I have a problem with a certain reality tv show which features a prominent American Fundamentalist Christian family moving on. Even when the show was in its heyday, a significant part of me knew that this family was posing as wholesome and traditional and disagreed with the airing of it. To me, I didn’t like the undercurrent of misogynistic views, blatant hatred for the LGTBQI community and lack of further education.
I can respect the families firm faith and beliefs – and even can commend them for sticking to them amidst the turmoil and scandal. What I cannot respect is the above mentioned faults.
I feel bad for the women of the Duggar clan. I really do. Their faith demands and preaches men are leaders, teachers, initiators, protectors (perhaps predators) and providers while women are ‘helpmeets’ who are to serve men by being submissive and yielding. Their faith dictates that family planning and feminism should be eradicated. This quote from the family matriarch says it all. “Duggar women don’t get headaches. You always need to be available when he [your husband] calls.” Uh…excuse me?? Call me crazy – but I think anyone should have the right to deny anyone else access to their body. Women in the Duggar clan are objectified – even though they will deny this based on their staunch religious principles in which they value modesty above all else. Duggar women aren’t sentient beings with unique needs, desires, and ambitions. A Duggar woman should desire only to reproduce, as their religion encourages women to reproduce at production-assembly rates, bearing child after child, year after year. That isn’t a traditional value – that’s reproductive abuse.
The patriarch of the family has been quoted as saying that they ‘love everybody’. However I can honestly say that this isn’t true. In 2014 the Duggar family was in the forefront of a horrible campaign against the LGBT community in Arkansans. They used their fame to have a non-discrimination ordinance repealed. At the helm of this Michelle made transphobic robocalls to push the family’s discriminatory mission. The family has ties to the FRC (Family Research Council) which is an anti-LGBTQ group in which the eldest son was the executive director. This is just the tip of the iceberg of their homophobic/transphobic agenda. Ok, I get it Duggar’s you love everyone as long as their white, male, Christian and heterosexual….that seems a little……gay….doesn’t it?
Finally, their traditional values extend into their education. All of the children are homeschooled and follow the curriculum of the Advanced Training Institute, a Bible-based homeschooling program, among other faith based curricula. The curriculum come in the form of Wisdom Books which you have to be an approved member of the ATI group in order to purchase. These books cover everything from modesty in the home to how to deal with sexual abuse. Yup, how to deal with sexual abuse…specifically in the home…and blame the victim. Higher education isn’t valued – instead the family focuses on ‘hands on’ experience or taking courses through an online Christian organization called ‘CollegePlus’. In short, most of the teachings state that women are not to have careers outside the home, daughters should actively be discouraged from considering such; higher education is problematic for children of either gender, but specifically for girls because having large numbers of children is the only Godly path available to them.
Most of all, what my problem with this show is that it is attempting to be a show promoting a family with modest and traditional values but what it really promoting is an oppressive religious agenda for those adopting Biblical Family Values.