Joseph Gordon-Levitt challenging the status quo, again and again!

At this point it has already gone viral – and rightfully so! If you haven’t already please check out Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s lip syncing routine of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation“!From a perfectly executed choreographed dance routine inspired by Janet’s original video, to a full blown face of makeup and ponytail – he went all out! On his Facebook page, JGL explains how much effort exactly he put into his performance:

“First thing I did after deciding to do Rhythm Nation was email my ol’ friend Jenna Dewan Tatum. She danced on stage with Janet herself, did this song every night on tour. She hooked me up with two friends of hers, Alison Faulk and Teresa Espinosa, who were both dancers on that same tour. They were awesome teachers. They even got in touch with the music video’s original choreographer, Anthony Thomas, who came over, polished my moves, and told me all about the intended spirit of The Nation. It was really a better prep processes than I probably deserved. Huge thanks to all! Oh yeah, and go see THE NIGHT BEFORE!”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lyp-sync battle

JGL goes “full Janet” for lip syncing battle.

Part from the performance being an amazing homage to the original Rhythm Nation, and JGL never breaking character, what I love most about it is his healthy promotion of masculinity. JGL has always been one of my favorite celebrities for this reason. While he himself identifies as heterosexual (because that’s a question we clearly need to continue asking) he has always willingly and openly shared his support for the gay community – while also noting how insulting it is to gay and straight people to continue asking.

Additionally, he strongly identifies as a feminist, something he attributes to his mother and is in turn able to embrace his femininity without the fear of his masculinity cracking.

“However you want to define yourself, you can do that and should be able to do that, and no category ever really describes a person because every person is unique. That, to me, is what “feminism” means. So yes, I’d absolutely call myself a feminist.” – Joseph Gordon-Levitt, On being a Feminist

JGL ain’t afraid to claim ‘fangirl’ status.


Notables like Sean Penn in the movie Milk, Kurt Cobain in his dresses, and Seth Rogen & James Franco in general, are all rare examples of men in the spotlight who repeatedly express and endorse themselves while maintaining a healthy form masculinity. But then you have to ask yourself;

Why is it that healthy masculinity seems to be a rare thing?

Why is it when stars like Joseph Gordon-Levitt do something not traditionally masculine we feel the need to question their orientation? (As if his orientation would define just what kind of man he is anyway)

Why is it such a breath of fresh air to hear an artist not change the pronouns in a song cover (as Kings of Leon did for Robyn’s, Dancing on my own – I’m not the girl you’re taking home”) – because heaven forbid someone think a man was singing about another man.

Why is it not socially acceptable for a guy to show affection to another guy, without ending with a “not in a gay way”?

And ask yourself really… who actually benefits from the need to deny parts of yourself, emotions, forms of expression, to live up to some unrealistic standard?

Our local community is not exempt from this. This summer, when I bought pink shorts and my “feminine” partner, Hannah cut her hair short it became confusing for others. People felt the need to ask us all sorts of ridiculous questions. Straight people wanted to know “who was the man?” and gay people suddenly commented on how much  Hannah and I were dressing alike (even though we had always dressed alike).

Who was more masculine?

Why was it such a statement for me to wear pink shorts?

And why does length of hair, colour of clothing or beauty products, or even pronouns define what is or isn’t masculine?

I’ll have to think on this one a little more and get back to you. But until then, if you haven’t seen Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s performance yet, you can take a look here:

Be kind to your beautiful selves,

Steph Jael



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