I guess that’s why it’s called ‘controversy’- not everyone agrees. The controversy I’m referring to is Willow Smith’s nipple shirt. This isn’t about the “Free the Nipple” movement. I don’t think it’s appropriate attire for a 14-year-old child. Others believe I’m going overboard because it’s just a shirt. I feel, however, that It removes boundaries and sets them up to be victimized. I disagree and the word “just” makes it sound innocent enough. It “just” doesn’t work for kids as well as it does for adults. I’m not saying this leads to bad behavior or that Willow is a bad kid. Willow is a rich, sheltered child who can afford to be expressive. That doesn’t hold true for the average American kid. We live in a society that complains about out-of-control kids and yet we’re afraid to set boundaries. In fact, we continue to remove them in the name of “freedom of expression”. “Just”… There’s just something about that word:
- Just a joint, until you get hooked on crack or meth- between ages 16-25 I’ve had guys tell me “do just one line of coke for me”. Just one. Just…
- Just sex, until you get pregnant
- They’re “just” boys – until the behavior escalates
- It’s “just” a conversation (or kiss, or hug) with that married person, until they have that affair
- Just one more drink, until you wreck the car
- Why not add: Just 4 killed/18 wounded over the weekend in Chicago. As opposed to 82 shot, 14 killed last July
- He’s just a child and it’s just a dollar he took. Give him a break, mom/dad. It could be worse.
My son wanted “just” a tattoo, a cell phone, a pager, a TV/VCR in his room, and pierced ears when he was 13. I told him when he turned 18 he could have as many tats as he wanted. He’s 32 and doesn’t have any tattoos (though he did get his ears pierced :-)! His priorities shifted as an adult and he didn’t think about tattoos anymore. I have nothing against those things. I didn’t feel that a black male teen in Chicago had a reason to have tattoos, pagers, and cell phones in the early 90s. And, I was right.
Is it possible that “just” opens the door to something “more”? Is it just a scratch that’ll heal, or one that will fester and require antibiotics? Is it just a scratch in the paint that’ll buff out, or is it one that will cost five hundred dollars to remove? Yes, I’m an “over thinker”. I’m the person who studies heavy traffic ½ mile down the road to determine my next lane change or whether or not I should exit. What seems “innocent” to some can actually be of potential harm to others.
I didn’t raise a girl but I’m 100% sure if I did she wouldn’t possess that particular shirt. There are so many ways to raise a girl and teach her to love her body and to empower her sexuality. At 14, this is not the way to encourage it because let’s face it, it invites the wrong kind of attention. In her mind she’s expressing liberation and freedom (I guess). But that is not what a pedophile will see when they see a child walking down the street wearing that shirt. Grown women are being followed, harassed, and attacked for deflecting unwanted attention. It’s not just a shirt–it’s a slippery slope.
So as far as “just” goes, there are reasonable ones and questionable ones. I feel that Willow’s nipple shirt falls into the latter. Just… In retrospect, maybe I should’ve tried just one line of coke to find out why everyone else was so fascinated. Just one.
I’m “just” saying, this is just my opinion…