Free gender expression is the future

Kathryn Yslas
Mesa Legend

Katie YslasMen can wear dresses too.  What we wear, what we do and how we act is not defined by what is between our legs.  This is the future.  And it all begins with dudes in skirts. Last week, it was announced that Jaden Smith, the son of actor Will Smith, will be the face of Louis Vuitton’s newest line of women’s clothing.  Striking photos of Jaden in a Louis Vuitton newest couture skirt have shocked the Internet, leaving many horrified and disgusted.  However, there are those, myself included, that believe that this an important step in the right direction, the one that leads to a better understanding between sexes, and ultimately, complete gender equality.

Some have hailed Jaden’s actions as an “attack on masculinity” and in part, that is true, but it is an attack on the more harmful aspects of what it means to be “masculine”, that being the need to look down upon feminine attire, interests and in turn, women themselves. The phrase “like a girl” is synonymous with weakness and thus, the girls in question are thought of as less.  And when you think of someone or someone’s way of life as inferior to your own, it becomes all too easy to think of them as less than human. It is this lack of respect and understanding that leads to heinous acts such as assault and rape. Assailants think of their victims as “just women”, with heads full of “girly things” and not as people, with complex lives, thoughts and desires.

Gender is, and always has been, a purely mental construct. The expectations put in place for how either sex should act, dress or the interests they are permitted to have are all of our own creation. Jaden wearing a skirt for all the world to see is not a call for a destruction of “manliness,” but merely a clear statement that men have a choice in how they decide to express themselves.  And who knows, walk a mile in our heels and maybe men will realize we’re not so different after all.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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