Sunday, December 09, 2012

Anatomy of an Unfriending

Hair. It seems to always be about or revolve around hair in some shape form or fashion. This time was no exception.

Many weeks ago Willow Smith (you know, the daughter of Jada Pinket and Will Smith) cut her "whip it" long hair short. Very short. Soon after, as predicable as the chiming of church bells, the media weighed in with opinions as to why and whatnot.

Then, of course, just as predictably, parent groups weighed in... "How Could Jada 'LET' her daughter . . . " (Why criticism doesn't seem to be directed toward dads whenever 'parent groups' weigh in is a topic for another day.)  Jada responds to her critics with a letter on her FB page, which reads, in part: 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.

Picked up by a number of media outlets, the letter brought Jada praise and of course, more criticism.

Enter my (now) former FB friend. The "friend" updated her status by posting a link to the article, prefacing said posting with her considered opinion that Jada is an awful parent by allowing her twelve year old to shave her hair off. She went on to defend and expand her stance in the comments. After a few of her other "friends" commented I chimed in with my own, "what's the big whoop? It's just hair."

A few of her friends "liked" my comment and the discussion (such as it was) continued; with the original poster responding to accusations that she was making judgments based on appearance, defending her 'right' to direct her own child's fashion choices, bristling over the commentary that she may have stifled her own son's freedom of expression and or creativity by such a staunch stance on something as innocuous as a haircut.

A couple of the other "friends" observed that the staunchness displayed seemed out of character for the liberal, gay, feminist, activist, they thought (or known) her to be.

After saying my piece, sharing an anecdote about my son's JR high years and baggy clothes (by way to answer the meme: you can't tell a book by it's cover) clicking, 'like' to a couple of the expressed opinions, I backed out of commenting but read with interest at the discussion was careening downhill.

Fast. During this portion of the program I kept thinking of the Bugs Bunny quote.  And nearly posted a para-phrased version. Nearly.

Eventually my (now) former FB friend took exception to the accusations and judgments (over her judgments) and "name calling" as she expressed it and asked NOT to be disrespected on her own page.

Well, that statement set off another flurry of comments. . . "what, I can't call you out?"  "I can't disagree with you?" On and on until the (now) former FB finally responded with, "F*CK YOU ALL!!!" and minutes later, I saw that I had been un-friended and I presume the others in the mix were as well. I hadn't been "friends" with any of them.

I'm not at all offended or distressed by the unfriending for I'd been very close to pulling the plug on our friend status prior to this incident. This woman and I met a few months ago on a dating site and then became FB friends.  We shared a few interesting exchanges, and then (a couple of weeks prior to the incident) met in person--as we live in the same town and found ourselves at the same LBGTQ event. It was this "live" meeting and subsequent FB exchanges that led me to believe we wouldn't ever be friends, so why keep up any pretext.

So, while the incident all started with hair, it became a much larger issue, as is so often the case, especially in my corner of the world.



  1. Doesn't sound like she was a huge loss. Still sucks to be the "unfriend-ee" over such a little thing. Good for you for trying to insert some rationality in the argument and then taking it in stride when she unfriended you.

  2. D, did you see the mother/daughter interview that Jada and Willow did. I have more respect for Jada as a parent and as a whole person after that.....I kind of have an opinion as to why Willow cut her hair. A direct reaction to the intense focus and demands to" whip" her hair as if that was all she was made of. As for the woman who took her marbles and went home.. Shot herself in the foot.

  3. @ Melissa C No, not a huge loss. Yes, sucks. Thank you. Par for the course.

    @ Madame. Yes, I did. And yes, agreed. And yes, I too feel that there is a (more or less) direct correlation between Willow's haircut and Willow's career.

  4. I must be the worst parent on earth. I let my son start choosing his own clothes at 2. (And you should have seen some of those combos. lol)

    I don't do FB at all because it's too intimate and not intimate enough all at once and my friendships can blow up without the help of that particular brand of social media.

    As to the child's hair, I love what Jada Pinket said. Good for her.

  5. No great loss in the (pretend)friend arena, then.

    I know that hair is a huge issue in the African-American community. I respect Jada and Willow for doing whatever the hell they want with their hair. It is *just* hair, after all.

    Damn that Faceboob anyway!

  6. @ Em: I know, me too. The flack I took (from my mom especially) over allowing the baggy look...oy.

    FB (and the kissing cousins) can be a trial if (& when) not used responsibly. ;)

    @ e: HUGE! Being African American AND entertainers (and/or folks in the public eye--queue Gabby Douglas)Willow (& Jada)wear an even heavier crown with regard to appearance. So, tiring.

  7. I just remember Kid #1 deciding he needed green hair. Easy to get a kit of temporary stuff for it and it made him feel cool. Yet, he favored the baggy gangsta' look, which looked ridiculous, but what can you do?

    Kid #2 eschewed all things trendy favoring button-down shirts and traditional boot cut jeans in the midst of the baggy pants frenzy. Getting him to update into a more socially-adept style took until college.

    Kid #3 found her own eclectic style my mom refers to as "artsy" - she is very well turned out on almost 0 budget.

    All found their way without my help. As I have learned, "This too shall pass."


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