Folks across the country have issued a collective sanctimonious gasp over news that Will and Jada Smith's 13-year-old daughter Willow posed for some moody bedroom photos with shirtless 20-year-old actor Moises Arias. Disappointingly (but unsurprisingly), much of the backlash has focused on Willow's behavior or her parents' failure to control her rather than the adult man photographed alongside her.
The shots aren't new to the net; Arias (who some may know from a recurring role in Hannah Montana)posted them to his Tumblr last month without so much as a peeplike utterance from the web. It wasn't until yesterday, when Willow posted the photos to her Instagram account, that people started going really fucking nuts.
Outraged comments from other Instagram users prompted Willow to eventually take the shots down, but not before enough people had Command-Shift-3'd that shit to spread it to all corners of the internet, turning it into the sort of light but sCaNdAlOuS morning radio fodder hosts must dream of. And by this afternoon, it was on its way to being everywhere — E!, US, all the fuck over Tumblr and Twitter and Facebook. Everyone wants to weigh in on how appropriate the photos are, whether Willow is dating a 20-year-old man, Willow, Willow, Willow. Willow is being "controversial."
First: she's 13. He's 20. He's the one with a lot more adult sense about him than her, so maybe — just maybe! — any concern over the photos should be directed at him, not her. Would it be totally inappropriate for a 20-year-old man to date a 13-year-old girl? Hell the fuck yes. But we don't know that these pictures convey a dating relationship. In fact, the two aren't so much "in bed" together as they are "on the same bed." He's shirtless and sitting up, she's reclining and resting her head on his knee. She's fully clothed. No parts of either of their torsos or pelvic regions are touching each other. She's not even facing his nipples! They're not under the covers! They're on. A. Made. Bed. Sometimes people sit on beds.
Further, we don't know what relationship these photos convey. Arias is a friend of Willow's brother; maybe she's known him for years and sees him like a platonic nonthreating male relative. And 13-year-old girls and 20-year-old nonrelated males are allowed to make nonsexual physical contact.
That's not to say that the photo isn't a little weird. But weird isn't illegal. If it was, there'd be no Kardashians to keep up with.