This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Anoushka Agrawal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

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

More from Anoushka Agrawal

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.

You must be to comment.

More from Anoushka Agrawal

Similar Posts

By Aditya Jaiswal

By Nupur J

By Shareerspeak

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below