Broken Daughters

Picking up the shattered glass of fundamentalism

The Image of P/QF and the Duggars

30 Comments

I have stated several times before that I think the Duggars are a very nice and sincere family and I have heard from people who know them personally that they don’t put on an act for the show – that they really are like that.

But I do see a general problem with the show and that’s the public image of the general P/QF movement. 19 kids and counting actually makes it look really good. I watch the show on a regular basis because it makes me feel a bit like… home. But I can’t stop myself from critizing the image of the typical P/QF family as shown in this show.

First off, the Duggars are a rich family. That’s a simple fact you can’t deny. I honestly believe that they practice their “buy used, save the difference” mantra and I believe that’s partially why they don’t have financial struggles, but let’s be honest here: That show makes them a lot of money, and so do their books, their meet-ups and their visits on multiple conferences each year. Did you realize that Jim Bob rarely ever seems to “go to work” in a traditional sense? He’s almost never really “busy”. He has lots of time to spend with his kids and wife. And this is why I believe that the family structure and the family relations are so much better within the Duggar family than they are in a normal QF family where the man of the house has to work all day, multiple jobs, to provide the basics for his large family.

Conclusion 1: The Duggars actually have time for their kids.

Let’s look at the way they dress: The Duggar girls aren’t dressed in an old-fashioned way. All of them wear pretty, modern clothes. I know that they say they buy only at thrift shops, but I think they’re talking about the upper-class thrift shop here. Not the ones with really outdated clothes for very little money, but the ones were you can find clothes from the latest seasons of fashion. Of course, this costs more. Not as much as new but this difference is a big deal for the normal QF family. The Duggars needn’t sew their own clothes or alter old clothes, they can buy fitting, modern stuff. Another point in the dressing issue is that not every QF girl is allowed to wear this type of stuff. I remember getting into a big discussion with my parents if jeans skirts and shirts were ok. In some families this isn’t possible, it’s too worldly. Jeans is considered men’s clothing in some families (forbidden in the bible). And on top of it all, the girls don’t always wear ankle-length skirts. Sometimes they just cover their knees. Dressing-wise, I’d consider them on the liberal end of the fundamentalist dress code.

Talking about the Duggar women, let’s look at Anna Duggar. Remember when Josh and Anna were courting/engaged? Anna never wore make-up. Her hair was long and didn’t look like she ever put much work into it. Her clothes were looser-fitting and plainer. Not that she looked bad, but she looked more like a typical QF girl. Look at her now: She cut her hair to shoulder length (VERY short for QF standards!), it’s always straightened and I believe she had some highlights and color put in (she was much more blond during engagement), her make up is noticeable and beautifully done, her clothes are much more modern, colorful and tighter. Her entire personality seems happier, bubblier, more outgoing (though this could be rooted in her shyness towards camera at first). She changed from this little wallflower into a blossoming, beautiful and seemingly strong woman. She is the walking image of how great the QF lifestyle is. I really like Anna Duggar, I think she was beautiful before and still is, that’s not the point. The point is that I get the feeling that she’s supposed to be a walking commercial for the P/QF lifestyle.

Conclusion 2: The girls don’t look crazy and weird, but worldly (though modest and nice). The show depicts women rather worldly looking, but happy and fulfilled in their traditional role.

And another thing about the Duggar girls: They don’t give this submissively oppressed vibe. The interviews with them are fun, they joke around, do funny faces. They seem to be running the place, have authority over decisions and their own opinions. They aren’t weird around others, they are open, talkative and funny. They have a great way to interact with people outside the movement. They never come across as judgemental and scared. This type of behaviour simply isn’t true for many girls who aren’t allowed to be so loud and outgoing. Many QF families see this as a problem in girls, that girls should be shy, quiet and meek.

Conclusion 3: The girls portrait QF as a fun, normal, fulfilling lifestyle for every girl.

