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Jaden Smith's skirt is the latest chapter in the history of gendered clothing.

Seen wearing a skirt in Louis Vuitton's latest collection, Smith defies gender expectations.

The idea that certain clothes are meant for certain genders has a really weird (and arbitrary) history.

Some may say skirts are for girls or argue that certain colors go with certain genders, but throughout history, both of those points (style and color) have switched back and forth without much reason. Pink is for girls? Or is it blue? Or is white for all babies? What about boys? History has seen it all.

Take, for example, this picture of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as an adorable 3-year-old in 1885. The man who would go on to become the 32nd president of the United States had long hair and wore a dress, common for children of his era.


Say hello to FDR. Photo by Three Lions/Getty Images.

Or consider this note from a 1918 issue of Ladies Home Journal, which stressed that blue was for girls and pink was for boys, opposite of what we consider to be true in today's world:

"The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl."

One reason clothing became gendered in the first place was to differentiate and reinforce gender norms.

Girls would wear different styles and colors than boys so they could be easily distinguished from each other. This affected how society treated them, how they were taught in school, and how they were raised.

Decidedly gendered clothing also came from a fear that if boys and girls weren't raised in distinct, separate ways, they'd turn out to be gay or lesbian (which we now know is not the case).

“It’s really a story of what happened to neutral clothing,” author and historian Jo B. Paoletti responded to a question from Smithsonian magazine about the shift to the present-day thinking that boys wear blue, girls wear pink. “What was once a matter of practicality — you dress your baby in white dresses and diapers; white cotton can be bleached — became a matter of ‘Oh my God, if I dress my baby in the wrong thing, they’ll grow up perverted."

But there's hope we can end this trend of gendered clothing. And it's getting mainstream attention thanks to Jaden Smith.

The actor and son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith has been pretty open about the fact that he wears skirts and dresses. So when he was named as one of the faces of Louis Vuitton's spring 2016 womenswear collection, it didn't exactly come as a shock.

In an image posted over the weekend to Instagram by Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, Smith is shown alongside models Sarah Brannon, Rianne Van Rompaey, and Jean Campbell. In it, he's wearing what looks to be a leather jacket, a knit top, and, yes, a skirt.


Smith's clothing choices are a form of self-expression — which is all clothing should be.

"I’m just expressing how I feel inside, which is really no particular way because everyday it changes how I feel about the world and myself," Smith told GQ last year about his style choices. "But I like wearing super drapey things so I can feel as though I’m a super hero, but don’t have to necessarily wear super hero costumes everyday."

To Smith, gender doesn't factor into his clothing choices. His clothes aren't "girl's clothes," they're his clothes. He's pushing back at stereotypes we've had pushed on us for decades, bringing fashion back to what it should be: a reflection of how you feel and not necessarily a statement of one's gender.

His clothing isn't a referendum on his gender; it just means he has an individual sense of style that, yes, includes the occasional dress, skirt, or Batman ensemble.


Congratulations and thanks are in order for Smith. His openness with his self-expression will surely help others.

Right now, somewhere in the world, there is a girl worrying that she can't wear something stereotypically masculine because it's "for boys," or there's a boy worried that the fact his favorite color is pink makes him broken in some way. These types of stereotypes hurt us all, but especially children, who wind up feeling as if they're wrong for not fitting into a predetermined and inconsistent box set by society.

People like Jaden Smith — who stay true to their interests despite society's expectations — will make the world a less judgmental place for those kids who don't fit in the box.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

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Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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