Case in point: When Willow Smith posted a picture on her Instagram of a tongue ring (which was fake), the Internet exploded. Comments flooded her Instagram, with users insulting her style, her parents, and her upbringing. This isn't the first time Willow has been exposed to this type of vitriol — when she debuted her freshly shorn head, parent blogs went nuts, and for a while now, her red carpet style has been criticized as too aggressive and overly punk.
Fortunately, the irony of celebrating a child's individuality in theory and squashing it in practice has not been lost on the child of Will and Jada. She tells MTV, "Grown ups [have] children and they say you can be whatever you want to be. And then they go on my Instagram and comment, 'How can your parents let you go out looking like that?' Telling me that I can’t do what I want to do. When I’m someone’s child. You’re telling your kid they can be this but telling me I can’t be that."
From the mouths of babes comes an ultimate zinger. First off, Willow is completely right (and surprisingly self-possessed and seemingly level-headed, for her age). We are a society that constantly asks our children to think outside of the box and then feels alarmed when they do so. We praise Hailee Steinfeld for her "age-appropriate" (and as such, refreshingly unique) sense of style and composure, but don't afford Willow the same courtesy, simply because her gender-bending, boundary-pushing, "I Am Me"-style isn't traditional. But given her positive, well-spoken comments on her haters, it's clear that — with or without a tongue piercing — Willow Smith has a solid (shaved) head on her shoulders. And that's a pretty inspiring note to start the weekend on. (MTV)