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Keeping up with the Joneses
November 9, 2010 5:22 PM   Subscribe

The Bateses of Tennessee are just behind the Duggars of Arkansas. Not even close to the 18th century Vassilyevs though.
posted by vidur (68 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
NO TV? :~~(
posted by ~Sushma~ at 5:31 PM on November 9, 2010


Doctors told Kelly that the miscarriages were caused by low progesterone levels so, after some hormone replacement, she fell pregnant yet again.

I think god was trying to tell you something, honey.
posted by Foam Pants at 5:31 PM on November 9, 2010 [13 favorites]


Foam Pants: "I think god was trying to tell you something, honey."

Voice of God: IT'S NOT A CLOWN CAR
posted by mullingitover at 5:35 PM on November 9, 2010 [22 favorites]


I love my cigar, too, but I take it out of my mouth once in a while.
posted by jenkinsEar at 5:36 PM on November 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Writing an article about these families without at least mentioning the Christian Patriarchy/Quiverfull movement is just bizarre and horrific journalism. It's like writing a cutesy little human interest piece in the 1969s about how hippies just really love this one farm in upstate New York and forgetting to talk about the music. This totally misses what's happening - and what's happening is something that needs a lot more sunlight shined on it.

For those who want real journalism about some of the most frightening people in our country, I highly recommend Kathryn Joyce's Quiverfull.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:47 PM on November 9, 2010 [23 favorites]


"in the 1969s" - oy. Either "in the 1960s" or "in 1969." Make up your mind allen. Make up your mind. Or just have a fuckton of kids and never think for yourself. I could do that instead.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:48 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, here are the names of the 18 Duggars: Joshua, Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer (+ 1 hatching).
posted by wilful at 5:52 PM on November 9, 2010


That Quiverfull book review says: [T]he group [...insists] that children be homeschooled and daughters forgo a college education in favo[u]r of early marriage and childbearing.

I suspect spending your time squeezing em out and homeschooling are kinda preconditions to having that many kids.
posted by wilful at 5:55 PM on November 9, 2010


The real joke is that they are almost certainly creating more gays/atheists/"race traitors", etc. just based on statistics and population trends.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:08 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know they're sewing their own clothes and not sending the kids off to school...but how in hell can they afford that many? Is the marginal cost for each additional kid just tiny? Is there a loaves-and-fishes program I haven't heard about?
posted by mittens at 6:23 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]



Oh, here are the names of the 18 Duggars: Joshua, Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer (+ 1 hatching).


Actually, there are two more: Jordyn and Josie.

I'm embarrassed that I know that.
posted by corey flood at 6:27 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


So corey flood, since you're the expert on this topic, is Jinger pronounced "Ginger" or "Jing-ger"?
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:30 PM on November 9, 2010


zinger.
posted by vidur at 6:32 PM on November 9, 2010


It's "Ginger."

hides face
posted by corey flood at 6:34 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Jinger and Jordyn: the gay Duggars. Calling it now.
posted by sonic meat machine at 6:35 PM on November 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


That's nothing. I'm my own grandpa.
posted by not_on_display at 6:40 PM on November 9, 2010


Oh, here are the names of the 18 Duggars: Joshua, Jana....

I always loved that Dr. Seuss story "Too Many Daves." Hopefully they'll have enough kids where they will have to name one Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate and another Marvin O'Gravel Balloon Face.
posted by marxchivist at 6:56 PM on November 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


I love Tennessee, I've lived here my whole life and wouldn't trade it for anywhere else, but MAN do we have some winners here....

And they have a show on the Freak of Nature channel, errrrrr, TLC in 3....2....
posted by rhythim at 6:59 PM on November 9, 2010


Doctors told Kelly that the miscarriages were caused by low progesterone levels so, after some hormone replacement, she fell pregnant yet again.

I think god was trying to tell you something, honey.
posted by Foam Pants at 8:31 PM on November 9 [5 favorites +] [!]


Dude, a lot of women take progesterone supplements to try to prevent miscarriage.
posted by amro at 7:13 PM on November 9, 2010


Dude, a lot of women take progesterone supplements to try to prevent miscarriage.

I don't think the point was that progesterone is bad so much as that when it's a family that's famous for more-or-less saying "If God didn't want for us to have so many kids, he would let us know/stop us" that this might fall under that category.
posted by CrystalDave at 7:16 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


If we're going to talk about Quiverfull, then I will link to No Longer Quivering, a blog by women who have escaped from quiverfull churches/marriages...and I use that word sans scare quotes.

