Jada Pinkett-Smith is aware of the critics that frown up their noses at the way she raises her daughter, Willow. Willow cuts, dyes and styles her hair as she pleases, a fact that bothers many who feel girls shouldn’t have that much control over their appearance at such a young age.

Jada decided to address the criticism in a Facebook post:

“A letter to a friend…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.”

While you may or may not agree with her choice to give Willow sartorial freedom, Jada’s point about girls being a slave to their mother’s deepest insecurities rings true.

I’ve heard mothers who have struggled with weight loss say they’re going to make sure their daughters don’t gain any excess pounds. There are even mothers who always yearned for long hair who refuse to let their daughters cut their’s.

Of course, both mothers and fathers could be guilty of influencing their children based on their insecurities — and the influence is not all bad. But Jada may have made a case for letting children have some degree of authority over their own look and style.

What are your thoughts, Clutchettes? Do you agree with Jada?

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40 Comments

  1. bluefacedangel

    I support Jada 100%. When my own daughter wanted to dye her hair pink I said no. In a very respectful way she challenged if I really had something against pink hair, or was I saying “no” because that’s what MY mother would say. She was right. I realized that she is a 15 year old “A” and “B” student. She’s not looking for a job. THIS is exactly the time in her life she could have pink hair without repercussions. I let her dye it, and it was adorable.

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  2. Perspective

    I agree with Jada – However, I do worry about those who seek to be PROVOCATIVE FOR THE SAKE OF BEING PROVOCATIVE – only to get bent out of shame when others (namely men) do not find it appealing. When you are underage and you shave the sides of your head off and dye your hair pink (BEFORE) the era of boys – AND – you are the daughter of celebrities. Rock On!

    Have fun, do what you want.

    But in the real world – we all know that stuff doesn’t fly. I don’t know many people with money and are successful who aren’t in entertainment who look like Dennis Rodman

    I have come across women who want to promote their individuality, feminism, and climb to the top of a tree and proclaim, “I’M FREE!”

    “Free your ass away from me, because I like a girl that looks like X, Y, or Z,” and then they have the nerve to get pissed off as if I don’t have the RIGHT to have a preference or disqualify a woman based on my own standards.

    You can’t force people to ACCEPT what you are on – even if you feel that THEY are only conforming to the status quo. Its their perogative to be conservative while its your perogative to be RADICAL AND PROVOCATIVE – let and let live. Don’t get angry because they reject you.

    If they accepted you, you wouldn’t be as RADICAL as you think. There wouldn’t even be a word for RADICAL – at that point.

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    • Courtney**

      Goddamn dude. Does EVERY post you make have to be a referendum on the evils of feminism and your grievances against “independent women?”

      Topic at hand: Jada Pinkett-Smith advising that she lets her daughter have autonomy over her body and her being because of VERY REAL cultural pressures, messages, and influences that tell females – and FEMALES ONLY – that they must always be accomodating to others’ preferences and strive to make everyone around them comfortable, even at the expense of their own individuality and personal expression.

      General example: random men telling random women and girls on the street to “smile.”

      Random personal anecdote: the last time I saw my step-grandma a few months ago, she was sure to ask if I’m seeing anyone and made sure to tell me that I always need to “behave in a ladylike fashion.”

      Your response: “yeah yeah yeah, but WOMEN ALWAYS SAY THEY WANT INDEPENDENCE AND BLAH BLAH BLAH (…tired same old monologue you make on almost every post).”

      You’re like a white guy who comments on race-based blogs and whines about white oppression/reverse racism/affirmative action instead of actually caring about whatever might being discuss, shutting your damn mouth and opening your damn ears. I can almost predict with 100% accuracy what comments you’ll have to make about any given topic because you always beat the same damn horse. Do you actually care about black women? Do you actually RECOGNIZE and RESPECT the unique ways in which the world views us, and the resulting obstacles we have to face? Or do you just want to make sure that we realize that the concept of “independent black women” is moronic, feminism is the root of all evil and we’re wrong about almost everything? Because I think by now, WE GET IT.

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  3. Jessica

    Growing up, my mom was severely overweight. She was suffering from undiagnosed PCOS and weight loss was impossible. She projected her feelings on me. Always nitpicking me about my appearance, my food choices and my exercise schedule. Even though I was a healthy, active and beautiful , I was convinced that I was overweight and hideous. I went from 5’6 at 145 lbs, down to 115 (thanks to anorexia) , then ballooned up to 245 When I developed PCOS.

    I know (now) that she didn’t mean to hurt me. She was unaware of what she was doing and like most women trying protect me from her hell. I feel like Mrs. Smith is doing the right thing. As long as her daughter is smart, well behaved and healthy, I don’t see why she can’t do whatever she wants to her hair.

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  4. Angelica

    I was never a huge fan of Jada. Not for any particular reason, I just didnt get it. But I will say that her quote in this article is fantastic. I have no children, too young to have children for myself, and this is one philosophy that I’ve believed in for years, as a feminist, and I know will be a part of raising my future daughters (if I have any). I love seeing real women actually believing in and practicing this kind of philosophy concerning gender and beauty. It’s very encouraging and inspiring and for someone as high profile and in the public eye as Jada to stand for this speaks volumes about her in this respect, in my opinion. And the way she articulated this is pretty fucking awesome.

    Love it.

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