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How 17-Year-Old Jaden Smith Is Smashing Gender Norms (With His Clothes)

Posted on May 30, 2016 in Culture-Vulture, Taboos

By Anoushka Agrawal:

Jaden Smith In Louis Vuitton AdWe live in a world in which things are constantly happening. Revolutionary technology and education are granting opportunities to people like never before. Ideas and norms are ever changing, and new social barriers are being broken every day. We live in a world that is deemed to be ‘progressive’; in which every individual has a voice. Today, every person is able to form a new identity for his or her own self whether it relates to sexuality, occupation, ambitions – just choices, in general. You could say that society has become more ‘accepting.’ Yet, there is still one form of identity that has remained fairly unchanging, because society refuses to accept any modifications made around it – the identity of clothing, the idea of fashion.

There have been so many instances wherein I have walked into an expensive clothing store of a respectable brand, have liked and even tried on a particular piece of clothing, only to put it back thinking, “I can’t wear this outside; people will think I can’t afford clothes.” At other times, I have been mistaken as the help in the elevator of my own residential building – one that is supposed to be inhabited by educated, ‘progressive’ men and women, because I was dressed in traditional Indian clothing after returning from dance practice. There have been times when I wanted to wear ripped shorts and a tank top for a dinner with my parents and their friends, but I could not get myself to, because, “What would people think of me?” The amount of time each of us spends on clothes – either buying them or choosing what to wear when is appalling and yet seemingly so essential. Some conventions have to be adhered to when it comes to fashion; however creative a field it might be. Although women have adopted the tuxedo and coat style, fashion criteria still appear to be fairly rigid for men. Skirts go in the women’s section; ties go in the men’s section. Dresses are supposed to be worn only by women; suits are supposed to be worn only by men. However, Jaden Smith does not seem to think so.

I think we all remember Jaden Smith either as the adorable kid in ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, or the scrawny teenager from ‘The Karate Kid.’ Today, Smith identifies himself as a ‘misfit.’ His aim is to break all norms that he considers ridiculous and meaningless. He has crossed the point of caring about what people say or think of him and is looking for opportunities to change the world. Jaden Smith is definitely the 17-year-old you should be looking out for, and here’s why.

A recent Louis Vuitton campaign features Jaden Smith with three beautiful female models. That’s the regular picture, right? Sure, but the only difference is that here, Smith isn’t advertising men’s clothing. He’s advertising women’s clothing.

Louis Vuitton’s ‘Series 4’ Spring-Summer 2016 collection, titled, ‘The Heroine,’ features him wearing embroidered tops and leather jackets straight out of the women’s section and, of course, fluid, beautiful skirts. This obviously seems strange to someone from a society in which men wearing ‘women’s’ clothing is considered to be not just amusing but also moronic and unbelievable. But when you look at the pictures of Jaden Smith posing as a part of this campaign, you find that you’re not close to as surprised as you thought you would be. He wears the clothes with so much ease; they’re a perfect fit and look incredible on him. Seeing him flaunting clothes that are considered to be feminine, makes you question why fashion is categorised based on gender in the first place. Sure, there have been so many men who have spoken out about not being able to wear certain items of clothing because people immediately assume they’re either gay or transgender or even just ‘girly.’ The difference between those men and Jaden Smith? He actually went out and did it.

The reason Smith gave for doing this campaign is that he wants people to ‘stop being scared.’ I think, by doing just that, he managed to be the voice of hundreds of people who want to break away and be different without it being unusual. And that’s what makes him particularly phenomenal.