A Case for Not Canceling the Duggar Ladies | Giftie Etcetera: A Case for Not Canceling the Duggar Ladies

Friday, May 29, 2015

A Case for Not Canceling the Duggar Ladies

In light of the revelation that the oldest Duggar, as a teenager, committed inappropriate and illegal acts against five girls, TLC elected to cancel the show 19 Kids and Counting.

I was a huge fan of the show.

Now, I am not the kind of Christian depicted in the show. In fact, I found a lot of the show offensive.

I worried about the idea of courting instead of dating. (To me, courting seems more like an arranged marriage, while dating seems more self-selected.) I have no issues with big families, but 19 seems enough to risk the life of mom and new babies. Also with 19 kids, there just isn't any way to give any child enough attention. I worried about the females. I wondered what kind of abuse any of the children would face if they were gay or lesbian. Would there be a shunning? Would they be forced to hide or lie? Would the kids ever learn science?

But I love my anthropology classes in college, and for me, watching the Duggars was a form of education. I tried to understand people who were very different from me. In addition, as a productivity blogger, how the household was organized was fascinating. The social makeup of the families' mini-society was intriguing.

But I a pro-equality for women and I am profoundly against child abuse and neglect.

Even putting aside the teenage male's actions (which were not okay, just to say it explicitly), I couldn't disagree with the cancellation of the show. Just cutting the offender from the show would not be enough. After all, the parents did NOT stop the offender from contact with the victims.

The parents were adults when the offenses happened. They were in charge. Once they found out about the abuse, it was neglect to NOT keep the offender away from the females in the household.

So, for several days, I said nothing.

But something was nagging me.

No, I did not think that because they were Christian and forgiven by God (assuming, for argument's sake, that they were forgiven) that viewers should forgive them. My children watched that show (albeit with mom whispering, "no, Ander, sex is not like putting together Legos" and "no, Loki, they are wrong about when the Earth was created"). They hid this criminal activity from me, and my children now want to know why this is in the media all the time. What do I say? "These nice looking people are monsters?" My children would never trust again.

No, I did not think that the parents were innocent. If anything, a 14 year old can, understandably, do really stupid stuff. At 14, stupid is kind of the norm. The parents were the ones who failed to take appropriate action (which, for me, means a minimum of NOT ALLOWING CONTACT WITH THE VICTIMS).

But what about the victims?

off topic, 19 kids and counting, duggars, marriage, Christianity, parenting

It is reasonable to assume that the female Duggars got paid a lot per episode. 19 Kids was their job. Those weddings and childbirths were filmed with compensation.

That's right. TLC canceled the employment of the innocent victims.

How is that okay?

Did they get a choice in the matter? Did the young ladies get to decide if they wanted to continue with the show? Did TLC continue to pay the victims, even if they stopped filming?

I don't know those answers.

But I certainly hope the offense against these young women was not compounded by them losing their jobs for having been harmed.

TLC could do a spin-off with the women featured (other than the mom, who had an obligation to protect her daughters). That seems much more reasonable than taking away the employment of the victims for the offense of being molested, doesn't it?


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Pierced Wonderings said...

I've had a really hard time with all things Duggar because of my own history. I can see the side that says "this was these women's livelihood" but I'm weary of making folks celebrities for no apparent reason. I'd LOVE to get compensated just for living my life and letting people film my life, but I won't. And I wonder - do the girls want to be in the spotlight? Or do they want to quietly retreat to their lives and live the way they were raised to?

So many things to think about.

Stopping by from Sharefest

Unknown said...

Never really watched the show and I know my children have not either. Reason behind that is that I will not give air time to a group of people that HATE. It is one thing to live your life, it is another to have your views, and it is yet another to spew HATE.

I personally am glad that this hypocritical family is off the air.

Those parents are the worse of the worse and I hope they are being investigated as there are still minors in that home.

He too should be investigated.

As for the victims, as a parent this is where my worry lies. Hope that they are receiving the necessary mental health treatment that they need.


Anonymous said...

Living in the UK, I didn't really know anything about the family, or about the sort of lifestyle they advocated. When I started googling, I found a ton of stuff from people who are spending their adult lives basically dealing with PTSD from having been raised in similar environments and/or with similar methods that the Duggars allegedly use on their children. Including 'blanket training' infants and if you express dissatisfaction with your (mandated by your parents) role in life then you're sinning against God, and stuff. Really, really creepy IMO :-(

Thought: do the women appearing in the show even get their own money? Do they have their own bank accounts? Or is it all held for them by their husbands/fathers?

But the bulk of my concern is also for the female children in that household. My understanding from reading around the internet is that the only reason (basically) one of the girls got to go to college was because there was an outcry that the parents had sent the boys but weren't going to send the girl. So now she's getting a further education which might not otherwise have been available to her. As far as I can discern, the assaulted children have not been offered any form of counselling or emotional support, while they sunk quite a lot of money into the reformation of the sexual predator (which, like, is a good thing, but you could spend some money on your female offspring once in a while too).

I'm torn between whether continuing/restarting the show would be a good idea or not. I'm concerned about that sort of lifestyle (restricted life options for females, minimal choice/autonomy for any of the children, corporal punishment of minors) being portrayed as a good thing, and I know a lot of people admired the lifestyle and sought to emulate it which frankly just sounds horrific to me. But on the other hand, good things came out of the show being aired. Would the sexual assault have been even addressed at all (even if it's now rather after the events), were it not for their fame? What messages will other families harbouring sexual predators take away from this - because make no mistake, a lot of sexual violence goes on within family homes, the vast majority of child rapists and child molestors are family members and/or close family friends, and frankly I think it's impossible that none of those thousands of parents out there know that this is happening under their roofs - Will they see this as a message that this stuff is not okay and they have to bring it out into the light so it can be looked at and examined and worked through? Or will they double down harder to hide it because of fear that they might also lose their livelihoods if they're caught?


Anonymous said...

Have just read this blog post (http://www.chicagonow.com/becoming-supermommy/2015/05/rape-is-like-potty-training/) which includes an image of a worksheet allegedly used by the Duggars around assault and sexual abuse. I am beyond disturbed. Like the blogger the only conclusion I can come to is that this worksheet was designed to teach the girls that if they didn't forgive their rapist for raping them, they'd be committing a bigger sin than he did.


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