Simpson’s Virginity, Immodesty Send Fans Mixed Messages
With the release of her debut disc, Sweet Kisses, Jessica Simpson unwittingly became pop music’s ambassador for abstinence. She didn’t seek the title. It found her. Simpson, the daughter of a Baptist youth minister, had recorded the song “Heart of Innocence” and happened to mention in an interview that she was committed to saving sex for marriage. The label stuck. Over the past year, however, Simpson has made choices and comments that imply a disconnect in the artist’s mind between chastity and modesty. And it’s sending mixed messages to impressionable fans.
“Dress Modestly, with Decency and Propriety”
Bare midriffs. Short shorts. Tight, low-cut tops. See-through blouses. When it comes to clothing, the shapely pop singer’s mantra seems to be “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” In fact, many of the photos encountered while researching this story were too suggestive to reprint.
Talking with FH magazine, Simpson defended her racy outfits saying, “I will wear sexy clothes. I’m not ashamed of my body, and I am not afraid of showing it. I just do it in a tasteful way. I just turned 20 and I want to show my body, and that’s okay because God gave me my body and I am proud of it and I worked for it, dang it!…If you spend $200 on a dress, you want to look hot in it. And I definitely want heads to turn.”
Some might argue that her fashion statements are likely to do more than turn heads. If sexual purity is truly a virtue in Simpson’s eyes, she should be as concerned about preserving the purity of others as she is in walking that line herself. At one level, her immodest attire is a potential visual stumbling block for adolescent boys. On another, female fans who respect her stand for abstinence—if they take cues from the singer’s wardrobe—may be unintentionally advertising a very different morality to young men.
In 1 Timothy 2:9, women are instructed to “dress modestly, with decency and propriety.” Romans 14 warns God’s people to avoid making choices that could cause others to stumble. How does this apply to Jessica Simpson? She prays regularly. She thanks the Lord in her liner notes and says she sings as an act of worship. Her brand-new album even closes with a rousing gospel rendition of “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.” Yet she feels no compunction about playing the tease.
A New, “Irresistible” Image?
Asked by Teen Style magazine if she is “perfectly behaved,” Simpson replied, “[My dancers and I] have this really funny bus driver. He’ll talk with all the truckers on the road, his friends on the CB, and he’ll tell them to pull up close to the bus. Then we’ll pull our pants down and stick our butts out the window. I moon people a lot.”
It’s enough to make one wonder if Simpson is purposely trying to shake her “good girl” image. Consider her new hit single, “Irresistible.” She finds herself drawn to a boy like a moth to a flame, knowing she shouldn’t give in sexually, but toying with passion anyway: “When he makes me weak with desire/I know that I’m supposed to make him wait…But I can’t stop fanning the fire/I know I’m meant to say no/But he’s irresistible.” Christian teens might contend that she’s honestly fighting off temptation in this song. But instead of fleeing youthful lusts (2 Tim. 2:22), she’s flirting with them (“When I feel his arms wrapped around me…Up close and personal/Now inescapable”). She’s already in too deep. And without a firm declaration of self-control, the Top-40 hit implies that everyone has limit, and this pop princess may have just reached it (“More than just physical/Deeper than spiritual…I should really say good night/But I just can’t stop myself”).
Of course, Jessica Simpson says she’s still waiting for marriage. A lot of parents are waiting, too. They’re waiting for her pledge of sexual purity to form an inseparable, intimate bond with an equally stalwart commitment to modesty.
—By Bob Smithouser
Plugged In July 2001 – Vol. 6 No. 7