Bristol Palin on the cover of People – will her words hurt her child someday?

Bristol Palin is on the cover of People this week holding her baby, Tripp, while posing in her graduation cap and gown. Bristol is an advocate for abstinence-only education despite saying several months ago that it’s “not realistic at all” to simply tell teens not to have sex. On the cover of People, Bristol is quoted as saying “If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me, nobody.” Those are some pretty strong words considering that Bristol is right there holding her consequence and he’s adorable. She’s also called Tripp “The best thing that’s ever happened” to her. Doesn’t it sound like she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth?

MSNBC’s The Scoop questions whether Bristol should get top billing on the celebrity weekly, and reminds us that the Palin family don’t move magazines and it seems strange that Bristol would be featured a full two weeks after she got some press for her role as an abstinence ambassador.

The week’s most curious cover goes to People — Bristol Palin? In cap and gown? Really? If it ran when she was making the talk-show rounds a few weeks back, that would be one thing. Now it just feels out of context. Moreover, the Palins don’t sell well on the newsstand, which makes this coverage feel strange.

[From MSNBC] think it’s a decent cover, though, and give People points for using Bristol’s name prominently so that people will remember her.

What a picture! How did they convince Bristol to pose in her graduation gown with her baby? That picture tells the entire story.

And, it was a smart move by the magazine to make Bristol’s name prominent in the headline for those that don’t immediately recognize her face. Without her name, this could be seen as a teen pregnancy story with an unknown teen mom.

The quote in the dek will send this baby to therapy for years to come. It’s just a shame that Bristol didn’t think about this before saying it to a national magazine.

Bottom Line: Strong picture and smart headline make this another winner for People Magazine on the newsstands.

[From Cover Awards]

Maybe People thought that the mix of a young woman in cap and gown holding a baby would speak to the wider issue of teen pregnancy. They could be hoping to create a more issue-focused cover instead of relying on a popular celebrity. I agree with The Scoop that it’s a weak one. I’m familiar with Bristol, though, and have the impression that there’s not much she can say that would be of interest to me. She’s young and doesn’t seem to know exactly what she wants yet.

On one hand she talks about how much she loves Tripp, and that’s wonderful, but then she turns around and seems to say that the consequences weren’t worth having sex. You want to teach teens to avoid unwanted pregnancies, but that’s not worth creating a situation in which your child might read your quotes someday and feel unwanted. In a way Bristol is a great representative for abstinence-only education, which doesn’t make much sense and is completely ineffective. It’s kind of fitting that the public face of abstinence is a single teen mother who keeps changing her opinions. I wish her well and her baby sure is cute. I just wouldn’t be compelled to buy this issue.

Thanks to CoverAwards for the header image.

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40 Responses to “Bristol Palin on the cover of People – will her words hurt her child someday?”

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  1. CRAZINESS says:

    What a STUPID question in the header here! The question should be “HOW MUCH WILL HER WORDS HURT HER CHILD?”

  2. georgiagrl says:

    Young women in urban areas are the scourge when they get pregnant.
    I love how this girl is getting paid for “her story” all over the place, but yet talks about how hard her life is. I commend her in getting her HS diploma, but supposedly she and her older brother were running wild, and of course there are consequences to your actions but…. Anyone else see the the hypocrisy in the Palins, who probably have domestic help?

  3. truth-SF says:

    On the cover of People, Bristol is quoted as saying “If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me, nobody.”


    Wait a minute, wasn’t there news about a group of 15-17 year old girls in high school who made a pack with each other for all of them to get pregnant because they thought having kids were sooo cool some months back? So her saying nobody would want to have sex because of consequence is total bull! And to say that like she’s really suffering herself, please, her mom can just dip into the Alaska state funds if they ever fall on hard times. They’ve already been doing that anyway.

  4. teehee says:

    Emotionally the consequences ARE high; well thats because sex is something thats alot more than just a physical sensation– despite it being touted and used as nothing but that. It goes way deeper- spiritually, emotionally— my take is she means that if people would acknowlede the depth of impact that sex has on the two persons involved, it wouldnt be the big ‘game’ that most people try to play it as. People go after it like you would just go to see a movie or drink a soda– like it isnt anything more than the experience to indulge in without a second thought. Thats really NOT the case, when it comes to sex!
    Her acknowledging that having a child at her young age is a heavy burden, doesnt mean that she doesnt love her child, too, and she does show that she is grateful for him and enjoys him. But its just honest to say tht raising a baby is NOT a walk in the park, and its a lifetime responsibility, and a complete change of your life that cant be reversed…

  5. Ponytail says:

    teehee, I completely agree. I think both statements by Bristol Palin are true – she loves her child, but she can also acknowledge that having him at such a young age wasn’t a sensible thing to do.

