When Your Story of How the World Works Runs Up Against How the World Works

I’m running short on time this morning, but I wanted to say that the thing that struck me about this is how familiar it seems–from the whole “he got me drunk” to the “he cheated on me” to the “we were going to get married.”

I know it’s kind of bullshit of me, but I don’t want to talk about the truthfulness of this particular claim. Instead, I want to say that I believe Palin is telling this story how she’s telling it because it fits a specific narrative–how you have to be on-guard at all times or the wrong boy will ruin you and you’ll be stuck with him. This is abstinence-only how it actually plays out (not the cute “the only safe sex is no sex” bullshit people seem to think). And this is a world-view I know like the back of my hand.

I don’t know if she realizes she’s accusing him of raping her. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out over the coming weeks, since the statute of limitations on rape in Alaska hasn’t expired yet. I do know, quite clearly, she is accusing him of ruining her and forcing her to be stuck with him, when he’s a jerk.

I think there will be a lot of girls and young women who follow this story because the “he ruined me and I got stuck with him” part resonates.

I reckon they will be surprised to learn that there’s another way of looking at what happened–that it’s a crime and that a lot of people are grossed out by the thought of a girl’s family encouraging her to stick with her rapist.

That’s going to be eye-opening for some girls.

6 thoughts on “When Your Story of How the World Works Runs Up Against How the World Works

  1. A standard line of the abstinence movement is that girls can’t just have casual sex without falling deeply in love and “bonding” with an inappropriate partner. The girl is then either stuck with the wrong guy, or winds up with broken heart after the inevitable betrayal and has trouble ever trusting again.

    Since this meme is taught to girls over and over from birth, perhaps it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Girls may feel pressured by society to feel depressed and “ruined” when that first sexual relationship inevitably ends. They feel they have to suffer because if they didn’t regret the relationship, that would make them an unfeeling slut. Why can’t Bristol just own the fact that Levi was a jerk and she’s lucky to be rid of him? She doesn’t have to feel bad about it for the rest of her life!

    Instead of trying to instill useless guilt and shame in girls, wouldn’t it be better if we raised them with the same assumptions that we do boys? Boys assume they will have a number of girlfriends and sexual flings before they settle down in a serious relationship. While men and boys suffer after a break-up, they are saddled with the expectation that they are “ruined” for life because of it.

    Why is all the societal pressure to resist sex placed on girls anyway? Why do we have to be the gate keepers, always having to be vigilant to keep men’s sexual drives in check? Why can’t young men be responsible for their own sexual urges?

  2. Marriage can be the greatest blessing or the worst curse. You should never marry someone who you don’t respect or who doesn’t respect you by their behavior. Young people(as well as older people) now also have to deal with the sexting, you tube and other social media pics that can follow you around for a long time.

  3. Yes to all this. But as I read through those excerpts I just kept thinking what I’ve been thinking about since she started in on the abstinence campaign. What do these messages say to her (their) son? Even if Levi is all the huge and repeatedly horrible things she writes about, how can she have them printed, make money off them, knowing her son will some day grow up and be able to read about them?

  4. Elaborating on what Vvixen is talking about, I clearly recall being in my teens and hearing my contemporaries speak about their first sexual experiences and hearing the words “oh, but you’re always going to love your first” — I clearly recall a record scratching in my head. What? No you’re not. I found that to be the most ridiculous of modern fairy tales. But a lot of “friends” of mine bought into that nonsense. I’m just glad I didn’t. I was apparently wise beyond my years.

  5. This reminds me, too, of one of the things that I saw playing out in high school in the unofficial abstinence only days. (I came up before abstinence only was an official thing, but we were basically taught it was the only choice that didn’t fuck you up.) A lot of girls thought, once they were “ruined,” they had to have sex with any other boyfriends that came along.

    The idea that you could do it, find out “Whoa, you know, I’m not quite ready for that!” or “Man, I loved doing that with Jesse, but I felt a lot more trust between him and me than I do with Dave, so I’m not going to do that yet with Dave” was just unheard of.

    Once you were “ruined,” you were supposed to be open to whoever else wanted to date you. Thus, I think, there was a lot of pressure on guys to literally try to “take one” for the team, because it made a girl available to all boys.

    It’s really a fucked up view of sexuality, and really damaging to everyone.

    But here we are.

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