Many people are extremely uncomfortable with rappers breaking out of our society’s gender boundaries. As of late, there has been endless ridicule and homophobic jokes over Kanye West wearing a pleated leather skirt at the Hurricane Sandy concert and A$AP Rocky appearing on 106 and Park in a “dress.”
Fellow artists got in on the fun during the Sandy concert, with rapper Cam’ron taking to Twitter to say that he’d block any followers who liked the fact that West wore a skirt, and Chris Brown tweeting, “Niggas gone be wearing heels next.”
Close-minded attitudes often come when people are unprepared for social norms to be defied. People just aren’t ready.
To the contrary, I love the fact that West wore a skirt. Though it was clearly a fashion don’t, the symbolism in his skirt-wearing act speaks volumes. It shows that he dares to use fashion to defy gender roles.
By wearing this skirt, he is showing the public that gender is nothing but a social construct. No one has to abide by the rules that society upholds. If a man wants to wear a skirt, what’s the harm in wearing a skirt? It does not mean that he is any less manly than the man next to him.
As a heterosexual male, West goes against social as well as sexist norms and for that, I applaud him. “I just like the silhouette,” he said, speaking about the leather skirt. “I think
it’s really modern.”
A$AP also defended his choice, recently telling MTV, “If fashion is your life and that’s what you like and that’s what you’re about, express yourself, wear what you want and nothing matters, nobody else opinions matter.”
“Be the person that starts the trend,” he continued. “You’re gonna have times where people, they gonna try to joke on you, they’re gonna try to play you and all that, that just comes with life. You gotta keep it striving’ and always know that if they’re talkin’ you doin’ somethin’ right.”
To West, good fashion is good fashion, whether it’s for male or female. He took this so-called female garment, and wore it to his liking; kudos to him for a having a mind beyond common ideals. This is where his creativity stems.
No wonder people like his music. He is brilliant even when people think he is not.