  6. RJ says:

    I think she means that while she loves her baby, shoudl would have waited had she known all of the difficulties that require quite a bit more responsibility. If she would have had even a close idea of how difficult it would be, she wouldn’t be in this situation?

    Then she goes on to say that noone would have sex if they knew what they’d be getting into…. while I think that is a bit over zealous, I do think that it would help if teens did somehow get their heads wrapped around that!!

  7. dubdub2000 says:

    Oh, cool, so does that mean that now that SHE knows the consequence of having sex she will never ever ever EVER have sex again?

    LOLOLOL-(shaking my head, she makes Paris Hilton sound like she has a Phd)

  8. just a poster says:

    Umm so when did a teen mother talking about how hard it is to be a parent such a bad thing?

    Of course she loves her baby, but she is also talking about how life changing it is.

    And lets be honest here folks, it is hard being a parent. Very hard.

  9. When Tripp grows up and reads this, Bristol can just blame the father, who is absent in this picture and probably in his life. She can say she wishes she had waited until she found a man who was going to be a decent father…

  10. daisy424 says:

    @cb;Doesn’t it sound like she’s talking out of both sides of her mouth?
    Not at all in my opinion.

    I got pregnant at a very young age.
    Do I regret not waiting until I was older, yes. Do I love my child, absolutely.

    Just a poster said it well.

  11. kgirl82 says:

    my mother had me when she was 18 – she ALWAYS made sure I knew how much she loved me and would never change a thing. She also did everything in her power to make sure that I didn’t make the mistakes that she did, made sure I went to college etc…
    Being a young parent is not easy but saying that doesn’t mean you don’t love your child

  12. Wow says:

    Georgiagrl, I see the hypocrisy.

    I’m more interested in reading about the new dramas of Jon & Kate plus 8 non-couple.

  13. KateNonymous says:

    Just as you can be really happy with your life AND wish you’d done things differently, I don’t see why it’s hypocrisy to have two conflicting feelings about such a major life event. The hypocrisy comes more in her stance on abstinence-only education–but even that is hard for me to get too upset about. Who doesn’t radically change their opinion about issues when they’re that age? Most of us don’t have to do that in public.

    And yes, Bristol Palin chose to be on the cover of People magazine. But she wouldn’t even have that option if her mother hadn’t chosen to run for VP at what anyone could see what a tumultuous time for her family.

    I don’t care much about Bristol one way or the other, but I can’t really condemn her for being her age.

  14. Bodhi says:

    So she thinks that girls are incapable of having safe sex?

  15. anastasiabeaverhausen says:

    I’m just completely sick of that whole family and agree with the blurb in the story about how this cover seems odd.

  16. Anna says:

    With so much tremendous stupidity in the family, there’s a chance that Tripp will never actually learn how to read. So he might be spared having to read all this BS by a dumb, two-faced tart of a mother who, in my eyes, doesn’t really love him. No mother who truly loves her child could be moved to say such extreme things about her kid. Sure, a teen mum might say “I was really too young, I would have had you later if I could have” but to actually call your own son (or do we maybe chose to believe the conspiracy theorists who say that Tripp is actually Sarah’s baby – I still like that theory) a consequence nobody would ever want, that is unloving and just plain cruel.
    Poor Tripp, one truly doesn’t chose one’s parents.

  17. Ro says:

    If she were poor we would be having an entirely different discussion. I think People should be ashamed of themselves putting a girl who got pregnant with not HS diploma, no job, and no way of supporting herself on the cover of their magazine as if it is a good thing. I don’t pass judgement on the age at which people have their children because I had my first child at 21 but I also had an education, job, and was self-reliant.
    She is not and if her mother fit into a lower income bracket everyone would be wondering what the hell People magazine was thinking.
    I could care less what she has to say because I don’t believe for one instance that she is really the one taking care of this child on a day to day basis. Because if she were she wouldn’t have the time to do photo shoots, interviews, travel, and get a diploma.
    Real life is hard people and if we wanted to talk about consequences to teenagers maybe we should have gotten someone who is on welfare, foodstamps, and state paid insurance to talk about it.

