Jaden Smith is rocking a skirt and womenswear in the newest Louis Vuitton ad campaign, and people are disturbed. Why? Because people are terrifyingly small minded.
Yes, for some, Jaden’s donning of what we traditionally see as women’s clothing has left them clutching their pearls. This is the end of masculinity as we know it, 2016 is already in shambles, etc. To sum it all up, everybody is being a drama queen over a teenage boy’s outfit.
Is it surprising that people have taken to the Internet to roast Jaden? No, people have been doing it for ages because of his seemingly woke Tweets and, more recently, his tendency to dress in a way that doesn’t conform with our society’s idea of how a young man should dress. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen photos of Jaden wearing a dress or something else decidedly feminine, and it probably won’t be the last. So here’s what I want to know: Who the eff cares? There is literally nothing wrong with Jaden wearing a skirt.
In fact, there’s nothing wrong with men wearing skirts or dresses at all. I know that some might feel the need to cite Scottish men wearing kilts or other traditional clothing as justification for men wearing skirts; but quite frankly, screw that. Kilts aren’t the reason there’s nothing wrong with men wearing skirts. There’s nothing wrong with men wearing skirts because skirts are an inoffensive piece of fabric. That’s all a skirt is, despite being associated with women’s clothing.
I find men’s objections to wearing skirts both funny and grim. Ask your average guy friend to try on a skirt behind closed doors for two seconds. Then, watch them aggressively deny your request, worried that their masculinity will be in jeopardy, that they’ll be seen as “gay” (as if that’s the worst thing on the planet), that they’ll look ridiculous. Yes, even the most seemingly progressive dudes or self-proclaimed “male feminists” will fall into this trap of fearing that they aren’t being man enough. Is anything associated with femininity really that tainted?
Think about it. It’s far more acceptable for women to rock what we traditionally view as menswear than the other way around. Sure, in the ’50s girls had to fight with school boards just to be allowed to wear pants to class, but now? Pants are a staple in all of our wardrobes. We applaud awesome female celebrities like Janelle Monae who incorporate menswear and tuxedos into their signature looks. We’ve embraced the androgynous aesthetic in the most basic way: it can be cool for cis-gender women to embrace men’s fashion, but the other way around? That’s suddenly a problem.
I understand that men have been socialized to constantly be aware of how they’re asserting their masculinity. One wrong move and they’re subject to all sorts of petty harassment. And as much as other men perpetuate this toxic masculinity, women can often be part of the problem, too. When it comes to Jaden, it wasn’t just men who expressed their disgust; women joined in as well. But instead of succumbing to that kind of socialization, why not fight it?
If you find yourself having a negative reaction to a man in a skirt or dress, ask yourself why. Why is a man dressing that way really so bad? Why should you care? Who decided that a piece of clothing must be divided by the genders?
Oh, and let’s just get this out of the way: men wearing women’s clothing doesn’t inherently have anything to do with sexual orientation. Hell, Kurt Cobain wore dresses sometimes and as far as we know the man was straight. So why did he wear dresses? Because he liked them. Wow! That’s eerily close to the same reason why literally any woman who wears a dress wears them. Hmmm, it’s almost as if…people wear things because they want to. Shocking. And even if wearing dresses did have a connection to one’s sexuality, who cares? Who. Cares?
Jaden Smith could like skirts and happen to be gay. Jaden Smith could like skirts and happen to be straight. At the end of the day, Jaden Snith enjoys wearing skirts every now and then just like billions of other people on the planet, and somehow that has folks up in arms. I hate to be THAT person, but…there are people out there who are starving. There are literally countless other things that are more important than what Jaden is wearing, but people will take any opportunity to reinforce the apparent importance of sticking to rigid gender roles.
I’ll admit, I would probably do a double take if I saw a guy walking down the street in a skirt or dress because it’s not something that I’m used to seeing all that much. But the unfamiliar isn’t necessarily wrong, and that’s a really important point that needs to be emphasized. Besides, I live in New York City. A man wearing a dress is one of the least shocking things I can come across on an average day.
In conclusion, props to Jaden for shamelessly wearing “women’s clothing” out and about and anyone who thinks that we should all stick to wearing the clothes that society tells us are meant for our gender need to get a clue. At the end of the day, it’s all just fabric that we put on our bodies to express ourselves. As long as nobody is getting hurt then why should anyone get all up in arms?
Besides, skirts are super comfortable, so maybe Jaden will help more dudes see the light.