Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bristol Palen's Media Tour

What are they thinking?

I don’t blame Bristol Palin one bit for flaunting her status as an unwed mother. She’s just a kid. And besides, there’s certainly no evidence that her genes or family culture would discourage her from seeking the limelight. But what about the adults involved in this ill-conceived (pardon the pun) public spectacle?

As someone who has more than a passing knowledge of teenage logic, I can tell you two things: 1) they crave role models, and 2) they tend to be very concrete in their thinking. What you see is what you get.

So we take an attractive, unmarried girl who got pregnant by her handsome, athletic high school sweet heart, and what are the consequences? First, she and the sweetheart appear on national television at the Republican National Convention. The girl’s mother shares her joy at the prospect of being a grandmother. The presidential hopeful beams with pride as though he were the expectant grandfather. The crowd roars approval. The girl’s name is suddenly a household word all over America. I wondered at the time how many girls in good Republican homes watched all that and got a very different message than their parents might have expected.

Take Two. The child is born in December and, the media being what it is, celebrated like an heir apparent. The baby is, of course, adorable—clean, quiet, and cuddly. Mother and child are getting lots of attention.

Take Three. Bristol Palin—to all appearances, unencumbered and not the least bit inconvenienced by having a baby—is launched on a celebrity tour, palling around (to borrow her mother’s favorite expression) with teen idols like Hayden Panetierre, and obviously having a wonderful time.

All this is going to discourage young women from having sex?



Idna said...

Did you actually bother to listen to anything that Bristol Palin said to those impressionable teens that you are so protective of? She pointed out that having a baby is a full time job, that she wishes she would have had this baby much later in life, that abstinence is the only way to make sure that this doesn't happen to them, etc.

So your last paragraph is a total misrepresentation. A little fair and balanced honesty would be nice. And who the heck is Hayden Panetierre???? And who cares???

Citizen Jane said...

Hi, Idna,

I heard what the young lady said. But you've heard the old expression, "Do as I say, not as I do." I doubt if many teens have the imagination to make the leap from what they see to what she says. I don't think she's a very good ambassador for the cause.

Besides, there's the whole question of trying to sell abstinence as the only way to prevent pregnancy. I doubt very much if she's accomplishing much of anything constructive--except perhaps keeping the Palen name in the news, if you call that constructive.

Idna said...

Au contraire, mon amie. Your dismissal of Miss Palin's words of caution to other teens as a worthless 'do as I say, not as I do', has a bit of a flaw.

There are countless "ex-sinners", for lack of a better word, who are instrumental in convincing people to 'NOT do as THEY DID' through their testimonials. Look at the ex-junkies who try to convince youngsters to stay off drugs. Do the kids automatically blow off their message just because the reformed junkies USED to do drugs?

How about organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous? Is there no value in ex-drunks trying to shine a light on the dangers of alcohol? There are many examples of people(ex-smokers, ex-criminals, etc.) seeing the error of their ways, giving valuable info to others to try and save them from making the same mistakes.

I bet if Bristol's last name was Gore or Obama or Biden, or any name with a D after it, you would extoll her for her courage in trying to be an advocate against teen pregnancy. (Just a wild guess knowing the hatred you have for her mother. No Palin can EVER do anything right.)

Citizen Jane said...

I do not hate Sarah Palin. I wouldn't waste the energy. I have no respect for her—which is an intellectual, not an emotional, matter—and that has nothing to do with her daughter.

All I'm saying is that kids go for images, not ideas. And to the average teen, Bristol's going to look like she has a BIG payoff for getting pregnant. (You have no idea how many times kids have said to me, "Sure, I knew it was wrong—stupid, dangerous, etc.—but it was worth it!")

Idna said...

On this Mothers Day, a thought occurred to me. When Bristol Palin found out she was pregnant, she did not sneak away to the abortionist. She was going to live according to her beliefs. That's courage.

When her mother was tapped as a running mate to be Vice-President of the U.S., she did not try to urge her child to abort the grandchild that was forming inside her. Even though this was going to cause tsk-tsking by the oh so "moral" left and every late night comedian. She did not whisk her child off to some secret clinic to avoid political embarrassment.

I would like to wish a happy Mothers Day to Bristol and Sarah and laud them for the courageous women they are.