than others.
The best advice I’ve ever been given about human bodies is that it’s better to be healthy and vibrant, then trying to fit into the fashion of the day regarding body size. Since I am a part of the fashion world, a thin body is valued above all else. However, all of the the curves that I have turn me on, and if I feel that way about myself it will definitely attract others that will feel that way. Also bodies are meant for pleasure as well as reproduction.
There isn’t just one type of love; it will always change and shift. Romantic love looks like lust, laughter, fantasy, projection,insecurity, jealousy, warmth, compassion, sharing, dancing, and experiencing each other along this journey. Parental love feels like comfort, joy, protection, non-pretense, familiarity and spirit. Friendship feels like freedom, camaraderie, intimacy, vulnerability, honesty, secrecy, authenticity and trust. Passion in terms of career or work feels like a sense of worth, self-esteem, purpose, ego, autonomy, inspiration, influence, inspiration, dreams, desires and goals.
When I was younger I thought that being beautiful, talented, smart, and well dressed would be bring me love and success. We spend so much time comparing ourselves to others’ beauty, success and relationships and always looking for external approval instead of working on our own self love and acceptance. Everything outside of ourselves is a reflection of the internal beliefs and I wish I was given these tools earlier in life instead of looking for the perfect mate, perfect job, perfect house. Those are others people’s ideals anyway. Find your own power and operate from that instead of a place of what you don't have, or from internal conflicts because that doesn't align with what the world expects of you.
Casual sex is rarely casual for women. In my experience, with NSA sex, it’s easier for people to not invest in the other person and take what they need regardless of how the other person may feel. Once it’s said and done I feel like I’ve done free sex work. I still continue to do it occasionally because somewhere in the back of my head I still hold on to the fantasy that maybe one day it will lead to something more.
Double standards for women are deeply ingrained in cultures around the world and regardless of how hard I have worked to be a phenomenal human being it’s a constant battle to be seen as an equal to men. Especially as a woman of colour.
I measure a lot of value in my physical attributes. Having pretty privilege does allow you to go through life a bit easier, even though it’s hard, regardless of appearance, for everyone. However, they make new pretty people everyday, so I’ve found it’s much better to be interesting, alluring and unforgettable than pretty. Pretty is very common actually.
I’ve found unexpected pleasure in self love and acceptance. Being free from toxic relationships has freed me and allowed me to focus on the things that I love instead of trying to force something to be what it isn't. I’ve found so much pleasure in myself that it attracts wonderful experiences in my life that I would not otherwise have when channeling energy into people, places and things that don't lift my vibrational energy. Life really does begin from the inside out.
I admire Grace Jones. She was the first woman of colour who challenged gender norms, was an artist and a fashion icon, and she liberated me and gave me the confidence and strength to be myself and march to the beat to my own drum.
The biggest lie about life is that money and fame will make you happy. It's a nice perk to have, but no one ever tells you what happens after you get the fame and the money and the partner. The fantasy you have created in your head of what that will look like only exists in your head. I've learned that nothing is ever as it seems and that can be both an amazing thing or a disappointment.
Amanda de Cadenet asks : How will you create a better world for women and girls? Hopefully by being a mirror of affirmation for women to empower themselves through inner strength without the need for external validation from others. Informing women that the tools they need to have a fulfilling life does not come from things, but self love and awareness and having the strength to be their authentic selves.
My question for the next woman doing this column would be: Do you lessen who are you are to be loved by men and liked by women, or vice versa?