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Teen actor-rapper Jaden Smith's gender flexibile fashion made waves on social media last week, sparking heated conversation about gender expectations and gathering tens of thousands of "likes" from fans.
The 16-year-old son of actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith first took to Instagram with a picture of himself in a white-and-black striped dress on Tuesday, accompanying the selfie with the gender norm-defying comment, "Went to TopShop to Buy Some Girl Clothes, I Mean 'Clothes.'"
On Thursday, Smith tweeted, "That Moment When Your Wearing a Dress With No Pants and You Swerve Way Too Hard." U.K. tabloid Daily Mail snapped pictures of the smiling teen walking around Calabas, Calif., in a black sweater dress later that day.
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) April 10, 2015
That Moment When Your Wearing A Dress With No Pants And You Swerve Way To Hard.
— Jaden Smith (@officialjaden) April 9, 2015
This week is not the first time Smith has lit up social media with his unique fashion choices. In May, the teen wore an all-white Batman costume to a Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's wedding, and has consistently defied the status quo with his more colorful ensembles, telling Billboard in March, "If somebody is just wearing something for the blogs, that's really sad because they're not living for themselves ... I really look to see, do you care more about what other people think, or are you having fun?"
Despite his carefree style, the online response to Smith's dress-wearing has seen a segment of social media commenters becoming particularly homophobic and transphobic, as social justice site RaceBaitR pointed out. Meanwhile, entertainment blogs from Cosmo to People and hundreds of fans alike have been louder in praising Smith for not paying attention his haters and making his thoughts heard.
Aemilia Madden of pop culture site PopSugar captured the sentiment simply, saying on Friday, "While we've spotted the young actor in tunics and dress-like styles before, seeing his commentary is a refreshing new twist. It's inspiring to see the young style setting challenging gender norms and wearing exaclty what makes him comfortable."