One of the current stories is about a girl who ran off to live with family friends because she didn't want to be married off against her will as a teenager by her dad.

Basically, the Duggars and their ilk put a happy, can-do sheen on what is essentially a remarkably abusive form of Christian fundamentalism.

I've laughed at Michelle Duggar many times, but lately I feel like that's not going to seem funny if she dies in childbirth or from complications of it. She volunteered for that life; but that doesn't make what's happening to her or her kids ok.
posted by emjaybee at 7:22 PM on November 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Maybe they can breed us out of social security bankruptcy.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:23 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Especially since, as a political movement/religious fundamentalist cult, these people believe hormonal birth control should be banned (yes, you read that right) because it interferes with the will of God.

But hormone replacement therapy doesn't, I suppose.
posted by Sara C. at 7:23 PM on November 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry if this offends anyone from an extremely large family, but I just can't see how you can be an effective parent when you have 18 kids needing time and attention.

I'd like to see some stats on how many of these Quiverfull kids go badly off the rails as they grow into adulthood.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 7:26 PM on November 9, 2010


Oh, here are the names of the 18 Duggars: Joshua, Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer (+ 1 hatching).

Jeepers.
posted by jonmc at 7:26 PM on November 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh this is actually better: a page on the No Longer Quivering site about Quiverfull doctrine.

Here are some passages that stuck out to me:

Sheltering of the children
The home school mindset includes the basic belief that children are to be protected and sheltered from “the world” ~ outside influences which could be detrimental to the child’s spiritual well-being. It is often quoted that “foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child” ~ this coupled with the scripture which says, “a companion of fools shall be ruined,” leads to the logical conclusion that children (fools) should not be socialized by other children (fools) ~ but instead should learn social skills from adults. Isolation and control of outside influences is not only considered normal and good ~ it is the godly approach to childrearing.

Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
The teaching is that God designed males and females to fulfill distinct roles and that men and women cannot be truly satisfied unless they are consistently filling their special role as a man or woman of God. Men are to be leaders, teachers, initiators, protectors and providers. Women are created to be “helpmeets” to the men in authority over them (husbands, fathers, older brothers) ~ they are to be submissive and yielding. Their primary sphere of influence comes from their role as wives and mothers. The woman’s home is her ministry and her children are her mission field.

Being debt-free and independent of government programs/subsidies
Adoption of this ideal often leads to financial hardship and deprivation in large families. In order to achieve financial independence, a QF/P family will often move to a rural location or live in sub-standard housing. Wives often operate businesses out of their home, often employing the children to help with the work, in order to supplement the husband’s income. Refusal of government assistance sometimes means that these families go without medical insurance ~ a situation which can influence the parents to choose “natural remedies,” home birth, and similar non-medical approaches to family health.

posted by emjaybee at 7:30 PM on November 9, 2010


I just can't see how you can be an effective parent when you have 18 kids needing time and attention.

The upshot is basically that at a certain point you throw off a lot of the childcare to the daughters of the family.

I don't know what Quiverfull families that have a lot of boys early on do. Though I'm noticing that the Bates family also fits the Duggar pattern of happening to have a bunch of older girls. I suspect "god" wills Quiverfull families without sufficient female slaves siblings not to have quite so many children.
posted by Sara C. at 7:33 PM on November 9, 2010


she fell pregnant yet again

Like a disease?
posted by pecknpah at 7:51 PM on November 9, 2010


Also, they are 45 and 43. They really don't have that much time left to have more kids, let alone ones without developmental problems.
posted by pecknpah at 7:53 PM on November 9, 2010


It's "Ginger."

Like hell it is. You don't name a zinger like Jinger with a stinger of a name that's a dead-ringer for a rhyme with "singer" and deign to pronounce it "Ginger."

