A new song from contemporary Christian singer Matthew West drew ire from TikTok users and their parents after it went viral.
The song “Modest is Hottest” and its accompanying music video were released on June 18. The music video has been wiped from the internet following backlash, but the song has continued to spread on social media.
In the original video, West gives his two daughters a lecture about modesty.
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“The boys are coming round ’cause you’re beautiful. And it’s all your mother’s fault,” he sang. “Modest is hottest, the latest fashion trend is a little more Amish, a little less Kardashian. What the boys really love is a turtleneck and a sensible pair of slacks. Honey, modest is hottest, sincerely, your dad.”
West mentioned TikTok in the song, saying that if his daughters got caught “doing dances on the TikTok in a crop top,” they would be “grounded ’till the world stops.”
According to today.com, West wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post that the song was meant to be a “light-hearted take on an age-old struggle.” Now, the only trace of his song on his social media accounts is a message just shy of an apology.
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“I wrote a song poking fun at myself for being an over-protective dad, and my family thought it was funny,” he wrote. “The song was created as satire, and I realize that some people did not receive it as it was intended.”
Prior to its deletion from most platforms, “Modest Is Hottest” went viral on TikTok as a sound under the name “Modesty culture is toxic.”
She clarified in the comments of her post that modesty as a choice, to her, is not toxic.
“Creepy this man is telling his daughters what he thinks is a ‘hot’ way to dress,” she continued.
User @blameitonthedareprogram shared a similar sentiment.
“Can we talk about how this song is a dad addressing his daughters and … telling them to do what he thinks is hot?” she wrote.
Lyssa Creutzinger, a 30-year-old mom, told today.com that she enjoyed listening to Christian music as a child, but she wouldn’t want her daughter to hear the song.
“What a girl wears does not equal her worth,” she 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.'”
Christian singer Audrey Assad also disagreed with the song’s message.
“‘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,” she wrote in a tweet. “Of course, I know the song that my tweet was inspired by is supposed to be a joke. But I still believe it perpetuates some harmful ideas.”
On the other hand, some people didn’t think the song was that big of a deal.
“His music is right, and it’s funny,” Christian pop culture blogger Brittany Valadez said in a YouTube video. “Take a joke … he is an entertainer.”
“Objectifying women and misplacing blame to women are legitimate concerns. That is not what West’s song was about,” a commenter said. “Do people really not understand the heart of a father that wants to protect his daughters? We truly live in a crazy world for it to be taken this way.”
West has done satirical music before. His song “Quarantine Life” has garnered more than 2 million views since its release in April 2020. Whether or not “Modest Is Hottest” is effective satire is up for debate.
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