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Bristol Palin Says Teen Pregnancy Is Only Acceptable If Your Family Is Rich or Famous

Bristol Palin Says Teen Pregnancy Is Only Acceptable If Your Family Is Rich or Famous

I tend to have sympathy for Bristol Palin, even though I violently disagree with her mother’s politics, simply because her personal life has been used so often as a symbol for something large and political – teen pregnancy, the abortion debate, contraceptive use, abstinence (the list goes on).  But this new ad from the Candie’s Foundation, featuring Palin, has such an obscenely classist message that much of that sympathy flew out the window as soon as I was finished watching it.

In it, Palin cautions teens to “pause before you play.”  However, this comes after Palin makes it clear that this does not apply for people whose families are privileged.  Looking straight into the camera, Palin says, “What if I didn’t come from a famous family? What if I didn’t have all their support? What if I didn’t have all these opportunities?  Believe me, it wouldn’t be so pretty.”  The not-so-pretty alternative, apparently, is a bare room with a crying baby on the ground, and a tee shirt and jeans instead of her Chanel jacket.

She’s right, it would have been much more difficult for her to raise 15-month-old Tripp, had she not had such a privileged background.  And in a sense, this honesty is refreshing.  But what is the message: teenage pregnancy is acceptable as long as you come from a wealthy family, but not if you’re poor?  That it’s okay if she gets pregnant because of her class background, but because you probably don’t, you need to think before you act?  Absurdly offensive and classist, to say the least.

On Good Morning America, Palin discussed the ad, saying, “It could be pause and go get a condom or it could be pause and think about your life or it could even be pause and wait until marriage.”  But, knowing what I do about the Candie’s Foundation (where the mission is to “educate youth about the devastating consequences of teen pregnancy” – it’s not so into teaching teens how to prevent it, beyond keeping their legs closed), the implication is that teens need to be abstinent – unless, of course, you have a recognizable last name, and then you can do whatever you want.  Palin may be trying to use her celebrity for good, but this condescending, classist approach misses the mark by a mile.

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Photo courtesy of the Candie's Foundation.

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245 comments

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8:24PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

Really?!

8:24PM PDT on Aug 25, 2012

Really?!

2:32AM PDT on Apr 7, 2011

The Palin family has made a very lucrative business out of hypocritically peddling corny moral clichés, judging others on the one hand, and saying at the same time that judgement can only be done by the Almighty… Unless they think they’re the….. No, it can’t be that sick yet…. or is it?

4:52AM PST on Mar 1, 2011

And Ms."I'm from a rich influential family" has no right to "preach" about her mistake...Get someone from the REAL WORLD to speak about the problems involved in a teen pregnancy...For both the baby mama....and the baby daddy...as well as the child....There a THREE STORIES to be told,,,,

10:15AM PST on Feb 10, 2011

And now I see ms.Palin is writing a memoir.....sorry-gurlie-I think that at 63 years old I MAY have had a bit of experience in my life that is relevant...unlike yourself....who had a child-wasn't married-PLUS had rich and influential parents...I HAD THAT SAME EXPERIENCE WITHOUT RICH PARENTS...PLUS MY BABY DADDY-whom I DID MARRY-left me for another woman....Actually I caught him in a motel with 2 at the same time....No-gurl-YOU AIN'T HAD IT ROUGH AT ALL....So you need to go lay down....

6:12AM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

It is true that the only way to make sure that you're never mugged is never to leave your house. History has shown that neither of these is a realistic expectation in today's world. Teenagers are NOT "keeping their legs shut". (The quotes are there because boys are just as responsible as girls for teenage pregnancies.) It is just as ludicrous to teach Abstinence Only in response to teen pregnancy and STDs, as it is to teach Never Leave Your House in response to urban crime. Since teens are NOT going to "keep their legs shut", then we need to be teaching them other ways (in addition to abstinence) of protecting themselves. Just as we teach our kids other ways to avoid crime (don't walk alone in dark areas at night, be constantly aware of who or what is around you, don't flash wads of money out in public, etc.)

10:13PM PDT on Jun 17, 2010

I like how you automatically put that spin on an effort to leave a better mark on this world. It's not like she could possibly be saying that thank God she got LUCKY and has a supportive family that can help both emotionally and financially with bringing up a baby. Thankfully she didn't have to drop out of high school and give up every dream and ambition for a daily struggle just to provide for this new life that she is responsible for. Maybe she could be trying to send the message to learn from her actions, the message that she got lucky and doesn't have to pay dearly for not "pausing", the message that others might not be so lucky or have it so easy. Bringing up a baby is not and easy glorifying task. Teens should hear that. So more power to Bristol for using her situation to send that message.

5:05AM PDT on May 18, 2010

Consider the source. Their political background is absurdist at best so an intelligent psa is over the girls head. Press the skip button and keep moving.

2:20PM PDT on Apr 22, 2010

I can't stand Sarah Palin however I did not take offense to Bristol's ad, she is saying the truth, without her families support and money her life as a teen Mom might have been much more challenging. I like the message,she is sending, now weather Teens will listen, that is a different story altogether.

9:20PM PDT on Apr 21, 2010

I would hope that God looks after Bristol and the baby. You can tell that she is her mothers daughter. The nut didn't fall far enough from the tree.

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