If there’s one thing that often doesn’t get discussed enough about feminism, it’s that there are diverse—and, yes, differing—views within it. Feminists, just like any group of humans, are not one monolithic mass, and there’s no singular, “right” way to be one. Recently, stars Natalie Portman and Jessica Simpson bumped heads over female empowerment and sexuality. In a December 4th interview with USA Today, Portman discussed the conflicting messages young women receive about sex and their bodies—specifically regarding the “virginal” and “sexy” dichotomy. At one point, she said:
On December 5th, Simpson took to social media to respond directly to Portman’s interview, essentially saying that she found the actress’s comments to be reductive and judgmental. The singer noted that she didn’t find a conflict in owning ones’ sexuality while also choosing to remain a virgin, adding, “I was taught to be myself and honor the different ways all women express themselves.”
Later that day, Portman clarified her thoughts—and apologized.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Portman further explained: “I would never intend to shame anybody and that was absolutely not my intention. 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.”
Basically, let’s not blow this “feud” out of proportion and instead focus on the important takeaways: Women should be free to express themselves sexually, free of labels, slut-shaming, or stigma. And we’re currently thanking both ladies for opening up the discussion.