While many celebrities use their star status to support causes like gender equality and LGBT rights, some are even taking it upon themselves to set an example for the public. Recently, Jaden Smith has started instagramming pictures of himself wearing dresses and tweeting things like “That Moment When Your Wearing A Dress With No Pants And You Swerve Way To Hard” and “Went To TopShop To Buy Some Girl Clothes, I Mean Clothes.’” His 2013 clothing line MSFTSrep also includes gender-neutral skirts and tunics.
Smith isn’t the first rapper to say yes to the dress either. In March of 2014, Atlanta rapper Young Thug set the trend by wearing a toddler’s dress over skinny jeans to a photoshoot. Since then A$AP Rocky has performed in a dress and Kanye West and Diddy have both performed in kilts.
Rappers running around in dresses may not seem like pressing news, but the movement is a huge step ahead for the genre and society as a whole. With Smith joining in, the androgyny movement is at its strongest. Smith is essentially reaching out to an audience of young people and telling them it’s okay to break gender norms. No one should have to feel like they can’t wear what they want because of what the tag says.
Progress is being made in the world of LGBT celebrities as well. On April 24, Bruce Jenner is expected to officially come out as transgender in a tell-all interview with Diane Sawyer. Jenner has had a particularly rough time transitioning in the public eye. Originally esteemed as a 1976 decathlon Olympic gold medalist, Jenner has been divorced three times and is a father of six (eight if you count Kylie Jenner’s lips). In January of 2015, In Touch photoshopped Jenner’s head onto a woman’s body and added makeup for their cover story “My Life as a Woman.” While In Touch may be regarded as a trash tabloid this move is still a violation of journalism ethics and is horrifically transphobic. For the love of journalism: LEAVE BRUCE ALONE. The media and the public may be having a hard time grasping the concept of a man who has been known as “straight” for 65 years, but Jenner proves that it’s never too late to come out.
In other transgender news, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have proved the point that it’s never too early to come out either. While promoting Jolie’s movie “Unbroken,” the Jolie-Pitt family walked the red carpet with their oldest biological child, Shiloh, wearing a short haircut with a suit and tie. Although the 8-year-old was born a female, Jolie and Pitt have shown full support in letting Shiloh explore masculinity, and are now letting the child self-identify as male and go by the name John. The Telegraph reported on the family’s statement, using the opportunity to educate parents on how to react to the possibility of their child being trans.
In the article, clinical psychologist Linda Blair advises parents that experimenting with gender can be a common phase for young children, especially those with older siblings. Most importantly, Blair notes that gender experimentation should be embraced, not suppressed. This statement is incredibly relevant to American society today. Young girls experimenting with masculinity are almost always shrugged off as “tom-girls,” and boys who embrace femininity are often shamed into “growing out of it.” If children were allowed to grow up knowing that experimentation is okay, the world would be a far more accepting place.
If Jaden Smith can make male-dresses a trend, Bruce Jenner can transition after 65 years, and the Pitt-Jolie’s can accept their 8-year-old experimenting, you can be whoever and whatever you want. No one should have to live in fear of who they really are and what others think of them. Celebrities may really be just like us after all.
Selene San Felice can be reached at email@example.com
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