OK, Bristol Palin and her mother are not exactly my favourite people in all the world. If you’ve read some of my other posts, – or even the title of this blog – you might deduce that, in fact, we are natural enemies. And you would be correct.
Bristol’s recent claim that Obama was just listening to his daughters on the issue of same-sex marriage was idiotic. (So too is the fact that she earns hundreds of thousands preaching abstinence when she herself wasn’t abstinent. And the fact that she isn’t in college when she has the grades to go to college.) I do not defend her claim, nor pretend to have an in-depth knowledge of that issue; I am simply uninterested in the whole thing, as I’m not American and neither Bristol nor Obama are as interesting to read about as Santorum, who is still my favourite lunatic devilspawn idiot. He will always have a place in my heart.
So, while I am opposed to Sarah and Bristol’s existence on the planet, I feel that we should not stoop to their level. There are some things that are off-limits, for our own good and the good of society and feminist principles. I’m talking about the comments below the stories of Bristol’s rant that shame and deride her for being a young mother. The comments include “she can’t keep her legs closed for 15 minutes” “shut your mouth and your legs” “Bristhoe Palin” “I bet Obama’s daughters wouldn’t end up preggers at 17” “where’s your baby-daddy?” “She’s a whore” and many others, depending which article you read.
Now, I understand that Americans – unsurprisingly – want to call her a slut because of the moral high ground she and her mother take, the money she earns indoctrinating innocent children with abstinence and repression, her mother’s abstinence education stance, and the threat to their freedom that they genuinely fear from her mother. If I was American, maybe I would see it diffeently; I don’t know.I don’t claim to know the entire catalogue of Sarah Palin’s ridiculousness.
However, these shame-words and offensive insults are saying that teen mothers are promiscuous whores, a very narrow-minded and untrue belief. Adults are more promiscuous than teens, and nobody knows how many men Bristol has slept with so we cannot call her a whore. They are shaming her just for being a mother, which is one of life’s great joys and, ironically, the traditional role for a woman.
Now, whether or not you are a good mother ot good father does not depend on your age. Women have the right to make a choice about when they want to start a family. And no, it doesn’t mean it’ll somehow, magically, ‘ruin your life’ – Bristol is choosing not to go on to further education, she isn’t unable to because of Tripp. Because of her earnings from preaching abstinence in schools, Bristol is rich enough to hire a team of au pairs to look after Tripp and her own chaffeur to take her to college.Bristol made a choice not to have an abortion and to start her family at age 18 – the age of majority and the second-last year of being a teenager, so it’s a bit of a stretch to even call it “teenage pregnancy”. She started her family with her boyfriend of 4 years, so calling her a “whore” also doesn’t seem to fit. Shaming women for starting families ‘too young’ and de-validating their choices, opinions and freedom to start families is only going to impact negatively on women’s reproductive freedoms and life choices.
So, let’s leave Bristol in peace – not for her sake, but for ours. Or her side – which aims to take away sexual, religious and reproductive freedom from everyone – will win.