Thursday, June 04, 2015

The Christian Family. On Megan Kelly Interviewing the Duggars.

I'm tired and my arm aches after physical therapy.  That's the perfect time to give my opinions on the interview Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar gave about the case of their son, Josh Duggar.  This post has the background and other pertinent comments.  You can watch the interview here.

What I want to write about is not the five cases of molestation themselves or the long time the Duggar parents took before getting their son to something they seem to view as therapy.  Neither do I wish to write about what it means that Josh Duggar sexually touched her sisters and a babysitter.

I want to talk about the tone-deafness of some parts of the Megan Kelly interview, because I have read the same tone-deafness about the Duggar experiment in many, many places recently*. 

First, Kelly repeatedly referred to the Duggars' weird cult as "Christianity."  That's almost like calling the tenets of ISIS " mainstream Islam."

Kelly normalized an extreme cult (the Quiverfull) by equating it with vanilla-flavored Christianity. As if people attacked Duggars' beliefs because they are Christians and not because they are Quiverfull-ers, bent on maximizing the production of children in the marriage,  preaching absolute male authority, practicing social isolation of their children and denying them (especially the girls) proper education.

Second, she let the Duggars get away with the bizarre argument that Josh's behavior is common, because it may be common among families the Duggars know, as if touching your sisters sexually was just an ordinary type of growing pain many boys went through:

Other families have said they had sons who did similar things, they argued.
Kelly didn't question this argument.  I believe that the reason why so many of Duggars' friends have similar problems is that they share the same child-rearing ideology, being in the same cult:

Isolate your children completely by home-schooling them and by not allowing them to date as teenagers.  Then have so many children that the home can offer no privacy.

Then wait and see what happens.

Third, Kelly didn't react when one of the Duggars explained that the experience  made them pretty much sex-segregate their children as a solution to the problem.  No horseplay between brothers and sisters allowed!  So these parents moved from isolating their children in general to isolating their daughters from their sons.

Fourth and finally, although Kelly tried to make the point that the Duggar family's suffering should not be just about how Josh and his parents feel but at least equally about how the daughters feel, she allowed both Michelle and Jim Bob go on for quite a while about their own feelings, how all this made them feel as parents, how the family has suffered and how very minimal the girls' experience was, what with Josh only groping them through clothing and besides, the wenches were asleep.

*Kelly did ask many pertinent questions and I applaud her for that.  But in general the media takes for granted the argument that the Duggars are a Family Values type of warm and religious family without asking what those values are.

Why do daughters have less value than sons? Why is complete control of all children so necessary?  Why cannot they leave their parents when they grow up?  Why are they not allowed to go to college, especially the daughters?  And few writers note that Jim Bob Duggar is supposed to be the absolute dictator in the family, to be obeyed without any questioning. 

Neither have I seen anyone point out that Michelle Duggar isn't actually a stay-at-home-mother without any income producing activities.  She is a reality show star, but her own definitions are taken at face value in the various write-ups about the Duggars I've recently read.