Wednesday, November 3, 2010

wmh (Whipping My Hair)

(Now Playing: "Whip My Hair" -- Willow Smith)

I'll be honest.  When I first heard that Willow Smith came out with this song, I was skeptical.  I didn't know what would happen when I pushed play.

What happened was actually pretty amazing.  This song made me want to get up and dance.  And it made me wonder what I was doing with my life--I mean, this girl is 10 and she's already a huge hit; when I was 10 my mom was doing my hair, and I certainly wasn't whipping it back and forth afterward...I was playing with Pokemon cards and American Girl dolls.

Of course, with every new sensation, there's criticism.  Take for example this article from my school's newspaper.  The writer's rather blunt opinion is that a woman's hair is "one of the most obvious signifiers of female sexuality," and that by flaunting it in this song, Willow Smith is "introduced into the world as a sexual object, as a mini-adult."  When Smith sings "I whip it real hard" in the song, the writer of the article says, "the post-pubescent listener certainly isn't thinking about the singer's tresses."

First of all, as a post-pubescent listener, all I was thinking was that Willow was positively killing this song.  I hate that the writer of this article automatically assumed that I or any other listener would analyze (or maybe sexualize) the song or the music video like that.  I feel that this is a fun song with an underlying message of confidence and empowerment for young girls.  God knows girls her age--and shoot, my age too--need to hear that they're beautiful, that they shouldn't worry about what others think of them.  If you try to learn that later in life, it's so hard to get rid of the poison that bullies, the media, and other "haters" feed you.  Believe me, I know.

We've had quite a few examples of introduction into "mini-adulthood" in entertainment.  Take JoJo, for instance. While I love her song "Leave (Get Out)," let's be real.  She was what, 14 when this song came out?  14, and she was already singing about her boyfriend cheating on her?  That made me raise an eyebrow, definitely.  I'm not saying that things like that don't happen, but the content of the song definitely made JoJo seem older than she was.  Compared to this, a 10-year-old with tack-on nails and brightly colored clothes looks like nothing more than, well, a 10-year-old with tack-on nails and brightly colored clothes.

This song, or Willow Smith's hair for that matter, is not what makes her into a sexual object--for the most part, the listener does that.  Personally, I think she's "just tryna have fun," and I for one am not going to stop her--at least not until her curfew comes around.

Forever wmh,



  1. months later, i still wmh from time to time, and i don't care if i'm the only one (honestly, it keeps me awake when i'm studying at 1am).