My friend Kathryn recently shared an article written by author and journalist, Dan Savage, about the Duggars entitled, “Should the Duggar Girls #FuckFirst?”
Did that get your attention? It got mine.
Spoiler alert: They have competing views about pre-marital sex and human rights! (shocking)
The article is essentially a commentary by Savage, an openly gay and married father, on the strict courtship rules the Duggars adhere to. Savage notes that the Christian fundamentalist family the Duggars, stars of the TLC show, 19 Kids and Counting, are part of the Quiverfull movement. Which means basically they don’t believe in birth control and leave the family planning process up to God.
I’ll probably lose a lot of followers for this, so if you’re not cool with talking openly and honestly about religion and sex, look away!
I shall begin with this:
I love watching 19 Kids and Counting. My friends love watching it too. I enjoy the sneak peek into a foreign lifestyle and religion. I feel like Jane Goodall and they are my 19 monkeys. It’s fascinating to me. I don’t mock (well, not really) but I genuinely like the family and to me, they seem happy. Whether or not I would be happy living and abiding by their beliefs is a completely different story.
I’m not a religious person. I don’t believe in organized religion and religious institutions. I don’t consider myself an Atheist, but I’m definitely on the Agnostic spectrum, leaning heavily towards disbelief. I believe in science and admire the works of Richard Dawkins, Alain de Botton and the late, great Christopher Hitchens. I’m also fascinated and intrigued by Buddhism because I feel like I’m on my own quest to balance my distrust with religion with my need for some kind of spiritual fulfillment. Confusing? Maybe. But hey, that’s me.
I was raised Catholic and majored in Religious Studies in university. I have tremendous respect for anyone committed to living a religious life. Like John Lennon sang, Whatever gets you through the night/ It’s alright. I won’t ever try to convince someone to abandon their beliefs in favour of my point of view, and I expect that same courtesy and respect from others. I love learning how people think and feel, which is why I enjoy frank and insightful discussions about religion and theology the same way I enjoy talking about pop culture, music or literature. It’s all interesting to me.
It looks like shit’s already gotten pretty serious here.
Let’s continue, shall we?
Even though I love the Duggar family and their TV show (Jessa’s my personal fave), I admire Savage for expressing his opinions and noting that even though we watch this lovable, happy family, their beliefs cause them to have some pretty harsh opinions of others, especially the LGBTQ community and those who are pro-choice. All you have to do is look to Anna Duggar’s Instagram account to see that this family has no problem with being open about their beliefs. It’s a two-way street, and there shouldn’t be backlash when Savage speaks openly about his. I think the language Savage used was a little harsh, but he succeeded in attracting readers and sparking a discussion.
I can’t hate on anybody for speaking their truth.
I love watching the Duggars in courtships. It’s a refreshing idea that definitely has ideas that can be extracted and applied to more liberal viewers: Date with the intention of having a committed relationship and respect yourself and your body. I don’t think people need to save themselves until marriage to show that they have self-respect. I also don’t believe there’s anything wrong with casual sex so long as both parties are consenting adults.
Sexual chemistry is an important part of a relationship. It’s not everything, but it’s a big part (or a little part, I’m no Size Queen). I think in some strange way, the Duggar family almost makes everything MORE sexual by having such strict limitations on things. Like hugging, or wearing v-necks. I never thought hugging was wrong until Michelle Duggar talked about touching parts and energies. Now I’m grossed out and only want to side hug people.
Even though I’m taking a very down the middle approach to all of this, I will say one thing about the Duggar’s strict courtship rules:
Is it not a little terrifying to think that you can get married,have your first kiss and have sex for the first time all in one day?
That’s a jam packed itinerary, right there.
I guess if you’ve always thought that’s the natural order of things then it might not seem so weird. You’ll never know if someone is a bad kisser or if someone is bad in bed. As someone who didn’t have their first kiss until 19 and their first yadda yadda until 21, in hindsight I can say had everything happened at once I would:
1) Be terrified
2) Not have any idea what I was doing
3) Not enjoy it at all
4) Ask “Is it supposed to look like that?”
Everyone’s different and blah blah blah so this is just my outsiders perspective on how the Duggar family lives. I wish I were friends with them so I could REALLY know what was going on and talk shit with Jinger all day long.
What do you think?
Do you watch the show? How do you feel about the Duggar family?