We've discussed this before.
posted by explosion at 8:02 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I must preemptively state that there is an obvious J-name that must not be mentioned in this thread, lest it be taken by the Duggar/Bates clans.
posted by vidur at 8:12 PM on November 9, 2010


When I was in college, I worked for a couple of years in one of our dining halls. During the summers, my university hosted several large conventions and a lot of our business during the summer months was serving the attendees of these conferences. One of the conventions was for a group of people that was just described to us as "all belonging to the same homeschooling organization and not believing in birth control." They had some sort of generic name that I don't remember, but I believe now they must have been part of the Quiverful movement -- this was a little over ten years ago, before the Duggars had turned up on TV. If they didn't belong to the "official" movement (is there such a thing?) they certainly believed in all its tenets. Five or six was an average number of children for a family to have, with many having more. The woman who had the most had somewhere upwards of twelve, and she didn't look like she could have been above her early 30s.

Here are some things I noticed about them, with the caveat that this was ten years ago and it's possible that oddities have enlarged themselves in my memory:

1) The stunning difference between the religious group and attendees of other conferences -- we also had things like Destination Imagination and lots of sports camps and things going on. Normally, kids would come boiling in the door as soon as the cafeteria opened, eager to tell anyone who would listen what they had been doing, to tell you exactly what they wanted off the serving line, etc. The homeschooled kids, on the other hand, were virtually silent. OK, they actually were silent as far as talking to anyone outside their group was concerned. A family would line up in front of the serving bar behind their parents. Every kid would have their head down and their eyes averted. Not one of them looked up at us. Every one. Their father or mother (usually father) would tell us what they all wanted, even for the older, teen-aged kids. They would silently take their food and move to their seats.

2) The adults were barely more sociable than the kids. They generally did not look you in the eye when talking to you, and only talked to you when it was absolutely necessary. (Aside from one elderly man who constantly told a long-haired male employee that he was going to hell.)

3) Although there were dozens of families, an inordinately large number of them seemed to be related in some way.

4) None of them appeared to be...well, pictures of rosy-cheeked bouncing health. Some people are naturally thin and weedy, but every child and every man in a whole conference of people? (The mothers were more rounded.)

5) After they had eaten they usually adjourned to a courtyard outside the building for some recreation; this time coincided with the employees' break period. For their recreation, they played ball. That is, the boys played a game which was very heavily supervised by one or two adults, and the girls sat on the sidelines and watched. The girls did not take a turn playing after the boys.

The upshot is, they were really, really disturbing and unsettling to be around. The happy Duggars and Bateses smiling for the camera cannot, I think, be the most representative faces of these people whose entire way of life forces them to be bizarrely insular.
posted by frobozz at 8:19 PM on November 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Frobozz, they sound like Stepford children. This whole "pump out as many as possible, as quickly as possible, to pave your way to the kingdom of heaven " thing strikes me as obscene and creepy.

I've just spent 35 minutes with my kids, hearing about their day, checking out their artwork, reading the requirements for my daughter to go to high school next year. I only have two kids. If I had 18, it would take me... hang on... 5 and a quarter hours to just do the after-school thing. Then again, I'm not home-schooling them, am I?

I try not to judge people of different lifestyles, but this is freaking me out. It scares me that these people are reproducing at all, let alone by the score.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 9:06 PM on November 9, 2010


I am a religious person and I wanted a big family. I define a big family as one with four kids. When I nearly died having my third child and the doctor told me it wouldn't be smart to have any more I felt that was God telling me that I was done. My son was perfectly healthy.

If having the mother and the child nearly die isn't enough for them to stop then I don't know what kind of sign they're looking for. Skywriting? Lightning bolts? An angel to come down and personally tell them that they're being idiots? I'm sorry, I just don't believe it works that way.

I used to watch the Duggars with some kind of mild curiosity (kind of like learning about a different culture), but after this latest baby and them wanting more kids I'm just disgusted. It's one thing to risk your own health, but leave the innocent baby out of it.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:06 PM on November 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Home schooling - the only way to avoid packing that many lunches.
posted by Cranberry at 10:21 PM on November 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, here are the names of the 18 Duggars: Joshua, Jana & John-David (twins), Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah & Jeremiah (twins), Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer (+ 1 hatching).

Look, I'm really sorry if it's a good old fashioned american name I wasn't aware of, but Jedidiah is really bugging me. Surely it should be Jebidiah and some bozo forgot how to spell right?
posted by fido~depravo at 10:48 PM on November 9, 2010


Well clearly they didn't just invent it out of whole cloth.

A google search turns up 450,000 hits for Jedidiah and 175,000 for Jebediah. Most of the results for Jedidiah are regarding its status as a biblical name, or people throughout history who have had that name. (Though it is also apparently a surf company. Started by a pro surfer by that name.)