The activities of the Duggars aren’t exactly boring either. They have a huge house with tons of options for the kids, a huge garden with fun activities. They go on trips all across the world, sometimes as family, sometimes just the parents or the kids. The boys and girls are members of the local volunteer fire department. They live in a world with lots of action and fun, while it is at the same time full of purpose and meaning. They put a heavy emphasis on learning through these journeys and activities. And that’s just not possible for many normal families, even secular ones. Plus, I think the fact that the girls too are members of the fire department is very strange. I don’t know any girl who would’ve been allowed to do such a thing. It’s men’s work. And that just doesn’t add up for me. I think it’s utterly unrealistic for the vast majority of P/QF families.

Conclusion 4: The show depicts meaning through fun, exciting activities and doesn’t show the boxes of men’s and women’s activities (like it would be the case in a normal P/QF family).

Probably the biggest minus of this show is that it doesn’t show actual problems and struggled in the matter of family and/or spousal relations. There are no glimpses of how the kids are “trained” or disciplined, neither are there fights between Jim Bob and Michelle. Everyone seems to be so close, so happy with each other, never getting into a serious fight. It’s not shown HOW the Duggars resolve conflict, between kids, kids and parents or between just the parents. Life looks peaceful and filled with joy and mutual respect and understanding. I don’t even believe there is much fighting in this family, after all they are well off with little worries for money, so not that much to fight about. The only struggle shown in the show was Michelle’s last pregnancy, and that was handled with almost inhuman strength and understanding from every member of the family. They make it look easy and natural when in reality that’s simply not true for most families. The show entirely ignores the struggles and fears of wife dealing with submission, child discipline, overwhelming amount of duties and so on. To the outsider, or to a person who’s playing with the thought of following the fundamentalist teachings, this show is extremely appealing.

Conclusion 5: The show doesn’t talk about struggles and problems with people in their “biblical” role and between people within the families. With God’s help, it seems, everything is easy and good.

Looking at this short and incomplete list of things that simply don’t appear in reality, I can no longer wonder why ex-P/QF people have such a hard time being accepted as abused. People have this beautiful image of the Duggars in mind and of course wonder “What was so bad about that lifestyle?”. They say things like “Get over it, let it go” because they don’t know how life REALLY is in the QF movement. I think the Duggars are to be seen as their very own version of QF and shouldn’t be used as example for all QF families, but that’s hard to understand for outsiders. I’m glad the Duggars seem to have found a way to get it to work more or less, but it makes us others, from families where nothing worked, look like whiney girls raving on about something that wasn’t as bad. And that, in my opinion, is an image in desperate need for a reality-check and some change.

30 thoughts on “The Image of P/QF and the Duggars

  1. I haven’t seen the show (we’re in a no-man’s land when it comes to TV) but my best friend has watched for years. She noted that young people are susceptible to all sorts of “new” lifestyles and honestly believe they can just drop into it and have it be “just like on TV.” Just another example of what I’ve said for years to those QF women–God put a brain between your ears for a reason. Not that they think so, however.

  2. Isn’t there a way to be modest yet stylish? We are not to have unduly concern over clothing yet the fact we need clothes..to protect and to cover..why not make it pretty and colourful? Remember the world judges outside appearance..why not have clothes match up to our beauty in Christ? Hmm..i know i’m saying this badly. We christian’s must guard against pride..and there are those precious sister’s in Christ who dress dowdy so as to appear spiritual..is it spiritual pride? Jesus said if we seek the kingdom of God..food..shelter.clothing will be added and He also said ‘look at the lilies of the field.how they spin and toil not yet solomon in all his glory is not arrayed such as these.Can’t we dress like the lilies of the field without losing our modesty and enjoy stylishness?

