How did Bristol Palin score her lucrative gig on ABC's Dancing with the Stars? By being related to one of the most polarizing political figures in recent American history.
How has the media treated Bristol Palin during her stint? Like someone related to one of the most polarizing political figures in recent history. In other words, pretty harshly.
But here's a question: Is it possible to loathe Bristol's mom, Sarah Palin, but give her daughter a pass? To lay off the commentary about her clothes, or to refrain from ripping her for appearing in a bar during a segment taped for DWTS?
The elder Palin probably does deserve most of the aspersions that are thrown at her. She is the sort of outspoken, family-values conservative that's ripe for criticism. Take her claim to be a fully involved "hockey mom" who puts family first -- attending her kids' sports games, etc. Anyone can see how implausible this is, considering the obvious demands of her high-profile political career. Most famously, Sarah's own daughter unwittingly -- and embarrassingly -- revealed the hypocrisy of her views on sexual abstinence.
But Bristol herself is only 19. While she has made some disastrous choices (like, say, getting involved with Levi Johnston), she does seem to be trying to make the best of her situation. Yes, she is stiff and inarticulate -- not good qualities in an activist of any sort, including one for teen moms. But she is only a teen. How many 19-year-olds are really that articulate?
Several weeks ago, Bristol did a brief interview with People magazine after the press conference announcing DWTS' new cast. Her remarks got a lot of coverage. "I think I will be the most-dressed contestant and have the most modest outfits for sure because that's who I am," she said. Was her comment unprompted? Of course not. No doubt the reporter's question was along the lines of, "How will you stay true to your conservative image when the outfits on this show are so trashy?"
This week, Bristol's latest remarks to People have also been widely repeated. "We're doing the sexy dance next week, and I have to get into character," she says. "Dressing sexy will help me get into character more. Next week, I'll be dressing sexy. This is it." And that contradiction -- between this statement and her earlier one about modest outfits -- has naturally led some in the media to cry "Hypocrite!"
But I won't be joining them. I think the younger Palin has managed to maintain a sense of integrity, if not grace, throughout her stint so far on DWTS. No doubt she'll get more criticism after Monday night's episode, regardless of what she wears. I'm just not so sure that this Palin deserves it.
Do you think the media is too hard on Bristol Palin? Chime in below!