Most of the top results for Jebediah are about an Australian band.

The fact that the supposed founder of The Simpsons' Springfield was called Jebediah might be influencing you there.
posted by Sara C. at 11:02 PM on November 9, 2010


Oh, and apparently Jedidiah is an alternate name for Solomon in the Bible. Because, like, they sound so much alike. Of course?
posted by Sara C. at 11:04 PM on November 9, 2010


If having the mother and the child nearly die isn't enough for them to stop then I don't know what kind of sign they're looking for. Skywriting? Lightning bolts? An angel to come down and personally tell them that they're being idiots? I'm sorry, I just don't believe it works that way.

The levee had collapsed, and a terrible flood inundated New Orleans. The waters rose so high that one man was forced to climb onto the roof of his house.

As the waters rose higher and higher, a man in a rowboat appeared, and told him to get in. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the rowboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and suddenly a speedboat appeared. "Climb in!" shouted a man in the boat. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the man in the speedboat went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters continued to rise. A helicopter appeared and over the loudspeaker, the pilot announced he would lower a rope to the man on the roof. "No," replied the man on the roof. "I have faith in the Lord; the Lord will save me." So the helicopter went away. The man on the roof prayed for God to save him.

The waters rose higher and higher, and eventually they rose so high that the man on the roof was washed away, and alas, the poor man drowned.

Upon arriving in heaven, the man marched straight over to God. "Heavenly Father," he said, "I had faith in you, I prayed to you to save me, and yet you did nothing. Why?"

God gave him a puzzled look, and replied " Hey! I sent you a row-boat, a speed-boat, and a helicopter. What more did you expect?"
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:39 PM on November 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


I honestly believe that people who have ready access to effective contraception ought to be financially penalised - and heavily - beyond a certain number of kids. To breed like mindless bloody rabbits in this overpopulated, polluted and under-resourced world is the sort of irresponsibility which, viewed from certain angles, looks remarkably like a crime of negligence. We are going to have to start treating it as such, and it's not a question of "if", it's a question of "when".
posted by Decani at 12:10 AM on November 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


emjaybee's "No Longer Quivering" link is absolutely fascinating. I'm reading the RazingRuth* series of posts (about her upbringing and escaping her would-be forced marriage) right now. In this post, for example, she talks about the training of children to follow any command unthinkingly:
Another incident, that I’ve described before, happened when I was very small and was asked to take a diaper to the trash for my mother. I had a sensitive gag reflex as a kid. Smells or sights could make me vomit. My father saw this as a character flaw and lack of self-control, so he mandated that my mother find a way to break my sensitivity.

This particular day, I gagged on the way to the garbage can and was punished severely. Part of that punishment involved two weeks of eating the same meal (a meal that had previously made me toss my cookies): liver and onions. I hated the texture and smell. Yet, every night, while the rest of the family enjoyed whatever my mom had prepared, I was presented with liver and onions. I sat in my chair for hours, until the meat had congealed and cooled, trying to force down smaller and smaller bites. If I didn’t finish it, it was reheated and served for breakfast the next morning.

When I finally managed to eat the meal without throwing up, I was given oatmeal dyed with food coloring or some other unappetizing or stinky menu option. In the end, I learned to disassociate from what I was eating and I got past my gag reflex. My dad claimed this as his victory.

My siblings and I became robots for Jesus and my father took all the credit. We were picture perfect children, on the surface. Beneath the surface, we all suffered from various forms of anxiety disorders. It’s not surprising! Everything, and I mean everything, was a big deal. If, when we finished our dinner, we didn’t place our forks precisely on our plates (with the tines at two o’clock and the handle at ten o’clock, horizontally), it was considered a lapse in self control. If we spoke an unkind word or raised an eyebrow, it was a lapse in self control. If we ran, rather than walked, to get to a toy… you get the general idea.

...

One of my dad’s “friends” was a pervert. Much later in his life, he was convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior towards a minor. This didn’t shock me because, one afternoon, when I was six, he attended our home church and the bbq that followed. I was inside the kitchen, gathering condiments on my mother’s orders to take back outside. One of my younger brothers was with me, getting hamburger buns and putting them in a basket to take to the serving line. Directly off our kitchen was a small pantry. “Martin” followed me inside the house and engaged me in small talk.

