On Bristol Palin, and Feminism

Let me start by saying that normally I would never write about Bristol Palin. I’m a firm believer in not rewarding the Palin family brand with my attention, but her announcement of her second unplanned pregnancy ginned up some mightily conflicting responses in my head.

Yes, hypocrisy is the first thought. She has placed herself at the forefront of the whole “abstain until marriage” movement, and has the added bonus of also coming out against gay marriage, meaning she has deep feelings about the sanctity of marriage until it comes to her own life. Perhaps.

But then I read her announcement. I read her announcement and all I could feel was sad. Any residual schadenfreude I felt evaporated when I read things like, “Honestly, I’ve been trying my hardest to keep my chin up on this one,” or “I know this has been, and will be, a huge disappointment to my family, to my close friends, and to many of you.”

And then I looked at my Facebook timeline, and my Twitter feed, and was dismayed to see some of the feminists I look up to gleefully discussing all the rumors involving Palin and exactly how many children she actually has had, all the sex she must be having to go and get herself all knocked up.

What the actual eff? Are we pro-choice, or not? Are we feminists, or not? Our stance shouldn’t evaporate because someone who aligned against our ideals suddenly finds herself pregnant and unwed. Yes, we can point out the hypocrisy, but as Palin hinted in her statement, she knows she’s been a hypocrite and needs no lecture.

We don’t need to slut shame her. That’s not what we’re about. Wanna prove that pro-choice means exactly that? Don’t vilify her for deciding to be a sexual being and then deciding to bear and raise the resulting child, even though she would likely not return the favor. We are no better when we do so.

Here, to me, is the perfect feminist response to Bristol Palin’s news:

“Dear Bristol:

Do not feel bad or feel shame that you had sex. And if having this child is what you want to do, we support your choice. We hope that some day, you will see that pro-choice women were the ones who supported your life choices as a woman without judgment, and will feel more open-minded about what that means. In the meantime, we wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy and a happy and healthy family.”

Was that really so hard?

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