Interview: Meet the Insta-Teen Giving the Finger to Gender Norms

I recently had the privilege of getting to interview the 18-year-old, petal-covered enigma that is Luke Smith (@lukevsmith), covering everything from photogenic feet to gender roles & spandex. Currently boasting over 27 thousand followers, this is one Insta-teen you want to know about. Have a read:

PANSY: The first thing I need to say is that your Instagram is flawless, a literal H to T #Pansy paradise. Now, fangirling aside, do you have a name for what you do?

Luke: If I’m honest I am so completely open to just let people call it what they wish. I don’t really have a name for what I do as I don't like categorising myself. All I know is that I enjoy Instagram and it has become the main outlet for me to express and create my imagery. Not too sure what I would be doing right now if it didn’t exist... Maybe printing off pictures of my photogenic feet and sticking them up around my town for people to admire? I think so.

PANSY: Where in this universe do you draw your inspiration from?

Luke: My imagery is often inspired by my emotions which bring out different types of inspiration and ideas from within me and I just go with it, whether that is a sexual feeling or something aggressive. You will see throughout my account I will probably incorporate a colour that will contrast with the previous image or even be strikingly different depending on my thought process that day. Recently though I have been admiring flowers and their beauty, so when it comes to creating or styling I look at one and think, "How can I incorporate and transform you into a cute look?"

PANSY: How has the response been from the internet community?

Luke: Quite unbelievably astonishing! Honestly I never expected to have this much support behind my work / Instagram. People might not necessarily understand my artistry, but I must remind them that it isn’t to be taken too seriously. I love to have fun with it while also trying to incorporate colour and vibrance. Most images are there to cause controversy and create conversation as I love to hear the response of both positive and negative views, but the fact people still indulge and support I really appreciate.

PANSY: While its all very pretty & pink, one cannot forget the politics around accounts like yours. What are your thoughts on the word masculinity?

Luke: Performances of gender are extremely dictated in the society we live in, this upsets me as we are STILL expected to act either ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ depending on our sex. For me I feel everyone should freely express both masculine and feminine qualities, meaning if I was to wear a ‘women’s’ blouse and a full face of ‘women’s’ makeup I would god damn make it werkkkk with a full beat if that’s how I wanted to portray myself that day, and while doing so I can still feel masculine. Masculinity is not just about appearance it is a feeling, a state of being. I really don't agree that to be a real man you have to put on this tough guy persona, I see this to be completely false and untrue. I guess what I’m trying to vocalise without going into a full on essay is that you shouldn’t assume ‘masculine’ behaviour is acted only by men and ‘feminine’ behaviour by only women. As people pass me I'll hear, “Is that a boy or girl?” aimed towards me, where most boys might take offence I take it as a compliment. I will never be sorry for not conforming to social mainstream ideals. Boys can be feminine too! Boys can like pink too! Boys can be emotional too! Boys can express themselves too!

PANSY: I know it's sinister, but just hypothetically, if you had a son would you let him wear a skin tight, rainbow-coloured, spandex body suit covered in little pictures of Marilyn Monroe?

Luke: Personally if I was to ever have a son I would let them parade around in whatever they wanted whether that be a tutu or a bikini and I would make sure that they never feel uncomfortable or ashamed. I really think we need to break out of normality and raise boys and girls the same instead of saying, “Oh no you can’t play with that, it’s for girls." It’s crazy that we still live in a society that dictates what clothes we’re allowed to put on our bodies based on the genitals we are born with, it is fucking 2016 we really need to eliminate gender roles.

PANSY: What are some of your least favourite things?

Luke: Flakey ass friendships. When the wind blows a gap in my fringe. Small minded people.People with no manners. BYyeee !! Mondays.

PANSY: What is the message you want to send out to the little boys & girls of the world?

Luke: Be yourself and please do not change or pretend to be someone you’re not just to make someone else happy.