    • Just for the record, I’m not promoting “undressing”. I think the major problem in the modesty issue is the fact that many girls are taught it’s a sin to attract a man’s eyes. To avoid sinning, they dress in a way that makes sure nobody will look at them and think of them they’re pretty. Maybe not conciously, it’s more of a “better safe than sorry” idea. I do think you can be very pretty and stylish and colorful yet modest. In retrospective I can say that I’ve seen many girls at different conferences who were in fact very stylish and yet managed to keep it modest. I do think the Duggar girls are a good example of that nowadays, so is Anna Duggar. They do wear colors, some modest make up and jewelery, they look feminine yet not “slutty” or naked.
      What I meant to say is that a lot of people in the QF movement are so deeply indoctrinated to be totally different from the world that they end up looking like freaks. They believe everything the world does is bad, so they’ll dress in a way that makes girls look like they’re wearing rags and potato bags.

      • Great comment brokendaughter’s! I agree that we as women need to be careful to dress modestly so as to not be a stumbling block to men. And also we can dress nicley and colourfully. I know that in the muslim culture..women are covered up so as not to attract men.One of the problems i have with this is we tend to think men are out of control animals with uncontrollable urges. Whatever happened to holding guy’s accountable for their thought life?

        • I grew up in a Christian (mainline protestant) home. And I wore typical, American clothes and still do. My daughters do as well. My problem with what you refer to as the reason for strictly adhering to “modest dress” is this: all people, male or female, are responsible for their own sexual behaviors, be it inward lust or outward sexual activity. The QF view, and of course the muslim view, reduce women to mere sexual objects, as if our whole purpose here on earth is for MEN’S SEXUAL PLEASURE!!! Outrageous. A man can be just as much of a sexual object to me–I certainly admire a man in a smart pair of shorts (who isn’t even my husband!) just like any other normal, red-blooded woman does. With that said, I feel that men should cover up completely, so THEY DON’T LEAD US ON. Women/girls who believe they need to be “modest” so they don’t arouse men have been simply brainwashed. Don’t you see that you deserve to wear that pair of cotton shorts and sleeveless blouse on a sweltering hot day? To hike in the mountains wearing a normal pair of jeans like your brother or husband? QF women are as hopelessly misguided as devout muslim ones. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT IF A MAN LUSTS AFTER YOU–IT IS HIS. HE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS OWN ACTIONS AND ANSWERS TO GOD FOR IT–NOT YOU!!! Some of my most spiritual moments in life, times when I truly felt God’s presence took place at church camp during teen-age summers. And all of us teens sat in a beautiful meadow praying and giving thanks to our Lord (boys and girls) –attired in shorts and halter tops!!!! God cares what is in your heart–not on your body–as long as it is not extremely and overtly revealing and sexually suggestive. And thats not what I am referring to here. Contrary to what QF and other fundalmentalists may think, YOU ARE NOT BETTER THAN US, OR CLOSER TO GOD BECAUSE YOU DRESS IN REDICULOUS CLOTHES.

          • I completely agree with your argument. Everybody is responsible for their own actions. We can’t go around blaming others for things we screw up ourselves.
            The problem is, whenever you use the argument you use with these people, they’ll tell you straight to your face that you’re being a stumbling block for your brother, and that’s a sin, so you’re a sinner and your behavior is unbiblical. You can’t win with these people, you just cannot win! You can’t even convince them to try and understand your position, you’re fighting windmills! That’s why it’s so extremely frustrating to talk about modesty, because NOTHING you say will make these people understand where you’re coming from.

            • Brokendaughter..I know this response is a year old but I just gotta say this concerning modest dressing..yes we are to dress carefully but to go the extremes that those under Bill Gothard go to ..top hanging over skirt (ever see 200 gals dressed like this?) long shapless skirts is in reality nothing but ‘look at me’ and how spiritual I am.There I said it. In dressing to not ‘defraud’ the opposite sex we are actually calling attention to our selves.