  18. Money says:

    Bristol could screw around and have as many kids as Octomom since she comes from a wealthy family. Show the video of her giving birth, that might send a few teens the abstinence route.

  19. Celebitchy says:

    @RJ, Daisy and KateNonymous – that makes sense about how she loves her baby but may regret not waiting – thanks. I think I got focused on the fact that she first said abstinence wasn’t realistic and then she ended up advocating it. To me it became another example of how she wasn’t being consistent.

  20. Ria says:

    I think it’s natural to say that abstinence isn’t realistic, but I do believe that if more girls realized the emotional consequences, they might hold off. I’m going to encourage my daughter to wait until she finds a man who loves her – I’ll tell her that any many who REALLY loves her, that he’ll be willing to wait until she is ready.

  21. Patrice says:

    Ok. If this cover isn’t a complete attempt at the “You can have it all” idealism of teenage pregnancy, then I don’t know what is. Really People Magazine? An eighteen year old teenage mother smiling while holding her infant son in her cap and gown? This magazine is quickly going down the tubes. I’m glad that Bristol has HER life together, but most teen mothers aren’t fortunate to have parents who can afford nannies for their children and the opportunities to make millions of their own dollars by performing interviews in which their hypocrisy makes them famous. Her cautionary words from the story don’t really match the photos do they?

  22. Patrice says:

    Ro: I couldn’t agree more!

  23. Patrice says:

    Anna: No, the story (which I am inclined to believe) is that TRIG, Bristol’s baby “brother” is actually her child. Tripp is her’s.

  24. aleach says:

    she did have choices after she got pregnant-
    1. adoption (give it to a family that wont be whining about how hard it is to have a baby & blah blah blah)
    2. end the pregnancy (oh wait, her mom was running for v.p., dont want HER to look bad!)
    i used to feel kinda sorry for bristol being shoved into the spotlight but not anymore. i knew all about safe sex in high school and apparently so did she. she said they used protection “some times”. well, duh! what did you think was going to happen?
    at least shes got her diploma & a wealthy family to help her out. what about teens that have a lot less? im more concerned about them than bristol palin.

  25. aleach says:

    @bodhi- yeah, i guess its just us dumb girls that dont know how to be safe, huh?!
    no mention of how it takes 2 people to make a baby!

  26. Annie says:

    It’s kind of like “Do as I say, but not as I do” with this girl. Very few teens are going to respect/listen to that.

    I can’t wait for her to turn around and go “Hey, so remember how I was like Abstinence isn’t realistic? But then I was like, Abstinence is the only way? Ok, well now I think that people should just do it! YAY!”

    And it’s funny to me that pretty much, had she not gotten pregnant, she would have continued to have premarital, unprotected sex. Is that the lesson you’re showing kids?

    And I don’t want to hear the whole “She’s young, she’s stupid, people make mistakes when they’re younger.”

    Hi. I was her age once too and I didn’t get knocked up. Smoking pot, underage drinking, getting a C in math class, that’s a “stupid teenage mistake” Getting knocked up when you’re not ready is unbelievably stupid, irresponsible and selfish.

    @ Patrice’s Ok. If this cover isn’t a complete attempt at the “You can have it all” idealism of teenage pregnancy, then I don’t know what is I agree 100%. That’s exactly what I was thinking when I saw this, that and “Why won’t she disappear into the arctic?”

  27. the original kate says:

    so let’s see…i guess the consequences of having a baby as a teenager include being interviewed on tv and in magazines. please, please can we round up all the palins and palin-hanger-on types and confine them to wasilla once and for all?

  28. Bodhi says:

    Excatly, Alech! I (& all of my friends & classmates at a Catholic high school) had access to information about safe sex practices. And according to her own statements, so did Bristol.

    She & Levi CHOSE to have unsafe sex &, knowing full well the potential consequences of their actions, wound up with a kid.

    It isn’t that girls don’t know the potential consequences of their actions, its that people like Bristol Palin are complete & utter hypocrites. She makes teenaged unwed motherhood look like a damn walk in the park

  29. Cinderella says:

    Her statement is about as mature as she is, but what were we expecting? Motherhood doesn’t always make young girls grow up. Especially in her case since she’s probably getting tons of help.

