Why Is Bristol Palin's Sex Life My Business?
I know everyone is sick of reading about Bristol Palin and frankly so am I. (Especially when the latest news is over whether Todd Palin offered Bristol a new car in exchange for dumping Levi). But yet, here I am, writing about her yet again. Honestly, the ESC kind of loves Bristol - or at least, we love the Bristol that we think is in there somewhere, behind the PR-clutches of Sarah Palin and Co.
We love the Bristol who said that abstinence is "not realistic at all" much more than the Bristol who claimed the quote about abstinence being unrealistic was taken out of context. Because really, what other context can you take it in? She was quoted referring to abstinence as "the harder choice, but it's the safest choice". Yeah and it's totally realistic to expect teenagers to go for the harder choice.
No one is suggesting that abstinence doesn't work to prevent teen pregnancy. If you don't have sex - you won't get pregnant. It works pretty damn well. What doesn't always work is the getting teenagers to practice abstinence part. It is unrealistic for most teenagers and that is why abstinence-only education is such a huge failure. Not because using contraception is somehow safer than not having sex, but because it is way safer than having unprotected sex.
And take it from Bristol, because she knows. I want to know if Tripp was conceived because her birth control method failed (broken condom?) or if Tripp was conceived because she wasn't using any form of birth control. Not my business? But it is. If Bristol is going to stand up there and tell the kiddies not to have sex, then she has to be honest about whether it was just sex that resulted in her unplanned pregnancy - or if it was unprotected sex. Most likely, she got pregnant not just because she didn't practice abstinence... but because she didn't practice abstinence or safe sex. Although Bristol refuses to get into the specifics of exactly how she got pregnant, baby-daddy Levi Johnston has revealed in interviews that they used condoms "most of the time" but not always.
You can argue that Bristol Palin's sex life (past, present and future) is not our business and normally you'd be right... except... she is making it our business. When Sarah Palin was running for Vice President everyone was told to leave poor Bristol alone and I agree that Bristol Palin's private life should've been exactly that - private. But now that she is repackaging herself as the poster girl for abstinence and asking teenagers to learn from her experience, it is becoming our business.No matter how many times she says "I'm not here to talk about my personal life," she's wrong. That is exactly the reason she is there. Do you think anyone would care what she has to say about abstinence or teen pregnancy if it wasn't for her personal life?
The entire basis of her "ambassadorship" for the Candies Foundation is what happened in her personal life. And her entire spiel for the foundation is based on her experiences in her personal life. Seriously. She's got that whole 'trust me, teen parenting is super hard, I know, I'm doing it' shtick and also the 'do as I say, not as a I did' angle... all the while with her personal life sleeping in her lap.
Pretty much, Bristol Palin is evidence that abstinence-only education doesn't work. It just doesn't. In fact, you could argue that abstinence-only education causes teen pregnancy, because if/when those teens inevitably do have sex they will be less likely to protect themselves from pregnancy. For some reason it has to be all or nothing with the GOP, who often act like comprehensive sex education is "pre-abortion training". Even Meghan McCain will tell you that birth control isn't abortion... it prevents abortion by preventing teen pregnancy.
Todd Palin has admitted that he never talked to Bristol about sex or birth control because she "had enough information out there." Apparently not, Todd. Yet for some reason he keeps referring to the "mistake" that Bristol made. Yeah, you and high-profile Sarah Palin had nothing to do with it. (Also, Bristol has made it clear that although being a mother is "hard work" she considers her son a blessing, "not a mistake").
My daughter is only 9 and she already knows where babies come from. (Well, she knows the basics and I will continue to build on that over time). It reminds me of a discussion I had with an acquaintance back when Jamie Lynn Spears had just given birth... Her daughter saw a magazine cover in the supermarket and asked "how did Zoey 101 get a baby?" Unsure how to answer, she told her that she "borrowed it from her sister Britney Spears". When I heard that story, of course, I knew that the only thing she taught her daughter that day was that her mom is a liar. If you ask my daughter how Jamie Lynn Spears got a baby she will tell you "because she had unsafe sex".
And that's how Bristol Palin got a baby too... no matter how much she wants to pretend that the details don't matter.
[Lilith is co-founder of EvilSlutopia.com and a proponent of comprehensive sex ed].