AI: Owning Your Appearance
Fellow Queereka contributor Yessenia recently shared this article about Jada Pinkett Smith’s response to the criticism she’s faced for “allowing” her daughter Willow to shave her head. It’s well worth a read, the stand-out quote being “Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be”. The article also includes a quote from Will Smith that points out the link between a girl being told what to do with her body and appearance by her father and by other men later in life.
This sort of parenting seems to be quite rare, which is probably why the idea of someone’s appearance not being controlled by everyone around them is still fairly revolutionary (and why the Smiths had to defend themselves in the first place). Once you start to notice this it’s hard to ignore; who hasn’t had someone try to put them off doing something with their appearance because it wasn’t the done thing? Or, alternatively, who hasn’t had someone try to control their appearance despite it being none of that other person’s business? Being LGBTQ* brings a whole new set of pressures to this as well – the burden of stereotypes, the gender binary, the pressure to pass and so on. That anyone manages to resist these messages is impressive, but the more people who do the easier it’ll become. Alternatively, we can all wait to be adopted into the Smith family…
What comments have you received recently that have turned aspects of your appearance or presentation into public property? How did you handle the situation? How do you make sure you’re looking after your own interests rather than just doing what other people think you should?
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.