Bristol in Bazaar: We Should "Take Responsibility for Ourselves"

What Women Really Think
May 26 2010 2:20 PM

Bristol in Bazaar: We Should "Take Responsibility for Ourselves"

Harper's Bazaar has an interview with Bristol Palin in their next issue , which hits newsstands June 1. She talks mostly about her life as a single mother in Anchorage-where she has just purchased a condo with her own money, finally moving out of her mother's home. Bristol is "fiercely proud" of her new home, says writer Elisa Lipsky-Karasz. "I'm on my own," Bristol tells Lipsky-Karasz, "I'm a hard worker."

What is troubling about this interview is not Bristol's admirable work ethic. It's her twin opinions on abstinence and welfare. Bristol preaches abstinence as a spokeswoman for the Candie's Foundation. In a controversial PSA for the foundation that aired earlier this year , Bristol emphasized how difficult her pregnancy would have been if she were not a Palin: "What if I didn't come from a famous family?" she says in the ad, as the fine furnishings in the room are stripped away and her smart suit is exchanged for lesser duds. "What if I didn't have all their support? What if I didn't have all these opportunities? Believe me, it wouldn't be pretty." The not-so-subtle message seemed to be: Poor young women should "pause before they play" because they can't afford babies, but privileged teens don't have to be so careful.

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This messaging is echoed in the Bazaar article. Bristol says she doesn't understand why people think her abstinence message is hypocritical, even though she ignored such preaching before she got pregnant with Tripp. "Like, if you get lung cancer from smoking, why wouldn't you want to tell people, 'Hey, look, don't smoke.' Why wouldn't you want to be productive and share your story and do something positive with it?" But then later, she says she doesn't like Obama because "[H]e is making more Americans become dependent on government, and he's acting like government can and should take care of everyone. ... We should be expected to take responsibility for ourselves."

Again, it's easy for Bristol to say that everyone should "take responsibility" for themselves when her entire speaking platform and the money for a new condo are due to her family's connections.

Jessica Grose is a frequent Slate contributor and the author of the novel Sad Desk Salad. Follow her on Twitter.

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