By Leila Brillson, Refinery29
For some reason, people just love talking about Willow Smith's hair - and not just about her "whipping it back and forth." The preteen has a no-holds-barred approach to fashion, wearing combat boots, animal prints galore, and more spikes and studs than Lady Gaga. Yet, while her sartorial sense is remarked upon by the fashion set, it is the girl's coiff that receives constant scrutiny: When she shaved her head earlier this year, fans were shocked, and media commented that it was "too much, too soon."
The criticisms all had the same undertone, with observers weighing in that Willow's extreme 'do doesn't allow her to look like a young woman. (One commenter sums up their misgivings by saying: "Thank goodness my kids just want to play and ride up and down the street on their bikes with their friends. No stress or worries. Too much, too young in celeb land. She just looks like her dad, what little girl wants to look like a boy?")
This summer, Willow took to Instagram to respond to the harsh criticisms regarding her personal choices. But apparently the criticism has prompted mom, Jada, to step in, explaining why she would "let" young Willow cut her most feminine (at age 12) trait off. In our opinion, her response kind of rules:
"This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete.
The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It's also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother's deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be. More to come. Another day."
Anyone else tear up and then shout "hell, yeah!" after reading that? For a young woman, hair is a powerful tool of communication. But it is also something impermanent, temporary, and growing. Luckily, both Jada (and her savvy daughter) seem to realize that, and don't judge a woman's worth by her outward appearance. Let's hope more moms and daughters can adopt this same healthy and downright awesome outlook.
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By Leila Brillson, Refinery29