The good Christian family aura

From Libby Anne’s first post on the Duggar mess: some important points.

8. The good Christian family aura can hide underlying problems. If I had a dollar for every time someone has praised the Duggars for being a perfect example of a good Christian family, I’d be rich. Sweet smiles and matching clothes can cover up a lot and make people assume that things are more perfect than they are. I know what it’s like to force a smile for family pictures people later ooo and ahh over, even as I’m crying inside. We need to remember that.

I’ve experienced that deception the few times I’ve taken a brief look at that show. On the one hand they make my flesh crawl, but on the other hand I keep thinking: “They do look very cheerful and happy and perky.” The sweet smiles are annoyingly effective.

9. Sheltering children from the world doesn’t work. For years now, I have seen commenters across the internet praise the Duggars for raising godly children away from the materialism and sexualization of the modern world. Sorry guys, it doesn’t work like that. Please stop promoting the Duggars’ lifestyle by claiming that it has protected these children from the evils of the world! It hasn’t.

Mind you, if you define secular education as an evil, it has protected them from that…

10. Homeschooling can limit children’s ability to report abuse. Children who attend school have contact with teachers, counselors, and other adults they can go to for help, or for advice about problems in their home situations. Both Josh and his victims were homeschooled, which almost certainly limited the number of trusted adults they could go to for help, especially given that their social activities appear to have revolved around their church and other likeminded families who probably also believed in dealing with such problems in-house. According to the police report, some of the victims did try to get help. It’s just that their avenues for obtaining said help were sadly limited.

And their welfare wasn’t a high priority.


  1. Al Dente says

    And their welfare wasn’t a high priority.

    Of course not, they were women.

  2. iknklast says

    Homeschooling can limit children’s ability to report abuse.

    It can even limit their ability to understand that they are suffering abuse. For a long time, I assumed that what I was living through was just normal; I had no concept that it was abuse. I actually wasn’t homeschooled, but I was not allowed to have other children over, or go to other children’s houses, so I was not exposed to a world different from my own. And the teachers pretty much ignored my issues, because I was a quiet kid who didn’t give them trouble. They knew I was shy, but assumed I was OK because I didn’t break rules and I was a good student.

  3. Anna Y says

    That last quote is so mind-bogglingly blind I just can’t find the words… Yes, Josh Duggar abused his sisters (and, according to other sources, also other girl(s) he wasn’t related to). This came to light just now and all of internet is in an uproar. The fact that the entire 19-and-counting show is basically a documentary about the non-stop, 24-7 abuse of every one of those 19 kids apparently doesn’t seem to penetrate anyone’s consciousness. No, I’m not implying that all 19 kids are/were being diddled — there are other kinds of abuse. Being stuck in a panopticon (as a bonus, this particular one is even televised) and raised to conform with a warped standard of Godliness(tm) that is completely unrelated (and mostly contrary) to what’s known about how a young individual of species Homo Sapiens grows and develops (both physically and mentally) is abuse. I’m not going to pull a Dawkins and rank which abuse is worse here, but I’m willing to bet this kind is pretty horrific too. I guess some people are naturally creeped out by how chipper and perky the Duggar kids are, but apparently no one (or not enough people, not vocally enough) is asking what’s being done to them to make them act this way — after all, that’s not how normal kids normally act. From infancy they are being put into a virtual pressure-cooker where they are “trained” not only to do as they are told but to do it with a smile and their compliance is evaluated through constant surveillance from both parents and siblings. This family’s response to any “sinful” thoughts and actions as well as a recipe for keeping those at bay is hard work and ignorance and prayer (and all manner of Christian ideological indoctrination that doesn’t quite fit under the label of prayer). It’s basically a police state in miniature. If some scientists decided to take some babies and experiment on them to see if they could create a “successful” 1984 scenario, they would be branded as monsters. But when it’s parents who are birthing themselves some babies to turn into their idea of model Christians everyone apparently thinks it’s cute and quaint and wholesome and there’s even a TV show about it. Wow.


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