If you haven’t seen it yet, you have to check out this PSA regarding teen pregnancy, courtesy of — wait for it — Bristol Palin. Yup, that’s right. The daughter of former GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who got pregnant at 17, is speaking out for abstinence to prevent teen pregnancy.
But it’s not who she is (or who her mother is) that bothers me so much as the actual ad. Take a peek.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!!? I have so many problems with this ad I don’t even know where to start. So let’s break it down by examining the sights and sounds.
“What if I didn’t come from a famous family?”
We start off with young Bristol and her son Tripp. She’s impeccably dressed in a stylish jacket and pants. Her hair and makeup are flawless. Her son is also dressed to the nines, complete with an obnoxious “Joe Six-Pack” pair of construction boots. She is standing in the middle of a beautifully furnished apartment. She is rich. She is famous.
“What if I didn’t have other support?”
By the way, “other support” clearly means her pitbull hockey mom all-American mother Sarah. You know, the woman who was defending aerial wolf hunting and viewing Russia from her porch while her teenage daughter was being impregnated.
“What if I didn’t have all these opportunities?” Believe me, it wouldn’t be pretty.”
At this point we see a very different shot of Bristol. She’s in the same room, but a close-up of her face reveals no make-up, chapped lips and disheveled hair. When the camera pulls back we see all the fancy furniture is gone. Instead, the bare white walls are reminiscent of the insane asylum. The tattered love seat is the only furniture in the room. And even though Palin was holding Tripp in the beginning of the TV spot, now he’s wandering around in a onsie and Bristol isn’t even keeping track of him. Life. Is. Not. Good.
“Pause before you play.”
Look, I understand her heart might be in the right place. She’s a teenage mother and she wants to prevent other teenage girls from sharing the same fate. But the way this was written and produced is downright insulting.
To me, all this says is rich and famous teenage girls will be OK if they get pregnant. But poor teenage girls who don’t have famous politicians for parents are completely fucked. And to drive home that point (and probably to scare all the spoiled trust fund kids out there) Bristol clearly illustrates that teens without babies will have Vera Wang clothes and top of the line interior decorators. But as soon as that kid comes? Forget about it. You will end up with all the other moms on crack in the ghetto. You will be on welfare and you will not be able to afford food, drapes or those designer baby construction worker boots.
But what really bothers me is the message that poor girls will automatically be deadbeat moms who don’t look after their kids. Because that’s what poor people do right? They live off the government’s dime and neglect their children.
But wait, didn’t Bristol Palin — part of the rich and famous elite — get pregnant? Yes, she did. But it’s OK you see, because her family is loaded. And that’s much more acceptable than a 16-year-old girl getting knocked up in the slums of some inner city. She is clearly on a higher moral plane. That’s why what she did is copacetic. But you poor people better watch your step, because you wont’ be able to handle the same burden without deep pockets.
I hope she means well and was just given some bad advice in doing this spot. While I don’t agree with abstinence (until I have a daugher, that is), I do commend this group for advocating that girls should wait until they are older/ready to have sex. But in doing so in this manner and with this particular message, they’ve also widened the gap between the haves and have nots by implying that the rich will take care of their pregnant teens while the poverty stricken knocked up teenage girls will end up alone, unsupported and living in a crack den.