New mother Bristol Palin used the “Palin-family-doting Fox News” to make a “decidedly non–Fox News” point about abstinence-only sex education, said Cristina Page in The Huffington Post. It’s “not realistic,” the 18-year-old daughter of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told Greta Van Susteren. (Click here for the video) If she uses that kind of “media mastery,” the “lovely, humble, honest” young Palin will go far toward her goal of being a great “advocate to prevent teen pregnancy.”
How effective can she really be at discouraging teen motherhood? said Jenice Armstrong in the Philadelphia Daily News. At least “from outward appearances, she doesn’t look so bad off.” Unlike with many unmarried teen moms, the baby’s dad is in the picture and Palin has a nice house, family day care, food, and even “a taste of celebrity.”
Her brand of celebrity makes her views on sex education inevitably political, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. Palin did say that while “everyone should be abstinent, it’s not realistic at all” because teen sex is “more and more accepted”—but that’s the point of abstinence education, to push back against that acceptance. Besides, teaching that abstinence is the only foolproof method of birth control doesn’t mean you can’t also teach about contraception.
Don't underestimate the value of Bristol's experience as a cautionary tale, said Rebecca Traister in Salon. The interview was "nearly painful to listen to, so vulnerable and untrained was her description of her love for her son, and her wish that she hadn't had him so young." Her unscripted answers weren't politicized, just honest, and they probably hit home for teens much more than "the politicized jabbering of her elders."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- America is doomed! (And other thoughts on our gloomy historical moment.)
- 11 weeknight dinners you can make without a recipe
- If Scotland leaves the union, is Northern Ireland next?
Subscribe to the Week