Only one week after its release, singer Matthew West has taken his music video for “Modest is Hottest” offline.
On Friday, June 18, West released the song about dads convincing their daughters that “modest is hottest,” an age-old phrase used by Christian parents to encourage their daughters to keep necklines high, shorts lengths long and belly buttons covered.
West’s song includes lyrics about boys loving girls who wear turtlenecks, a “sensible pair of slacks” and a “one piece and a raincoat over” it. He calls out well-known celebrities like the Kardashians and Cardi B, saying that their clothing is not something to be replicated by his daughters.
The song, the latest tune in the battle of purity culture, was met with intense backlash online. Women and men felt the song placed the responsibility of remaining pure on girls while either absolving men of any responsibility. Singer Audrey Assad claims the song is “demeaning to women AND men.”
“Modest is hottest” still centers men and their preferences in how women should look—still sets being found hot by men as the ultimate goal for women—and positions all men as creeps who can’t handle seeing a woman’s bare skin without turning into out of control monsters.
— Audrey Assad (@audreyassad) June 20, 2021
One mom spoke to Today about the song and how she does not want her own daughter to listen to it.
“What a girl wears does not equal her worth,” Lyssa Creutzinger said. “Girls don’t wear clothes because it’s what ‘the boys really love.’ If you’re comfortable in modest clothing, rock it, and if you want to dance on TikTok in the clothes you love, don’t let people like Matthew West tell you that’s ‘bad.'”
After a week of cultural backlash, West chose to delete the video. After he pulled the song, West released a statement about his decision to delete, citing people’s opinion of the song is something he took to heart.
— Matthew West (@matthew_west) June 25, 2021
“I’m blessed to be the father of two amazing girls,” he wrote. “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 that some people did not receive it as intended. I’ve taken the feedback to heart. The last thing I want is to distract from the real reason I make music-: to spread a message of hope and love to the world.”
The song may be offline, but the conversation about promoting a “modest is hottest” message is still ongoing. As the Church is reconciling with purity culture and how they talk about sex, this concept will surely be back in the spotlight soon enough.