So today my Facebook feed and news outlets have two rivaling headlines.
The Time Feminism Forces Me to Defend a…Palin
First and most importantly, SCOTUS has effectively shut down all those idiots terrified that Mark and Steve’s marriage, or Jane and Sally’s, will somehow threaten their own heterosexual homes. And to the national endorsement of equality for people who want to marry, I say YAY it’s about fucking time.
Second, and somewhat more disturbing to me, is the news that Bristol Palin is knocked up again outside marriage. It’s not that she’s pregnant or that she’s not married that bothers me: I could not possibly care any LESS about her sex life or the products thereof. It’s the really horrifying hypocrisy I’m seeing by “feminists”: a sort of disgusting glee in seeing the poster child for abstinence education brought low by her own sexuality.
Let’s set aside for a moment the pure nasty and gross behavior involved in smugly shaming a public figure for something that some consider a mistake (I say some because hello, not everyone considers pregnancy a mistake in or out of a legally bound relationship).
Let me also be clear that I find Sarah Palin utterly disgusting for her politics, and I think abstinence education one of the worst disservices conservative politicians have forced upon teens. Those are both entirely different posts.
I pretty firmly believe if you call yourself feminist you don’t get to judge another woman’s sexuality, PERIOD.
That means no slut shaming. EVER.
That means no side-eye about women who have multiple partners, women who have children on their own, women who are completely asexual, women who are in a traditional marriage, women who buy toys, women who take birth control, women who ARE IN CHARGE OF THEIR OWN SEX ORGANS.
No subtle or overt blaming the victim of a sexual crime (she was drunk/smoking pot/on X/dressed like a whore) because deep down you’re relieved that it didn’t happen to you.
No moral high-horse “we must SAVE them” attitude about anyone who voluntarily uses their body for money: that includes any sort of modeling, escorts, prostitution, dancing of any kind, porn, etc. (obviously, this point is barring underage or forced/trafficking crimes: I said voluntarily on purpose).
And no snarky smug “she got what she deserved” judging of an adult woman in her mid-20’s who gets pregnant outside marriage. Ugh.
First, by all accounts I’ve been able to find, Bristol Palin was paid to do abstinence speaking from the perspective of having been a teen-mom. I don’t agree with the abstinence only message in any way, but I can certainly see how that message might be something a 17 year old who’d gotten pregnant by mistake would be willing to speak about. I may not like her choice in message, but I appreciate her willingness to WORK in some way, and I don’t judge her choice in which to do so.
Second, this is not a teenager. Yes, she publicly took an “abstinence pledge” in 2009 and really, it’s none of my business whether she stuck to it or not before this. Honestly, I don’t care: her bedroom is her business, and she’s certainly not the first conservative politician/minister/”moral” public figure to be “caught” living a different life in private than she does publicly. But hey, I know I haven’t grown with experience since I was a teen: have you? In fact, I think if you polled a handful of people on the street most would assume a 24 year old woman is sexually active in this day and age: it’s not that fucking weird that birth control failed and she got pregnant again. It’s pretty likely that because of the pledge she took her abstinence only speaking engagements are over, so isn’t that sort of a self-fulfilling unemployment arena?
I guess I just don’t really see any benefit (to me or anyone else) in jumping on a bandwagon of “neener neener you aren’t perfect” nastiness just because I don’t agree with her politics.
Third, for those conservatives who insist that a woman’s sex organs MUST be owned by a man through marriage contract before creating life, SHE WAS FUCKING ENGAGED, for Gods’ sake. Other than the really uber-conservative sects, does anyone really expect an engaged couple to be abstinent?
As an aside, boy you babies-in-marriage-only types really are going to have issues if male ownership of uterii is the only proper way to have a family, because I’m pretty sure SCOTUS just tossed that shit right out the window…now that it’s finally legal for two uterii or two penii to be married without the opposite sex involved at all. And that’s just awesome.
What’s horrifying about being caught here is the same people who rail against conservative/abstinence education are the ones crowing about the public shaming of a woman’s sex life and her “fall from grace.” Um, sorry, but sex and pregnancy don’t equal a fall from grace: they pretty much just equal an addition to her family and most likely a career change in her case. So what? At what point do we as a society stop judging mothers by the circumstances of their pregnancy like we have any right to moralize their bodies and choices?
For the record, I’m thoroughly grossed out that I’m in a position to defend a Palin, but I don’t live her life, and I refuse to judge any woman’s sexual choices. I suppose as a thought experiment it’s good to test the boundaries of my insistence on non-judgement, but ultimately this whole news blitz and social media ishiness just put a bad taste in my mouth.
On a Friday.
I’m not impressed.
2 thoughts on “The Time Feminism Forces Me to Defend a…Palin”
Obviously I can't speak for everyone, but I don't think everyone who's judging her or saying she's \”fallen from grace\” is saying that on the basis of her being pregnant out of wedlock. It's judgment for facing public consequences of an action she's spoken again – being a hypocrite. Would it be equally judgmental to find a small amount of funny irony in a politician who enacts laws to reduce drug use and an then gets arrested for buying drugs? To me, it's the same scenario. Maybe it can't be, because there is inherent sexism and other issues related to the shaming that does go on related to sexuality, but I don't think it's the sexuality that's being judged here (by most people), the sexuality is just a vehicle for the hypocrisy, the hypocrisy is what's being judged.