The Oscar-winning actress recent sat down for an interview to discuss her upcoming film Vox Lux, which is set in the music world, in which she opined on how sexuality is often used to promote new music.
“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,” the 37-year-old thespian explained to USA Today. “Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl.”
This prompted a swift rebuke from Simpson, who defended both her feminism and her sexuality.
“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,” she wrote on Instagram. “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. 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.”
“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,” she continued. “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.”
In Portman's new film, she plays Celeste, a pop singer who finds fame as a teenager after performing at a memorial service following a violent tragedy at her school. Now, as a mother in her thirties, she is navigating her chaotic career and staging a comeback when tragedy strikes again.