  3. I agree with you that the lives of the Duggar family look downright perfect. I like to think that they are incredibly blessed and given graces because of their humble acceptance of God’s will in their lives … and because it is (or was) His will that they become examples to others through their unusually large family, and their TV show. I appreciate the fact that Michelle and the girls all dress nicely. They still wear clothes that exist in this time and place in history and yet they are modest and girlish. On another note, the fact that they let the girls’ join the fire dept., puzzled me as well. Not only for the very real limitations of girls/women in this dangerous, physically intense-difficult job…but I know the vulgar, crude environment of the local fire dept., Our son is a volunteer, and the exposure to locker room garbage and ungodly examples and friendships has put his soul in extreme danger….why would the Duggars not only put their boys in there, but their GIRLS, it’s unfathomable. Maybe they don’t let them hang out at the fire dept., or maintain ungodly friendships. There are NO Christians on our fire dept., except for our son…

    • I genuinly want to believe that they are as happy as they look. As I said, I’m not critizing the Duggars or their way of life but the romantizied image of the movement when watching that show. After all, it’s still a show and I think that a lot of it is just the way the show MUST be. I mean, there’s plenty of shows like “totally stressed out moms” and “another pregnant teen crying” around. There’s so much desperation on TV these days and I think the Duggars are the bright, happy counterpart. I do think they use a lot of cuts to cut out scenes that might not fit into the image of the show. You never see Michelle really having serious conversations when one of the kids messed up badly and I’m 100% sure that does happen and she has those talks. But that’s not what people want to see in that particular show. I think they want it picture perfect, which, on the other hand, has a negative influence of people who feel just like every stressed out mom sometimes does and then ends up thinking the Duggar’s way of life is the perfect way of life. And then they end up visiting vision forums and above rubies and from there it just goes down into legalism.
      Anyways, I didn’t even think about the environment issue at the fire department, thanks for pointing it out! Now that you said it, I’m even more surprised the girls got to join! I’m sure the Duggars must’ve know, as far as I know Josh and John-David have been members for quite a long time!

    • I hope you still think that matters should ever you need their help. You can be a good and unchristian person. Never forget that.

  4. Through all of the blogs I have been reading the past couple of days (laundry and dishes really need to get done but I’m having a hard time pulling myself away from your story😉 I keep thiinking about the Duggar’s in the back of my mind, like “The Duggar’s seem to be so much different in that area”. I think they have made their lifestyle work for them without taking individuality away,, rather then the Duggar’s becoming the movement. I have seen so many people on different blogs and whatnot insist that the Duggar’s are dangerous because of the QF reputation in general. If anything I think maybe the fundamentalists should take note of the family and use them as a resource to lighten up and just love eachother and see the individuality in eachother. Now granted, the show doesn’t show how it WAS for Michelle when she had like 12 kids under 12. That must have been quite an undertaking and at one point she opens up about having had a breakdown one night folding laundry. The next day the kid’s music teacher volunteered to help with their laundry on a regular basis. I think it’s really important, for a family of any size, to have help and support. A family structure can’t run well without that. Jim Bob seems to be very lighthearted and easygoing… not quite the “I’m the boss” mentality that I see in stories like yours and Raising Ruth. I think that people who watch them, regardless of family size yearn to be a part of such a caring family. I don’t doubt there’s a lot of work that goes into the family, but then again my days as a kid were taen up by 8 hours of school, homework ontop of that, daily chores, and a job ontop of that as I got older. And I was only 1 of 2 kids (3 depending on the house since my parents are divorced). I have noticed that Michelle does take time to show how she disciples the kids, the techniques she uses, on the show. They also talk in their book “A Love That Multiplies” about squabbles their kids get into and how they settle it. So they aren’t void of showing their vulnerabilities within the family. I love that family and I wish more families were as they portray on that show… funloving, easygoing,,compassionate towards eachother (including the dad), etc. In some ways I endured the fundamental lifestyle as a kid and I was from a small family and had never heard of QF. Really, that type of undesireable lifestyle comes in all forms, unrelated to any type of movement. I don’t know if that’s any more comfort to you that these types of issues within a family don’t fall exclusively within QF, but are issues that need to be addressed within humanity itself. I hope that the Duggar’s have been a light to families for that reason. I also liked to watch Michelle’s discilpline techniques with the kids. I have heard that Michelle raves about the Pearl’s but I have never seen or heard that from them. The techniques she uses actually fall within the gentle parenting that I believe in… nothing like the Pearl’s who I detest! –

