If you’ve been paying attention to pop culture lately, you’ll know that Willow Smith (daughter of Will Smith if you want some familiarity) was/is being attacked for her personal style, especially now that she’s shaved her head and dresses in non-traditional clothing that isn’t seen on Elle Fanning or Hailee Steinfeld, two of Hollywood’s better received stars (even though they’re actors and Willow is a singer.) Her new video, “I Am Me,” has definitely caused a stir among everyone, from parenting blogs (ew) to regular people (ew). Some have said homophobic, misogynistic, racist, and just downright ridiculous bullshit not only about Willow, but about how her family “brought her up,” which I almost find even more ridiculous. She isn’t a serial killer. She is a person expressing herself the way she wants to.
“We let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like how can you teach her that you’re in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that it is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives”–Will Smith on why he let Willow cut her hair, in response to all the things people were saying to criticize him.
I think the significance of what he said is a really great thing. In case you didn’t notice, women are often sexualized and objectified in the media on a daily basis. One of the signs of such behavior is people telling them to do this or do that (Jessica Simpson needs to lose weight, x celebrity shouldn’t wear purple, Willow Smith shouldn’t cut her hair) and he’s responding to it. Not directly of course, but that’s the gist of it because that’s what she got after she got a freaking haircut and wore clothes she liked. I find it ridiculous that people care so much about other people’s choices. She isn’t being self destructive or stealing or anything immoral or unethical. She’s simply doing what she wants, but I guess because she doesn’t really fit the mainstream media’s idea of beauty, people will continue to say awful things. And that’s disgusting.
Her latest video, “I Am Me,” is amazing. The quotation that everyone jumped on (whether to criticize it or to adore it) is “your validation is just not that important to me.” Yes, that’s right. Willow Smith does not give a shit if you think her hair is weird or that she isn’t doing things “properly.” So wasting your time being gross and judgmental is probably not going to get you anywhere.