Not many expect Jessica Simpson to be paradigm of aspirational motherhood and well thought-out parenting choices. She’s a celebrity for one, so the strikes are already against her, and she’s a shameless self-promoter who will hawk everything from her nude pregnant belly to her post-baby weight loss to make a dime. But in addition to her problematic quotes about steering clear of eating disorders as a branding decison (not say, for her health), Jessica recently “waddled” Jay Leno where she said that she is craving “slutty brownies” — an authentic recipe that contains cookie dough, Oreo cookies, and brownie mix.
When Jay Leno asked why the “heavenly” dessert warranted the term, Jessica Simpson said that she didn’t know, and then said, “I guess a lot goes into it.”
She may have caused a couple of giggles from the audience, but there’s not much funny about the use of the word “slut” to suggest lots of sexual partners. Some women do find the term an empowering one and to someone like Jessica Simpson, I’m sure also harmless and facetious. But these playful and seemingly innocent cracks at terms like “slut” are what fuel larger debates about derogatory slander towards women and girls, much of which is still socially acceptable.
Laughing off words that have been culturally steeped in anti-woman sentiment, like “slut” and “whore” just make it all the more funny and acceptable for someone to call your own daughter, or you a “slut” — and for a variety of reasons that aren’t even sexual. Permitting any sort of humor surrounding this slander does an incredible disservice to everyone’s daughters and mothers who will ultimately be called a “slut” for something as simple as having an unpopular opinion.
It may just be a brownie recipe, but Jessica’s sexual innuendos coupled with “slutty” continues a cultural problem we still have with degrading women and girls based on sexual behavior.
(See Jessica’s comment at around the 22:40 mark)