  5. I know this an old post but here is my two cents. I didn’t even know who the Duggars were until I cught aglimpse of a headline about the 17th child because I didn’t keep up with reality tv. I was a fan of theirs until i got wind of their beliefs. . Though they may act the same off camera in public, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Many on recoveringgrace.org have expressed this. Just because we see them happy doesn’t make it so for others in Fundamentalism. Of course Quiverfull will use their best members for representation. Would they actually use a QF family with a stressed out mom or dad and unkempt kids in a cramped house ? No. It reminds me of the travel brochures with pictures of lovely hotels with gardens, etc but when you get there it is run down.

    The Duggars are no doubt an anomaly in their circles and they didn’t always live so cushy. Those new to the show honestly don’t know how the Duggars lived before TLC. They may be’debt free’ but they got there being in constant poverty. I have nothing personal against them. It is more of what they don’t tell. We have to keep in mind this is a much edited show

    • Yes, it is a fact that the Duggars did live in poverty before the show. Not bashing anybody here, not having money doesn’t make you a bad person. But the fact here is that they lived in a (I believe) 4 bedroom regular apartment with 14 (or 16?) kids at the time. I believe it was 16 because I recall there was one episode called “16 kids and moving”, in which they moved into their current house.
      I think it is deceptive of them, or the showmakers who make it look like it, to say that they got their by investing and renting out property. If that made them enough money to feed their 19, why didn’t it make enough to get enough space before the show got so popular?
      As I said, it’s no shame to be from a poor family – heck, I am too! But it’s a shame to make things look like everything is so easy when it really isn’t for the average QF family.

      The same goes, I think, for the Bates, who also lived on very little space before they regularly appeared on the Duggars show.

  6. Pingback: The Duggars considering adoption. -   - Page 9 - City-Data Forum

  7. I think that the Duggar’s could be the exception to the QF movement .. .and I imagine there are other exceptions. I think they have provided a healthy example of how to be a good Christian family, hold values and do good in and for the world. Maybe some others who are stuck in the QF legalistic mindset (and it’s not just them, every religion has more fundamentalist adherents) will be inspired to make some changes in their lives. Also, it seems to me that they specifically disavowed any connection with the QF as a movement. I don’t know if that’s a matter of interpretation. I think that it’s possible the Duggars were more legalistic in the early years, and had more in common with that movement then. The Bates seem more like that to me than the Duggar’s ever have. But that might also be more about the jumpers and other strange clothes the girls were wearing a few years ago.

    • I agree with you, I find that the Duggars seem much stricter in older episodes. Especially the way the girls dress and wear make up makes me believe that they loosened up some on the legalism.

  8. What does “P/QF”mean?

    • Sorry for the late answer! P = Patriarchy, but on blogs like mine (and many others) we do not simply mean a normal patriarchical society (like the US and Europe still are) but the extreme version: the man calls ALL the shots, the woman may hardly disagree. So the term might be used a bit differently around here. QF = Quiverfull, referring to the bible verse in psalm 127, a happy man has his quiver full of arrows (=children), a christian movement which rejects all forms of birth control, including abstinence for a few days etc.
      You cannot use P and QF interchangably because families might be patriarchist, but not QF, while not all QFers believe in full blown patriarchy. But USUALLY you encounter a combination. It’s just P/QF to make the point clear that you mean both forms occurring in the same family in whatever you’re posting about =)
      Hope this made the terminology a bit clearer for you!

