The Duggars

In the spirit of keeping this space equal parts sandwich, dress and social commentary, let’s talk about the Duggars (The stars of 19 kids and counting, a TLC reality show about the Duggars….who have 19 kids…and counting. KEEP UP.) It was recently revealed that years ago, their oldest son molested their daughters.

I present three statements / opinions / statepinions / opements:

1.) What a nightmare. What a freaking nightmare, for any parent. HOW DO YOU EVEN?

2.) The Duggars are not bad people. They are not monsters.  I think that they know that what happened was terrible, but since they are Christians AND TV stars, they are bumbling through how to appropriately react. They are people trying to raise their children in a way that they feel is right, according to their  belief system. I’m seeing a fair amount of judginess happening on social media, attacking their reaction to their son’s mistakes, and how they are handling it now, publicly. But what would YOU do, in their shoes? Is there even a right way to handle this? WHAT WOULD YOU EVEN? Of course they are stumbling through this. And of course they stumbled through their interview, tripped over the things they were supposed to say, because HOW. DO. YOU. EVEN. I feel bad for them. I really do.

3.) …There is something broken. I’ve watched a few episodes of this show here and there, as TLC is the PERFECT companion to late night lunch meat and procrastination. I’ve mostly watched the courtship and weddings of a few of the daughters. Basically, Duggar daughters are not allowed to kiss their husbands before they marry them. They are not allowed to be alone with their fiancée until they are married. If they hug, their bodies can’t fully touch. Their first kiss happens in front of family and friends at the altar. There is something kind of sweet and pure about this, sure  — but also, something kind of crazy. It’s a fine, fine line. Have The Duggars taken their values so far  that they are restricting the natural impulses of their children,  in a way that is ultimately damaging? If you teach your kids to ignore and overcome their sexual impulses, do they then associate their impulses with shame, try and push them down, but then succumb to them in ways that aren’t healthy? Survey says yes.

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