The singer and fashion designer is clapping back after Portman used Simpson as an example of a “virgin/vixen paradigm” that confused her growing up. While discussing her new film, Vox Lux, in which Portman plays a pop star, she recalled finding Simpson contradictory.
“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,” she told USA Today.
Portman preferred Madonna as a role model. “I felt really lucky to have her as a little kid because I saw someone who was brazen and disobedient and provocative and trying to mess with people and always changing — I thought it was a great thing to see in a woman growing up,” she added.
Simpson didn’t exactly find the Oscar-winning actress’s quotes exemplary of the whole notion that women should be supporting women, something Portman has said she strongly believes in.
“I was disappointed this morning when I read that I ‘confused’ you by wearing a bikini in a published photo taken of me when I was still a virgin in 1999,” Simpson said on social media Wednesday. “As public figures, we both know our image is not totally in our control at all times, and that the industry we work in often tries to define us and box us in.”
The singer-turned-entrepreneur continued, “However, I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves, which is why I believed then — and I believe now — that being sexy in a bikini and being proud of my body are not synonymous with having sex.”
At the start of her career, Simpson was open about her vow to remain a virgin until marriage. She wed Nick Lachey in 2002.
“I have always embraced being a role model to all women to let them know that they can look however they want, wear whatever they want and have sex or not have sex with whomever they want,” Simpson added. “The power lies within us as individuals. I have made it my practice to not shame other women for their choices. In this era of Time’s Up and all the great work you have done for women, I encourage you to do the same.”
Portman apologized Wednesday after Simpson’s note made headlines.
“I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention,” Portman told Entertainment Tonight. “I was really talking about mixed media messages out there for young women and completely apologize for any hurt it may have caused because that was definitely not my intention.”
She continued, “What I said was I was confused by mixed messages when I was a young girl growing up, and there are a lot of messages for how women should be, and women should be allowed to do whatever they want.”
“It is a mistake to say anyone’s name,” she added. “I could have made my message without naming.”
Portman also commented directly on Simpson’s Instagram and apologized, writing, “I didn’t mean to shame you and I’m sorry for any hurt my words may have caused.”
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