  9. I think that’s how it looks to people who just have a quick look at the show and don’t think critically…but anyone who has watched for more than a little while will realise how weird the lifestyle is.

    The Duggars now have, what, 5 kids over 20? 7 over 18? Only one is married and has a job (and he only just got a real job, and only through connections). The others look after their siblings, or “volunteer”. Jill is the closest to doing something but she isn’t even getting a proper midwife certification – she will just be a lay midwife. All this “they are so nice and sweet and normal” isn’t going to last long when people realise the older kids are stunted, not contributing and poorly educated. It’s tragic.

    There is also a lot of weirdness. “Dress modest” – okay. But then you see Joy Anna (about 10?) covering up “immodest” women on television from boys who are about 6 or 7. You don’t see that sort of weirdness often but people who watch the show regularly figure it out.

    The older girls, all over 20, go around giving talks on boys and dating. Four girls over 20 who between them have had no dates, no boyfriends, no kisses, no sex, no husband, no children. It’s weird. People are going to realise soon that it’s not all sweetness and light.

    So yes, it definitely portrays things as too sweet which can be manipulating to young people who are easily influenced, but most people realise how messed up it is.

  10. I have a dear friend who ended up with eight children. After baby #3, her husband said he felt his quiver was full, and didn’t think there would be any more children. My friend picked up a copy of Mary Pride’s “The Way Home”, and that was that. They decided to homeschool all of their children, and ended up with five additional children. Their oldest girl, who is my daughter’s age, ended up being what my friend called a “homebody”. She was content to be in the house and help with the younger children. My friend and her husband aren’t radical; they encouraged their children to go to college if they wanted to. My friend’s daughter got engaged in her senior year in college, and married soon thereafter. That daughter’s husband has not been able (or willing?) to hold down a decent job. They now have five children. Their finances are scary. My friend told me how God has provided for them–when the electric was about to be turned off, a neighbor was “moved” to give them money for it. The clothes are absolutely hand me downs and not at all “modern”. The four girls wear dresses. The youngest was born several months ago, and he is the only boy. It will be interesting to see how he is raised. They have no television, only recorded “appropriate” videos. They don’t have Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Everything is done according to the strict view of the Bible as being the inspired and plenary, literal word of God. Without error. By contrast, their second child, a boy, ended up joining the military as soon as he turned 18. He has been married for quite a long time, now, about 7 or 8 years. He has a wife who is an artist, and makes money selling her beautiful paintings. They have no children. Child #3 got married & got pregnant right away. I’d say their way of living has resulted in mixed outcomes. I won’t go into the other five children because I don’t have time. I am struck by the images presented to the public vs the truth that is Fundamentalism. I left the Fundie religion in 2004 for good. I am still a Christian, but I am a Catholic. I know that some people think the Church keeps women down because the priesthood is male, but there is no doctrine about men being superior or women having to submit to men. There are lots of opportunities for women. I read from the Bible during Mass and also help distribute communion. I teach CCD and RCIA. Women are the backbone of my parish. Our nuns are strong women, with strong opinions, and the leaders heed their counsel. I know this is long, but I really really love this blog and I hope you post often!

  11. The Duggars stated several times that they are not a part of the quiverfull movement! They say that they do know about this myth but that it is untrue! Their values are very conservative and they do believe that children are a blessing from the Lord but it seems to be really important to them that these beliefs are their personal conviction and have nothing to do with any type of sects.