  30. georgiagrl says:

    Let’s see:
    *First class travel from Alaska to NYC numerous times, plus ffirst rate hotels and meals and chauffuredcar service.
    * Apperarnce fees for Fox, ABC and everywhere else she has told her store.
    * Book deal
    No doubt she loves that baby, he’s an absolute doll, BUT
    Every teenage mother should have it so good. I think every one of them would say I wish I had waited to, so where’s their $$$$

  31. KateNonymous says:

    “Anna: No, the story (which I am inclined to believe) is that TRIG, Bristol’s baby “brother” is actually her child. Tripp is her’s. ”

    It’s not impossible–but based on the timing, it’s unlikely, IMO.

    “It’s kind of like “Do as I say, but not as I do” with this girl. Very few teens are going to respect/listen to that.”

    Depends on how it’s framed. “Learn from my experience rather than going through it yourself” is a perfectly valid stance.

  32. Anna says:

    Patrice: yes, you are right, I got confused (*head bonk*) with the names and the babies. So much for accusing someone else of being stupid 😀
    Still, it’s the best conspiracy theory we’ve had in a long time.
    KateNonymous: actually, around the time Trig was born I read a huge article (can’t remember where though, sorry) which contained a detailed time-line of Sarah Palin’s whereabouts, missing baby bump, hiding away of Bristol, etc. It was very well researched, with photographic evidence to match dates and claims. I was impressed and stunned. I really am inclined to believe this (and I’m a journalist, I don’t take everything at face value).

  33. jUDY says:

    So wqho is going to remember her in 20 years or even 5 years. What did she contribute to the world? Nothing ,she is just the kid of some politican who has now xhanged her mind about sex. A few months ago she said her mother was wrong and I guess her mother beat her or something because now she is trying to be a virigin again and say NO to SEX. She is just a chip off the old block her mother was pg when she got married and now spouts no sex and her kid didnt bother to get married and as soon as he had this kid she called her old boyfriend and dropped the kids father lol..that is some family.

  34. Annie says:

    Depends on how it’s framed. “Learn from my experience rather than going through it yourself” is a perfectly valid stance.

    I dunno…whenever I tried to convince my cousins not to sneak out of the house because it could get them into some serious trouble, they just were like “You did it.” and then I’d say “Yea and I got my ass beat” and they’d usually reply with “Well that’s cuz you got caught.”

  35. Rosanna says:

    I agree with teehee! If Bristol were our neighbor’s daughter we’d be more compassionate about her situation.
    Sex is often depicted as a pic-nic, which is NOT. The consequences of sex are deep even without pregnancy, let alone when one gets pregnant. A teen isn’t ready to have sex as much as s/he isn’t ready to vote IMHO.

  36. texasmom says:

    Man, that’s a lot of unplanned pregnancies in one family — Sarah’s oldest seems to have been accidental, and I kinda assumed Trigg was, too, and we all know that Tripp was. Half of the kids in this family were “mistakes”!

    On the other hand, I have read that half of all pregnancies in the US are accidental.

    (And before anyone rags on me, this is a GOSSIP site! So I’m GOSSIPING!)

  37. Zoe says:

    The Palin’s have one thing in common with Levi Johnston – they are all about as smart as a bag of rocks. That said, I am still struggling to come up with a reason Levi doesn’t have equal access to his child when it is ILLEGAL. The Palin’s are such hypocrites, criticizing Levi for going to the media about his baby in an attempt to get the rights they are denying him. They won’t let him take the baby out but yet they can flaunt his little face all over magazine covers and go on interviews all day talking about that baby. I can’t wait for this to go to court so Sarah Palin can realize what little power she really has in any of this. That poor baby is SO screwed.

  38. drm says:

    Yuck would this entire family just go exactly are they relevant to anything???? And featuring a young woman on People magazine who had a baby as a teenager and was working hard to get an education and support herself against less salubrious odds…now that would be a heart-warming story…not this over-privileged tw**

  39. KateNonymous says:

    @Annie, that tells me more about your cousins than it does about you.

    @Anna, that’s an article that would have gotten a lot more attention if there had been much behind it. And what’s the advantage to allegedly trading babies?

  40. Lauren says:

    All I can glean from that quote is that the sex wasn’t very good, and she now thinks there’s no such thing as good sex.

    A few posts here repeat the myth that people who have sex for fun think it’s a game. Sex is fun when you have it with a healthy, caring person whose proclivities align with your own, whether for one night or for a lifetime. No one ever said it wasn’t emotional. That’s why it’s satisfying.