Popular Christian singer-songwriter Matthew West has issued an apology for his “modest is hottest”-themed song after facing criticism for promoting “purity culture,” Faithwire reports.
What’s this song all about?
In the jokey song, “Modest Is Hottest,” West tells his two daughters, “The boys are coming round ’cause you’re beautiful and it’s all your mother’s fault.”
The jokey, satiric song urged his young daughters to choose ensembles that are a “little more Amish, a little less Kardashian” because “modest is hottest, then latest fashion trend.” Elsewhere in the video, West said, “If I catch you doing dances on the TikTok in a crop top, so help me God you’ll be grounded till the world stops.”
“Lord, make them more like Jesus, and less like Cardi B,” West jokes. “No offense to Cardi B, I’m sure she’s a really nice girl and Jesus loves her.”
West himself described the song as a “ridiculously silly way of reminding [my kids] that their appearance doesn’t define them.”
What are the details of his apology?
West faced backlash after sharing the song, prompting him to issue a Thursday apology.
In an Instagram post, the praise and worship leader wrote, “I’m blessed to be the father of two amazing daughters. I wrote a song poking fun at myself for being an over-protective dad and my family thought it was funny. The song was created as satire, and I realize some people did not receive it as it was intended.”
“I’ve taken the feedback to heart,” he added. “The last thing I want is to distract from the real reason why I make music: to spread a message of hope and love to the world.”
West also removed all instances of the video in which he performed the song — which also featured his daughters and wife — from his social media channels, Faithwire noted.
The song was still available on Spotify at the time of press.
What was the backlash?
Faithwire points out musician Audrey Assad’s criticism as being perhaps the most prominent of all.
Assad addressed West’s satire on her own Instagram page, arguing that the message sends a poor example to young men and women and is demeaning to both genders.
“‘Modest is hottest’ still entirely centers men and their preferences in the way a woman should dress — sets up being ‘hot’ as the ultimate goal for women — and positions all men as creeps who can’t handle seeing a woman’s skin without becoming out of control monsters,” Assad wrote. “It’s demeaning to men AND women. I really hate this phrase and yet it is the one cockroach that survives literally everything.”
Jeremy Coleman, a pastor from Oklahoma, also addressed West’s video and created his own parody of the song, singing, “If I catch you doing dances on the TikTok, wear what you want, girl just go off. Hold your head up so your crown doesn’t fall off. You’re a queen if you forgot, so just wear what you want. The latest fashion trends, I probably won’t get, but it’s not for me to understand.”
Coleman’s parody continued, “If the boys act like pigs, tell ’em I’ll gouge out their eyes, ’cause I’ve got some shovels and some alibis, so just wear what you want and I’ll love you till I die.”
— Thomasina🧞♀️ (@mrsnordyyy) June 23, 2021
Coleman also told Newsweek that he felt West’s song was dangerous because he believes “purity culture” is wrong and dangerous.
“We are telling our daughters and young women that their body image should be defined by someone else’s opinion,” he told the outlet. “Women should feel confident, comfortable, and free to dress and express themselves however they want. Telling them to dress a certain way to be ‘less attractive’ is reverse body shaming.”
Coleman added that he understands being a father and wanting to protect his daughters, but doesn’t believe that girls should have to stifle who they are or what they want to wear “because men are unable to appreciate women without sexualizing them[.]”
“Women are far too often shamed and blamed for the abhorrent behavior of men,” Coleman added. “So the idea of ‘Modest Is Hottest’ is saying that, because men can’t control their lustful desires, you have to change who you are.”
Coleman added, “Telling your daughters to dress a certain way to curb their beauty is telling them they are being sexual when in fact they are just being who they are.”
He argued that the song also promotes a “greater cultural issue inside the American evangelical church.”
“Women are far too often shamed and blamed for the abhorrent behavior of men,” the Oklahoma pastor insisted. “So the idea of ‘Modest Is Hottest’ is saying that because men can’t control their lustful desires, you have to change who you are. It’s the same mentality that inevitably produces victim blaming for sexual abuse victims.”
“We need men to take responsibility for their eyes, thoughts and actions,” Coleman insisted, “not for women to change clothes.”
Author: Sarah Taylor