Matthew West tells 2 daughters how to dress in deleted song: 'More Amish, less Kardashian'
Christian singer Matthew West has apologized on Instagram for being an 'overprotective dad' after being accused of promoting 'purity culture'
A popular Christian musician has become the center of flak and scrutiny after he released a song about his daughters' purity titled 'Modest is Hottest'. The lighthearted song sees singer-songwriter Matthew West joke about how he prays for his daughters to dress more like Jesus and less like Cardi B. But although the father of two insists this was a song to help his children understand that real beauty doesn't depend on outward appearances, fellow musicians have slammed the song and an Oklahoma pastor even released a parody of the same. This led to West ultimately apologizing on Instagram for being an 'overprotective dad'.
In the 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 lyrics then jump to how West thinks his daughters should dress, asking them to choose clothes that are a "little more Amish, a little less Kardashian" because "modest is hottest, than latest fashion trend." The video also sees West claim, "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." He then jokes: "Lord, make them more like Jesus, and less like Cardi B," and adds: "No offense to Cardi B, I'm sure she's a really nice girl and Jesus loves her."
At the time of the song's release West had described it as a "ridiculously silly way of reminding [my kids] that their appearance doesn't define them." But he immediately faced backlash for the undertones promoting purity culture through the lyrics. In a Thursday Instagram post, West 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."
West further added: "I've taken the feedback to heart. 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 has also since removed all traces of the music video where he performed the song, featuring his wife and two daughters. While the song is still on Spotify, the outlet Faithwire notes that musician Audre Assad's criticism might have been the most prominent. She wrote: "'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 released a parody of West's song where the lyrics go: "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." The musician told Newsweek that he found West's song dangerous as the idea of "purity culture" is wrong and dangerous, he feels. “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 said he gets the overprotective father's stance but believes girls shouldn't be stifled into being a version of themselves "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 continued: "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." The song also highlights a "greater cultural issue inside the American evangelical church." The Oklahoma pastor insisted: "Women are far too often shamed and blamed for the abhorrent behavior of men. 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." He then added: "We need men to take responsibility for their eyes, thoughts, and actions, not for women to change clothes."