If You’re Slut-Shaming Bristol Palin, You’re Not Actually A Feminist

If You’re Slut-Shaming Bristol Palin, You’re Not Actually A Feminist

Bristol Palin has one child and is expecting another. The Internet explains why that disqualifies her from discussing pregnancy.
Bre Payton
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After Bristol Palin criticized a public school program that provides free birth control to children without parental consent, many have taken the opportunity to attack her personal life in an attempt to silence her.

Some of the headlines from around the web show the media isn’t interested in engaging with Palin’s remarks and lodging informed arguments against them, but are intent on shutting her up.

Consider a few of these headlines:

Salon: Just Shut Up, Bristol Palin: You Are The Last Person Who Should Talk About Birth Control

JezebelFormer Teen Mom Bristol Palin Is Very Upset That Washington Teens Can Get IUDs

Wonkette: Bristol Palin Outraged Other Girls Won’t Get Knocked Up In High School Like She Did

Addicting Info: Jealous Bristol Palin Whines That 10-Year-Old Girls Are More Responsible Than She Is

All of these make it a point to mention Palin’s pregnancy in an effort to discredit her opinions on birth control. Their logic is essentially that because Palin had two unplanned pregnancies, she isn’t qualified to have an opinion on birth control.

Granted, Palin isn’t the best person to be a spokesperson for an abstinence advocacy organization, as clearly she isn’t practicing what she preaches, but that doesn’t strip her of the right to have a say on the reproductive process. Palin does have a point. After all, providing 10-year-old girls with IUD’s without getting their parent’s consent is extreme.

Should women have access to birth control? Absolutely. But whether or not it should be provided to them by the state is another question entirely. Additionally, distributing contraceptives to minors without parental consent is a reasonable policy to take issue with, especially when those minors are indeed 10-year-old girls.

Palin wrote:

It is crazy that the government is offering a controversial form of birth control that can have serious life-long side effects to 10-year-old CHILDREN, but then to do all of this behind a parent’s back is simply outrageous!

Wonkette does a pretty bang-up job of sounding like pregnancy-shaming jerks, while ignoring the merits of her concerns:

As for life-long side effects of using birth control, well, Bristol’s not wrong there. One of the life-long side effects of using birth control is being able to plan whether and when to have children instead of just saying oops! every time a baby mysteriously lands inside of your uterus because you don’t understand how to make that not happen. This allows women to graduate from high school without their caps and gowns smelling like baby poo. It allows them to go to college and pursue careers, and we don’t just mean as reality TV stars or spokesdicks for abstinence programs.

Seriously, Wonkette? Attacking a woman for deciding to keep her baby despite the hardships is low. Also, a baby has never mysteriously landed in one’s uterus. They are conceived during sexual intercourse or are implanted under the guidance of a doctor. Preventing pregnancy doesn’t require contraception, it requires abstinence, which isn’t all that weird or unrealistic to encourage.

Claiming that having a baby will stunt a woman’s career is totally bunk, as women are actually more productive in the workplace than their childless counterparts. Shaming a girl for having a baby at a young age and saying that she will be resigned to reality TV is terribly anti-woman. We ought to applaud young girls for having the courage to save the life of their child despite the difficult circumstances they face, and we ought to give young mothers a message of empowerment and self-worth. Yes, you may be young and pregnant, but that does not at all mean you cannot make something of yourself.

As Salon correctly pointed out, just because a girl is on birth control does not in any way imply that she is sexually active. Many rely on it to regulate their periods or deal with other hormonal imbalances. However, contraception can make young girls more vulnerable to sexual abuse. When the consequences of potentially impregnating a young girl disappear, abusers become enabled to take advantage her, as their abuse can remain a secret as long as she doesn’t grow a baby bump. As a mom and once a young girl herself, Palin is definitely qualified to object to a program that could make other girls targets for sexual predators.

While a woman of age or a girl with the help of her parents has the right to decide whether or not the benefits of such a device outweigh the risks, an elementary-aged schoolgirl is not in a place to decide this on her own. She should have her parents guide and help her to make the right decision. She definitely shouldn’t be secretly implanted with hormones — by the government, mind you — behind the backs of her parents. It is not extreme to want to keep government bureaucrats away from your 10-year-old daughter’s private parts.

The reaction to Palin’s remarks shows that many publications, especially those which tout themselves as progressive or open-minded, aren’t all that accepting of other perspectives. When it comes to sex, having an opinion that varies at all from the talking points of pro-abortion feminists will get stamped out by the media. If we really want a debate on the merits of schools providing contraceptives to children, perhaps we ought to let the parents of those children have a say.

Bre Payton was a staff writer at The Federalist.
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