    Of course their lifestyle is very similar to the lifestyle that P/QF pictures as the right one and it certainly can be a problem that some viewers will romantize a picture of a woman who is a mother and housewife but I think, the reason why the show has so many viewers is that in todays world a lot of people are desireing to have a stable, loving and caring family. They do not present the perfect QF Family but a family in which siblings do not fight all the day but try to be nice to each other ( at least most of the time😉 )and in which the parents show respect to their children and each other.
    I think they fulfill the need of the modern families to have more time for their family and they show that parents really can educate their children and raise them so that they will be good people who help others instead of becoming criminals or homeless. A lot of the viewers will have personal problems for example they are devorcing or they consider an arbortion because they have no partner or they can not influence their teenage kids in the way they would want to and have to stand them abusing alcohol or getting pregnant…… I think these people simply enjoy seeing a family in which they show you that every problem can be solved and that your faith and your family will support you on your way through it. The Duggars just encourage all of these people and families and give them hope. they show that they raise at least 19 children who will try to make the world a better place and find true joy in helping others.
    So all in all I think the Duggars are the best example for people who make thei own decisions, cause eventhough their lifestyle has a lot in common the one of QF they state that they are not a part of QF and that they will whorship the Lord Duggarstyle not QFstyle no matter how similar these ones might be.
    Don’t get me wrong I don’t believe that the QF’s Beliefs should be spread through television, and I am aware of the danger that some naive people might join the movement because they have the pictures of happy families like the duggars in their mind but nobody can change this.

    I’m sorry for any potential mistakes-not a naitive speaker🙂

  12. I wonder if they saw the training Jill would receive as benefiting her midwife training and had Jana go too as a buddy to Jill. (Safety in numbers) AND/OR the parents sent the girls together to keep an eye on Jon-David, perhaps, minimize the negative exposure he might encounter…Just a thought.

  13. I feel so sorry for Jana Dugger. She seems really depressed. In one episode she was talking to a group about being bullied by Jessa when they were younger. Young Jana went to Michelle in distress. Rather than assuring Jana that she was a valuable person who did not deserve to be treated badly, Michelle suggested that Jana give Jessa (a younger sibling who had devalued Jana by bullying her) a gift. In psychological terms this is called “disavowal” of a person (think of the Mission Impossible opening in which the tape says, “if you are caught or killed the secretary will disavow all knowledge of your actions).

    Disavowal in parenting terms is all about the parent denying the experiences and feelings of a child (including hurt, sadness and anger as well as joy and delight etc), which stunts the emotional development of the child by not providing feedback that is essential to the child’s developing sense of self. This is one reason why it is so important to treat a mother’s depression. If a young child rushes to their mother and delightedly gives her a picture, it is important that the mother reflect the child’s excitement and pride in an accomplishment so that the child gets a sense that they and their feelings count and can be shared with another human being. If a mother who is depressed, states in a flat tone, “thank you”, the child’s excitement is disavowed and they get confused about how to deal with pride (or hurt in Jana’s case).

    When a child’s experiences are systematically denied, ignored and devalued, this leads to deep feelings of worthlessness. When I see Jana with her wistful, sad smile I see a deeply hurt individual who is like a shadow of a person. I really don’t get a sense of who Jana really is. My guess is if we could ask her what she felt or needed, liked or disliked she would not be able to answer (apart from the stock P/QF responses) because she doesn’t have the words for concepts like “this is not fair” (ie anger).

    Of all the Duggar children Jana is the one who seems the most damaged by well intentioned but inadequate parenting. My fear is that she will end up staying at home her whole life to raise her siblings and then care for her elderly parents and babysit nieces and nephews. All the other siblings seem to have a greater sense of self, so they will be able to find a way out; ironically probably because Jana did a much better job of meeting their emotional needs than her parents did for her. Life isn’t fair.

  14. The Diggars are not part of the QF movement. It says on the FAQ page of their website.

  15. Great post. It is like somebody from another country watching an episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians and believing they are representative of all families in America.

  16. Regarding the Duggar’s, I have a few points of (perhaps interest, the reader may or may not be aware of), I have watched a few times my points may be or may go off a bit of a tangent to the above article.

