Willow Smith is at the center of a new controversy after a picture of the young performer wearing a shirt that shows a woman’s nipples began floating around Instagram.
The “topless” photo is not actually topless, despite what some outlets would have you believe. Smith is not naked. She’s wearing clothing in the shot. But given the 14-year-old’s age, she’s now under fire for the provocative fashion choice.
Last May, a then-13-year-old Smith raised eyebrows by posing in bed with 20-year-old actor Moises Arias, who was shirtless. When commentators spoke out against the picture, Willow’s mom Jada Pinkett Smith shot back, “There was nothing sexual about that picture or that situation… You guys are projecting your trash onto it. You’re acting like covert pedophiles, and that’s not cool.”
Of course, a number of celebrities have challenged Instagram over its policy of prohibiting images of women’s nude breasts. Miley Cyrus has repeatedly shared racy pictures as part of the “Free The Nipple” campaign. Chelsea Handler slammed Instagram as “sexist” for taking down a picture that showed the comedian topless on a horse, alongside a similar shot of Vladimir Putin riding a horse without a shirt.
Last spring, Scout Willis walked topless through the streets of New York to protest the Instagram nudity policy. Her sister Rumer subsequently attended a “Free the Nipple” fundraising event wearing a shirt with a picture of exposed nipples on it (similar to Smith’s). The nipple debate rages on.