Posts Tagged ‘teen pregnancy’

Why it’s Bristol Palin, of course.

I’m at the grocery store yesterday, stocking up on celebrity gossip groceries, and I find myself inevitably drawn to the vision of Bristol Palin on the cover of People Magazine, wearing both her graduation gown and her baby….

Just a couple of months ago, Bristol was chatting up the failures of abstinence with Greta Van Susteren.

Today, the daughter of Alaskan royalty has become the most visible spokesperson for the “just say no (to sex)” movement.

“Think about the consequences,” she’s telling teen girls via the People story (because teen boys, as exemplified by the Palin situation, don’t need to bear the burden of parenthood.)

I’m just not sure that pictures of a pretty teenager and her adorable baby are the right medium for this particular message. She is, after all, a teenager raising her baby outside of the sanctity of marriage. In my opinion, Bristol has taken on one of the very hardest jobs available today, that of single parent.

And I’m not sure that pointing to her baby as an “ooops – I did something you don’t want to do at all” is the right message for any mother to be saying about her child. That’s a tricky road to navigate, frankly.

And I honestly don’t know how she does it. According to the People story, the Palin family has no nanny – but the girl has the time to take care of her baby AND study for finals too.

(With both Sarah and Todd working, I do wonder who’s minding the children, with no nanny or parent around to supervise at home….)

Certainly, with interviews on Fox and a cover story in People, it seems like Bristol’s post-high school career is taking shape – talking about the downside of having a baby, with her own baby on her lap. We wish her and her baby the very best.


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Levi Johnston is the focus of media attention these days because he shared gossip about his ex with his new friend, Tyra Banks. And thanks to Levi – thanks to the Palin family who first brought Levi to our attention – I realize that locker room gossip has left the locker room for the much more public forum of the televised media interview.

I know a little bit about locker room gossip. When I was in high school, my best friend Laura and I used to eat lunch in the boys locker room all the time. Not alone, as some kind of weird dare – but with a bunch of boys. Our buddies.

In retrospect, kind of weird to be chatting with the boys over PBJs in the locker room. But cozier than eating in the cavernous lunch hall with hundreds of other students.

Listening to the locker room gossip of my buddies is how I know that teenage boys love to talk about girls – but they don’t love to talk about commitment. They love talking about boobs instead of brains. They love talking about their sexual exploits – real or imagined. A girl who gives the hint of being “sleazy” gives them all the ammo they need to gossip all they want in a rather salacious fashion….

In this day and age, however, the locker room now extends into our living room, thanks to cable. And the gossip about a girl who slept with a guy is now broadcast on multiple channels.

It starts in one locker room – the Tyra Banks Show, which promotes the gossip on its website. And because the gossip concerns sex in the family of the nation’s most vocal advocate of abstinence, a million other media outlets pick up the next installment in the Palin family Soap Opera, which I’m calling Knocked Up Under the Northern Lights. (more…)

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Bristol Palin spoke to Greta Van Susteren the other day about the impact motherhood has had on her life. I briefly mentioned it in my post from yesterday, but I remain haunted by the interview.

Strangely Famous for Being – and Having – a Mother
Bristol is 18, the child of a very famous public figure, yet she is herself a girl who remains untutored in the art of public speaking. Her answers are sprinkled with teen-speak phrases that include: “like,” “whatever” and “I guess.”

Her hesitancy and apparent shyness are in marked contrast to media savvy teenagers like Miley Cyrus and other child stars who cavort across the TV screen all the time these days. Despite the unending scrutiny that comes from living in a fishbowl, Bristol seems engagingly ordinary.

But she’s not ordinary. She’s a teen mom with a bully pulpit and she chose to sit down with Greta Van Susteren to share her message with her audience.

The ABCs According to Bristol
And it’s not necessarily “just say no.” (more…)

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So I was at the mall the other day, and as I wandered the landscape with my three small children, I saw a large billboard advertising an ABC show called “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” – which is, of course, an intriguing title for a show.

That the ad includes an image of a visibly pregnant teenage girl leaves me to wonder about the nature of the secrets shared between today’s teenagers.

The ad also leaves me wondering what my very young children think about such secrets and such teenagers – and in all honesty, I have to say I don’t want my children to think of teen pregnancy as an aspirational goal.

But I worry. Have we begun to glamorize the issue of teen pregnancy? Will seeing TV shows like Secret Life… and movies like Juno start a teen-pregnancy fad, much like watching James Dean smoking a cigarette glamorized smoking?

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