Bristol Palin Has Her Cake and Eats It, Too

Bristol Palin, daughter of would-be president Sarah, has done it again. After her pretentious PSA that promotes a classist view of teen motherhood, she’s turned up in a rather ironic spread for Harper’s Bazaar. She’s pictured with her son Tripp, performing domestic tasks in evening wear, and giving a tea party (get it?) surrounded by a breathtaking assortment of pastel-colored cakes. I guess that’s how hockey moms roll in Anchorage.

But don’t be fooled. Raising a child is hard, especially when you have barely reached adulthood. No one knows this better than Bristol, who told Harper’s this about her pregnancy: “Great, I’m 17-years-old, I’m 40 pounds overweight with a big belly on me, all my friends are at school watching this on the news. This kind of sucks.”

The one thing that becomes blaringly obvious in her Harper’s interview is this young mother’s very affluent lifestyle. The 19-year-old is a medical assistant in a dermatologist’s office. Yet somehow she’s able to afford a closet “filled with more than 30 pairs of jeans” and “the Subaru wagon in the garage” and a “3-story gray townhouse” complete with leather couches and flat-screen TVs.

This is where the Candie’s Foundation steps in. Bristol is their Teen Ambassador, which not only makes her a desirable public speaker, but reportedly earns her as much as $30,000 an appearance. As the official face of their abstinence-mostly campaign, she helps spread the message, “Pause Before You Play.” While it suggests pausing to get a condom, it mostly encourages abstinence with slogans like “Be Smart: You Are Too Young to Start” and “Be Sexy: It Doesn’t Mean You Have to Have Sex.”

Even more frustrating than her babies-are-for-the-rich message is the fact that Bristol has yet to make the connection that abstinence-only education is dangerously ineffective and could be to blame for her current situation. Here’s what she told Harper’s about her own sex-ed:

It’s not like we sat down and were like, ‘all right, here’s the birds and the bees.’ Truly, my parents just assumed that I wasn’t doing anything. And it was a shock for us all.

So Bristol Palin was shocked that intercourse resulted in pregnancy because no one ever discussed the birds and the bees with her. And her mother was shocked because she assumed the scare tactics of abstinence-only education at school, combined with a don’t-ask-don’t-tell-style-policy at home, would keep her daughter pure. What’s really shocking is that neither mother or daughter find that championing abstinence-only after-the-fact is even remotely hypocritical.

Mom is just plain proud of her girl, doncha know:

We’re very proud of her for taking responsibility. It’s not an easy road, but it’s the right road. Decisions were made and we can’t unwind those decisions. Consequences are being dealt with.

Consequences like babies and other stuff–some of which is lucrative and platform-building! Bristol Palin, now seemingly a spokesmodel for “secondary virginity“, has somehow earned her stripes as a political commentator as well. Here’s how she feels about the Obama administration:

I think he is making more Americans become dependent on government, and he’s acting like government can and should take care of everyone. That is completely contrary to what made America a great nation. We should be expected to take responsibility for ourselves.

You know, like she does. One inflated speaker’s fee at a time.

ABOVE: purity ring. Photo courtesy of Naydeeyah.

Comments

  1. I wish she’d stop throwing her baby at the cameras, using him as a platform to show her holier-than-thou lifestyle. Uhg.

  2. “So Bristol Palin was shocked that intercourse resulted in pregnancy because no one ever discussed the birds and the bees with her. And her mother was shocked because she assumed the scare tactics of abstinence-only education at school, combined with a don’t-ask-don’t-tell-style-policy at home, would keep her daughter pure. What’s really shocking is that neither mother or daughter find that championing abstinence-only after-the-fact is even remotely hypocritical.”

    What is really shocking is that many feminists have not bothered to check their facts before slinging this kind of mud at Sarah Palin. Neither mother nor daughter have actually championed abstinence-only sex education, despite the persistence of rumors to the contrary. Alaska has left sex education curriculum to be decided by local school districts. Sarah Palin told Katie Couric before the election, “Well, I am all for contraception. And I am all for preventative measures that are legal and safe, and should be taken. But Katie, again, I am one to believe that life starts at the moment of conception.” (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/30/AR2008093002993.html)

    This support of contraception was not a fluke. A story in the Los Angeles Times (see http://articles.latimes.com/2008/sep/06/nation/na-sexed6) explained how the rumors got started. “In a widely quoted 2006 survey she answered during her gubernatorial campaign, Palin said she supported abstinence-until-marriage programs. But weeks later, she proclaimed herself “pro-contraception” and said condoms ought to be discussed in schools alongside abstinence.

    “I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues,” she said during a debate in Juneau.

    Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said the governor stands by her 2006 statement, supporting sex education that covers both abstinence and contraception.”

