A passing comment on the mixed messages the media sends young women turned into a discussion on women between Natalie Portman and Jessica Simpson.
The situation began with Natalie Portman’s interview with USA Today to promote her new film, Vox Lux. In the film, Natalie plays a pop star. She discussed having Madonna as a role model for young girls of her generation, and how a stream of pop princesses began to appear in her teenage years.
It’s at this point in the conversation that Natalie names Jessica Simpson, one of the pop princesses in question. Natalie refers to Jessica Simpson’s cover on a magazine back in 1999, where they’re praising her virginity but have her posing in a tiny bikini.
The comment, out of context, sounded critical of Jessica, who responded with a classy comeback on lifting women up and essentially expecting more of Natalie, who has been a vocal supporter of the Time’s Up movement.
Natalie Portman basically grew up on camera. She starred in her first feature film at just 13 years old.
It’s also something that Natalie has in common with her character in her new film, Vox Lux. The film follows a young girl who achieves stardom after penning an emotional ballad about a school shooting. Natalie plays the character as an adult pop star navigating the underbelly of fame.
Natalie sat down with USA Today for an interview about Vox Lux and discussed some of the pop culture figures who inspired her as a child.
She also discussed coming of age during a time when pop singers were bubblegum princesses who were touted as virginal but presented in increasingly provocative ways.
In the interview, Natalie says, “I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini, and I was confused. Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”
Jessica Simpson didn’t take too kindly to Natalie’s reference to her 1999 cover.
Early in her career, Jessica Simpson was known as one of the first pop stars to proudly proclaim her virgin status and determination to wait until marriage.
While other pop star’s virginity claims were later revealed to be untrue, Jessica stuck to her guns and remained a virgin until her 2002 wedding to (now ex-husband) Nick Lachey.
Jessica responded by posting a statement on the matter to Instagram. In the statement, she expresses disappointment with Natalie’s comments.
She even mentioned how the comments stood in contrast to Natalie’s stance as an advocate for women and her work with Time’s Up.
Natalie replied to Jessica’s post with a sincere apology and clarification of her comments.
People were very happy to see the thoughtful exchange between the two women.
They also wished that other public figures would work out their differences in such a mature, mindful manner.
It’s good to see Natalie and Jessica on the same side of the issue and working together to lift the voices of women.