Let’s Not Slut-Shame Bristol Palin

https://www.theblot.com/lets-not-slut-shame-bristol-palin-7746288
Abstinence advocate and single mother Bristol Palin has announced she's pregnant with her second child. Here's why we shouldn't judge — or slut-shame — her. (VanityFair.com photo)

Abstinence advocate and single mother Bristol Palin has announced she’s pregnant with her second child. Here’s why we shouldn’t judge — or slut-shame — her. (VanityFair.com photo)

Last week, a young lady named Bristol, of the Alaska Palins, used her blog to announce that she’s pregnant. The event was unplanned. Under these circumstances, the word one uses is “accidental.” Sometimes spelled “d-r-u-n-k.”

Bristol had understandable reasons to lose her grip: Her mother, Sarah Palin, recently lost her swell job on Fox News; her engagement to an age-appropriate Marine had been called off; and she is currently unemployed after working as an old-timey “taxi dancer” on TV. All she has is her Christian blog and single motherhood, for she already has one child she is raising alone, just herself (with the help of God, of course).

I confess I felt a twinge of schadenfreude when reading about her second blessed event, the way that most people do when breathtaking hypocrisy stands exposed. As an unwed teenage mother, Bristol Palin campaigned for abstinence after having her first child, Tripp, with ex-fiancé Levi Johnston, and bristled when Oprah gently suggested that just-saying-no to sex might be nice in theory but not so much in reality. Refusing to teach teenagers about sex on religious grounds tends to lead to befuddled virgins saying, “I don’t know how I got pregnant. We only did it that one time in his pickup while going to Bible camp so, you know, like, it didn’t count?”

Bristol has wagged her finger plenty hard at the fornicators, seemingly oblivious to the fact that she ought to be pointing that finger at herself. And yes, her stubborn lack of self-awareness is infuriating, but she doesn’t deserve to be slut-shamed. Because women don’t “deserve” that, OK? Female bodies are not morality tests. They are not jars of baby food, clutches of diamonds, bricks of heroin or any other substance where “purity” adds value. Bristol may be proud, vain and stunningly ignorant of the fact that heterosexual cis-normative intercourse makes babies, but her uterus didn’t conjure up a fetus all by itself. She is not the Virgin Mary, and it wasn’t the Holy Spirit doing this work. On the mortal plane, it always takes two to tango, and there are men involved.

Read more: Our Favorite Excerpts from the Palin Family Brawl Police Report

Getting all judgy on Bristol is the easy thing to do. Her opportunities in life have come exclusively because she’s Sarah’s daughter, making her an attractive proxy for political hypocrites who preach one set of behaviors, practice another and win elections anyways. Her accidental pregnancies are opportunities for the chaste to preen, the marrieds to gloat and the churchy to gossip. But in this day and age, getting pregnant out of wedlock — a phrase still peculiar enough to betray its 13th-century origins — shouldn’t be cause for mass shaming. Bristol didn’t commit a crime, and she has never run for elected office. Like thousands of young women everywhere, she’s mostly guilty of poor judgment, including her choice of men.

And now she is pregnant again. So, hey, what about that unnamed father of bun No. 2, who might have thought to bring his own condoms and, I dunno, maybe use them? Men are capable of buying spermicides and Trojans all by themselves and using them without women having to remind them. Perhaps it is time to start turning a gimlet eye on their sexually irresponsible behavior instead of constantly wagging our fingers at the women, because every time a young lady gets “accidentally” pregnant, it’s because a man “accidentally” put his penis in her. Well, oops!

At the very least, perhaps this time, Bristol Palin might start to understand the virtues of empathy, as she comes from a state where the rates of sexual assault are three times higher than average, and the majority of victims are Native women who don’t go on “Dancing with the Stars” so their see-thru costumes can be judged by the American public.

Petulantly, Bristol has announced that she “doesn’t want any lectures,” and so far, mama bear has yet to comment publicly on her daughter’s condition. Now that mother and daughter are both unemployed, perhaps the two of them might find the time to listen to the abused women of Alaska and shine some light on the face of domestic abuse and sexual violence, where the price of getting pregnant by unnamed strangers isn’t enduring sniggers and Twitterhate, but a lifetime of grinding despair where there is no justice, only judgment.

Paula Lee is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine.

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