    1)Most people should know that they do make tens of thousands of dollars per episode and have a flurry of sponsors which include air fares, accommodations, new products etc. I am 99% sure that their worldly travels are all paid for by the production companies, any new toys, gadgets, furnishings, even perhaps clothing/accessories are gifted to them. It is a reality show and they need to film them doing ordinary things and to look like they are showing people they go shopping for cheap, they try to rough it out with camping and doing their own gardening etc etc. The reality is a lot of TV production companies have contracts that will not allow the cast to reveal anything about them receiving any kind of monetary or in kind gifts and the general viewing public is made to believe they are ordinary people, sometimes even struggling and penny pinching (Another avenue for them to make merchandise and write books on their pre-life to TV). Whether or not the Duggar’s are QF or not, breaking the rules with modernity or not, to them they probably willingly and gratefully open their hands to anything that is given to them and call it “A Blessing”, “God’s way”, “They are the chosen family”. (This goes with most reality TV’s wholesome or trashy from The Kardashians, to John & Kate +8 to the Bachelor etc, etc…to some degree staged, all paid a mint in cash, travel and gifts and the merchandising and the talk show circuit and endorsements that comes along with this).

    2)Realistically the Duggar’s especially the girls are still somewhat living in a bubble. There is a lot of hypocrisy, if Michele used to wear pants and date freely, her daughters cannot without being surveiled constantly. The freedom of choice in study whether children wishing to go to actual school or to go to a real college is seldom talked about, especially when it comes to the girls. And they are also not given much choice or are probably prepped to believe they can only study typical “female jobs” i.e. midwifery, teaching and home maker. Out of 20 children (I cannot remember the number of girls) the odds are there is probably a busting Doctor, or engineer, or something other than home maker and mid wife. Which leads me to my next point…

    3) I believe the eldest son married to Anna is trying to be or is a politician, his views put the Duggar’s back another 50 years regarding same sex marriage and abortion etc (from what I have read/heard). The Duggar’s want us to perceive they are perfect, modern and forward thinking worldly religious family but politically the truth is they are not, being home schooled is a start (no offense to those that do) the truth is you are restricting access of life outside the home and possible truths bad or good, trying to mold children exactly how you want them does not mean they are true to themselves and that they are a better person, usually children are less socially smart and become narrow minded as they have no other pass to learn other than what they are taught in the home selectively by the parent/siblings, a very limited array of literature, life skills, ethics, other cultures etc & being exposed to and interacting with other people and ethnicities/cultures on a daily basis is lacking, due to this you end up with the eldest son as an example, narrow minded and offensive to the existing majority of the population.

    4)I also question that out of the 20 children that the likelihood of having gay children is very high, 1 in 9 children in most western countries is gay, so that means the Duggar’s most likely have 1-2 or even 3 children that are attracted to the same sex, but again will not allow them to explore their true being, or explore outside of their family and values. In my eyes it is a sin to live a life of lies.

    Know that there is no right way to parent (I am a parent myself, not QF but raised in a very strict ethnic household, I escaped to Canada, freely and happily married with kids now, I was a prisoner in my own family home for 24 years…), Some people like the Duggar’s are making a fortune on TV endorsements, book deals and such on telling you the public they have a perfect family, but in reality behind closed doors, actually within each individual child’s mind we do not know how constricted, turmoiled and fearful they may be to truly be free from what their environment and parents/family have created. Everyone is keeping up appearances, some perhaps genuine, but I also believe there are some that are not genuinely happy and would like to cross into another path and explore themselves and own their own lives.

  17. It’s very interesting that people use the Bible to restrict women from wearing pants. The vague verses they give from Deuteronomy 22:5 talks about not wearing men’s garments. Where does it say that men were the only ones allowed to wear pants. Priests were required to wear linen underwear (Exodus 28:42). This is not what we’d consider pants any way. Would anyone argue that women shouldn’t wear underwear because it’s a man’s garment? People really need to examine Scripture and it’s meanings before they start making legalistic requirements out of verses that were clearly not meant for them.

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