    It seems Democrats do want to have their cake and eat it too on this issue. This is from CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/03/31/abstinence.education/index.html):
    “The health care reform legislation that President Obama signed recently isn’t only about insurance coverage — there’s also a renewal of $50 million per year for five years for abstinence-focused education.

    Programs that receive this funding must “teach that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems,” according to the Department of Health and Human Services. To qualify, they must also teach that sex before marriage is “likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.” These are part of the “A-H definition,” requirements for programs to receive abstinence funding under Title V of the Social Security Act.

    “Title V is trying to make sure that kids are being given a message that saving sex and childbearing for marriage is the safest, healthiest, best choice,” said Scott Phelps, executive director of Abstinence & Marriage Education Partnership. Public schools hire educators from this organization to teach abstinence, and may use Title V funding for it, he said.”

    It seems to me that if Sarah and Bristol Palin should be called out for hypocrisy on this issue, so should the Democratic Party and the President. It seems their position on abstinence education is not nearly so far from that of Sarah Palin as many would like to believe.

    • I think the main reason Bristol is going along with this nonsense is, of course, the money, plus Mommy Dearest (Sarah) doing a lot of the directing. I have seen some teen moms who kept their kids, and their mothers did a lot of directing and controlling. Gee, ladies, think about it. Cold that dysfunctional behavior be why the girls were driven into another boy's arms (and his bedroom)? I am not a fan of abortion, as it is indicates a much bigger problem. However, keeping people in the dark about sex education is very criminal in my view.

  3. Nyxelestia says:

    I used to feel sorry for Bristol, for all the pressure she must have faced in light of her pregnancy. Now, not so much – she’s making money off of her infant son, and helping to spread misleading and false images of what teenage motherhood is like, even for rich kids, letalone the rest of the country.

  4. Toby Venar says:

    Look – nothing wrong with abstinence being part of the message – not through scare tactics, but an understanding that sex can result in a life choice. As a father at 19 (my 17 year old girl friend, love and mother of my baby and I got married a few months later when she turned 18 and I turned 20) I have to say, it’s only a small part of the message. We had two terminated pregnancies with me prior to our decision to become parents.

    My folks did talk to me about sex. It didn’t matter. I was going to do what I was going to do. Sex is an incredibly powerful experience and it was almost impossible for me at that age to resist at all.

    Birth control would have been better in the first two instances – she had two abortions finally leading up to our daughter. We used condoms, but at some point prior to the second abortion, they were not effective.

    It was a very hard path. I had no education beyond high school. I made $7000 a year when we married in 1983 and we moved 7 times in 5 years due to rent and money issues. Jobs were dependent upon a growing computer market – a skill I picked up through teaching myself when I was cleaning a building for a living. Looking back, it was incredibly lucky. I developed skills and certifications, but without drive and luck and support from my family (parents and immediate alike) it would have been impossible. So many people in this situation are just torn down.

    It has none-the-less been hard on my wife and I – and we were lucky – we stayed together for the last 26 years. It is not a path I would recommend. My original plan was for college after high school in 1983. I finally got my undergrad in 2008 and am starting my MBA next year, at 47 years of age. It has been a long path.

    Not a horror story. But a few things to note. Brining up our daughter, as young as we were, didn’t allow us to impart as much good experience as she deserves. We have all had to learn how to undo mistakes that were made – could have been an easier experience for her.

    I will work for the rest of my life. It took my 10 years to get to a reasonable salary and the debt we accumulated took another 11 years to get close to paying off. I have only some 401k for retirement. Diabetes and psoriasis have been manifestations of the stressful life I have lived and my dreams of being a professional musician took a side seat to jobs that would support us. Initially that meant cleaning, digging ditches, factory work. With a lot of hard work it meant sales and consulting and eventually a position in an IS organization (which again, without help from middle class parents would not have been possible).

    I firmly believe we need to preserve abortion rights and sex education should include birth control education and enablement.

    As for government taking care of people – that IS its job. It is what has made this country great. I’m not saying that welfare should be a way of life, but I am saying those systems need to be in place. We used WIC. We used food stamps a few times. I can remember weeks when we had only formula and no food – where we needed to rely on parents to eat (and again, so many people do not have that luxury).

    Government at it’s best is a support system that provides for the varying needs of a populace. It is not a replacement for church or family. But it is the component that sets the table for our society. It protects us and that does not just mean from the outside – they are there to insure we can pursue life and happiness. Liberty comes with a society that cares for everyone and will give a leg up when needed. While it is true that it is up to us how we make use of that help, we should not deny it to anyone. Not an entitlement but a way of preserving freedom for all – not just an affluent few.

