By Hari Ziyad
16 year old actor/rapper/son of more famous actor/rapper invoked a social media firestorm Thursday when he was spotted in Calabasas, California wearing what appears to be a dress.
He later confessed on Twitter to the stunt with the tweet:
“That Moment When Your Wearing A Dress With No Pants And You Swerve Way To Hard”
That Moment When Your Wearing A Dress With No Pants And You Swerve Way To Hard.
— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) April 9, 2015
The blogs lost their minds:
— Complex (@ComplexMag) April 10, 2015
— Cosmopolitan (@Cosmopolitan) April 10, 2015
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) April 10, 2015
The heads of a few misguided souls collectively exploded:
Seen a pic with Jaden smith wearing a dress ? What kind of gay ass fruit cake shit is that
— Champagnepapi (@BreezyLaundry) April 10, 2015
Yea so jaden smith is gay too huh? Absolutely no excuse for a man to wear a dress…..
— ♍ (@tee_ahh_naa_) April 10, 2015
Jaden Smith look and dress gay af
— LAWAAVVYYBUFF&2⃣❌ (@_Im2Real_) May 15, 2013
But there were plenty who supported the teen star’s daring defiance of gender roles in a very gendered society:
If Jaden Smith wearing a dress offends you, maybe you should consider getting a life. #whothehellcares
— CW (@DarthSideeye) April 10, 2015
TODAY IN GENDER PANIC: BRUCE JENNER INTERVIEW! JADEN SMITH WEARS A DRESS! WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE MGAICALLY GAY MARRIED BY 5PM THE END IS NIGH
— ✨meg ʅʕ•ᴥ•ʔ clark✨ (@meg__clark) April 10, 2015
Don't act like Jaden Smith wearing a dress is worse than any frame of that movie After Earth.
— Chad Opitz (@chadopitz) April 10, 2015
Of course, I’m over here in my 5 dollar oversized sweater from the women’s section of H&M sipping on the tears of patriarchy. If women can wear jeans and t-shirts meant for men and no one bats an eye, men should be able to wear whatever tops and bottoms they want as well. Gender norms and the fear that if everyone does not respect and place masculinity on a pedestal the world will fall apart is just old, tired, and sexist.
And as Jaden pointed out in the post above, women’s clothes are just clothes. Why does a piece of cloth that covers your body need a gender?
Words of wisdom to the men reading this: clothes from the women’s section are cheaper, you’re much less likely to see another guy wearing them, and there is so much more variety! If you have never gotten a top from the women’s section, you’re missing out!
Hari Ziyad is a Brooklyn-based storyteller and the Editor-in-Chief of RaceBaitR. Their work has been featured on Gawker, Out, Ebony, Mic, The Guardian, Colorlines, Paste Magazine, Black Girl Dangerous, Young Colored and Angry, The Feminist Wire and The Each Other Project. They are also an assistant editor for Vinyl Poetry & Prose and contributing writer for Everyday Feminism.