I’m sure by now all of you have seen the new Louis Vuitton Womenswear campaign featuring rapper/actor Jaden Smith as the face of their SS ’16 collection. The photos have invoked discussions among all; from young to old, black and white and men and women alike. Jaden is about as eccentric as they come and might rival only Young Thug and Lil B as current rappers who constantly make bold decisions as it pertains to fashion. We’ve previously seen him wearing a flower crown made of roses at last year’s edition of Coachella as well as layering with dresses and wearing skirts on multiple occasions. His choice of clothing challenges what society believes a man should dress and act like. Let’s not act like this is the first time cross-dressing has occurred in the mainstream though. Prince did it, a 1970’s androgynous David Bowie did it and Steven Tyler has done it his entire musical career. Many might not know what to make of it, but I urge you, the reader, to take a step back and really try to delve into the mind of this free-spirited 17 year old. I am not asking you to condone or support his stance and choice of clothing, as you are allowed to form your own opinion, but simply try to understand.
As someone who is currently majoring in Psychology, how about we look at this from a psychological point of view? We as humans have to stop looking at gender as a purely black and white, binary concept. The reason being is simply because the concept of gender itself has variation. Not every man is the same and not every woman is the same; this should be common sense. Rather than seeing gender as this or that, we must think of gender as a spectrum. While you have male on one side and female on the other, there’s a large amount of space in the middle. A man or woman, through DNA/environmental factors/social factors and things of the like can fall literally anywhere on the spectrum, without it being any of their doing. For instance, the further to the right a man is, he might display slight femininity, androgynous behavior, all while still being a man. Keep in mind, this is gender and it has nothing to do with sex, words that the western world mistakenly use interchangeably. Disregard any personal beliefs you may have and try to comprehend from a logical perspective.
Let’s also try to be mature about this entire thing. A man who wears women’s clothing does not make him gay, no matter how much society and the media wants you to believe it does. This goes back to gender, sex, sexual identity and our constant misuse of all three terms. For Jaden, a guy who has been wearing women’s clothes for a while, is straight and has a girlfriend, Sarah Snyder, so let’s not even get into that.
In today’s world of hypervisibility, we are constantly individualized by the way we look. For celebrities like Jaden, this is no exception. But what I will say is that what Jaden is doing embodies the punk attitude in all its glory. Punk is challenging social norms. Punk is refuting what is given to you at face value and asking “why not?” Punk is totally disregarding trends and instead, dabbling in areas that might be deemed taboo. None of us know Jaden personally, but by all accounts he seems to be one of the more open-minded and self-aware celebrity teens in recent memory. It is also possible that this isn’t even an elaborate ruse to get people talking. Have you ever thought that Jaden Smith honestly does not give a fuck what people think and just wears what he wants to wear? If that’s the case, then why should we care so much? The day we as a society stop judging things we don’t understand will be the day we take one gigantic step in bettering mankind.