  5. Actually the most recent research shows that abstinence-only programs can be effective. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/01/AR2010020102628.html

    • No, what that shows is that the news doesn't know how to report scientific studies. That's sixth and seventh graders who don't have sex by the time they're 14. That shit doesn't WORK once you get older. Granted, it might be able to scare younger teens for a while, but even if we assume that this study's findings suggests incorrectly that 2/3 of all people who have abstinence-only education will remain abstinent, that 1/3 STILL doesn't know how the hell to prevent STDs. And considering that the journalistic integrity of this piece is grotesquely flawed, that's being a little too kind.

  6. I think the proponents of abstinence-only sex education are reading way too much into that study, which compared sixth and seventh grade students going through various approaches, the abstinence focused program somewhat unrepresentative of the programs previously studied. I doubt any feminist would dispute that girls of that age should be encouraged to postpone sex. The approach is the issue. That program studied apparently used a more sensible approach than most abstinence “education.” Young women as old as Bristol Palin was, I doubt any program could effectively discourage sex. Teenagers are curious and rebellious, but if given sensible counseling young enough, some might be persuaded to wait. I would be curious how that study broke down by gender; the article does not specify that. The program did “offer ways to resist pressure to have sex;” that could be helpful to young women.

  7. PioneerGrrrl says:

    Bristol Palin herself is proof that American youth need acces to abstinence plus sex education. This is education which provides teens with all the options to properly and accurately take care of their own bodies.

    So those who do not choose abstinence then know that they need to use contraception. The teens also learn how to properly use contraceptive methods to greatly lessen the chances of their becoming pregnant should they decide to have sex.

    Opponents of this claim that it teaches kids to have sex. But they are very naive and sorely mistaken. Because it is society itself which routinely teaches kids to have sex. We would merely be teaching kids the tools to protect themselves should they listen to the movies, music…etc. It’s going on every day and right now. So signing a permission slip is very futile in the age of the internet. It’s everywhere!

    I attended a very well-to do suburban school district which yes, did teach abstinence only. But the school board never ever made the connection between having an abstinence only sex-ed policy and a perpetually backlogged waiting list for enrollment in a ‘day care/teen parent’ program in one of the high schools.

    I am grateful the young girls (including friends) were able to finish their high school degrees. However, ignoring that teens do have sex and do become pregnant doesn’t stop them from doing it.

    So it’s long past time for another strategy.

    Just as we would not expect somebody to stay the proper body temperature year round just by sending them out into the world without the proper equipment (gloves, mittens…etc) to then actually stay the temperature, we need to at last provide teens who have sex with the proper equipment to take care of their bodies in this context too.

  8. PioneerGrrrl says:

    Aletha:
    Nobody is ‘mud slinging’ Palin herself made public statements to the Alaska Eagle Forumn claiming that she supported the teaching of abstinence only sex education.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/09/01/palin.daughter/index.html

    Yes, she made the statements.

    But these statements then publically put her at odds with the actual effectiveness rate of a policy which she–and the group who put it’s name on the line for her—had been championing.

    The actual conduct of her own family demonstrates that/why abstinence only does not work.

    It does not matter what ‘type’ of family a teenager comes from. Teenagers who recieved abstinence only education still sleep around, and get pregnant.

    Had they recieved comprehensive sex education, they would not have become pregnant

  9. PioneerGrrrl, what statements are you referring to? Palin filled out an Eagle Forum questionnaire. She may have misinterpreted the question about explicit sex education; at any rate, her answer was definitely misinterpreted by Democrats seeking to discredit her, and that is still going on. That Los Angeles Times article I cited above concludes with this:
    “Palin’s statements date to her 2006 gubernatorial run. In July of that year, she completed a candidate questionnaire that asked, would she support funding for abstinence-until-marriage programs instead of “explicit sex-education programs, school-based clinics and the distribution of contraceptives in schools?”

    Palin wrote, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.”

    But in August of that year, Palin was asked during a KTOO radio debate if “explicit” programs include those that discuss condoms. Palin said no and called discussions of condoms “relatively benign.”

    “Explicit means explicit,” she said. “No, I’m pro-contraception, and I think kids who may not hear about it at home should hear about it in other avenues. So I am not anti-contraception. But, yeah, abstinence is another alternative that should be discussed with kids. I don’t have a problem with that. That doesn’t scare me, so it’s something I would support also.”"

    How can anyone call that supporting abstinence-only sex education? Is this a matter of a vaguely defined term? I do not support her politics, but I happen to believe Palin has a bit more common sense about sex education than the Pope or other reactionary fundamentalists, many of whom dislike her because she directly challenges their ideas about the proper role of women. I would not go so far as to call her feminist, but they did, as an epithet.

  10. ahhh hello??? knock, knock on my lap top screen, hello? is this Ms. or Sarah Palin’s fan club and the abstence only (wink, wink) fairy web site??? Hello, oh geeze don’t cha know my finger must have hit the wrong button.

    I want Ms. BACK and the their followers NOT Sarah Palin’s!!!!!!!!1

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