When there were no other adults present, he told my brother and I to go into the pantry. Once inside, he shut the door and told me to kiss my brother. I pecked him on the cheek without questioning the order or the reason for the order. Apparently, he didn’t want to see a peck. He told my brother to open his mouth and told me to stick my tongue inside his mouth. I was nervous and felt awkward but I’m also ashamed to say that, after having been drilled into following orders even if they were morally questionable, I did exactly as instructed. I didn’t even hesitate.

This haunted me for years. How could I do such a thing without even pausing to consider that what we’d been instructed to do was wrong. I’ve said it before and I’ll repeat it- this is why the obedience game is dangerous. It replaces your ability to reason or pause to consider if the request is reasonable or safe. That same afternoon, Martin told my father that I had defrauded his son by sitting on a fence.

As an adult who’s been through hours of therapy, I now see how twisted this experience was. Here’s a grown man ordering two children to tongue kiss while he watches, who then goes outside and suggests that a child is being sexually enticing (defrauding young boys) by sitting astride on a fence. It’s terrible
* RazingRuth (great name! Raising/Razing) also has a blog where she talks about her post-quiverfull life and also answers various supportive or censorious comments... even from her father, apparently.
posted by taz at 12:14 AM on November 10, 2010 [8 favorites]


Too much Incu- and not enough Mastur- in the Bates household.
posted by chavenet at 2:25 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


The lord said, "be fruitful and multiply." He didn't say anything about higher order polynomials, ok?
posted by notsnot at 4:18 AM on November 10, 2010


I imagine a big part of this movement is the notion that the ... quiverers? ... will out-populate everyone else, and shape the nation into some "New Zion". Like Utah, only bigger. Of course this presumes that all or most of these kids will go out into the big wide world someday and maintain the worldview they've been raised with. Wonder how that'll pan out.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:40 AM on November 10, 2010


Corey Flood, you come sit over here by me. I'm fascinated with the Duggars too, and I have no shame. (Well, maybe a bit of shame.) I'm halfway through the 2000plus-page Duggar megathread on Television Without Pity, and still I can't stop reading. What's the truth of all those rumoured scandals about the eldest boy? Why aren't they friends with that other quiverfull family any more? Who's going to grow up to write the inevitable tell-all book? (Bets on Johannah!)

Part of the fascination with the Duggars and the Bateses (who've appeared several times on the Duggar reality show) isn't the spectacle of following a huge family around with a camera, it's all the stuff we don't see. The Duggars seem like happy, confident kids, there's no reason to suspect any nefarious abuse going on, but the Quiverfull background - and especially the particular ultra-conservative group they're part of - is just so bizarre in so many ways, you know that there's got to be all sorts of things we don't get to see. And their TV reality show throws out these tantalising nuggets of information juuuuuuuuust often enough to keep you guessing. "Here's a comedy-music montage of the little kids playing together! Oh by the way, the Duggars don't believe in dancing and think any woman wearing something that exposes her collarbones is defrauding Godly men. Now, back to telling you once again how many pairs of socks they need to pack for a week-long trip!"

Bill Gothard, the leader of the particular movement they follow, teaches that cabbage patch dolls are Satanic, that adopted children carry the sins of their biological parents, and that the only marriages blessed by God are the semi-arranged ones his teachings recommend. And compared to things like his absolutist teachings on authority (children, even adult children, must always obey their parents, regardless of what said parents instruct; wives must always obey their husbands, even if that means acting against their conscience), and the abuse at the 'training centers' his movement runs for troubled teenagers.

Oh, and also, that adult children shouldn't leave home until they're married. The oldest Duggar son is married (to a wife he didn't kiss until their wedding day, because man do these people take their purity thing seriously), but the four next-eldest kids are all 18 or over and... doing what, exactly? They still live at home. They've finished (home)school. The girls at least certainly don't have jobs (except for helping raise the younger kids, which has got to be pretty time-consuming when there's that many of them). It's like they're just supposed to sit there, in storage, until their official role changes from 'child' to 'parent' and the next generation starts. They seem happy enough, and then you catch these moments in their TV interviews when one will say something like "I've always wanted to take photography classes! Buuuuut...." and then look sad and go quiet and change the subject, and you think, there is just no amount of happy family fun times that would ever be worth trading my future children's individual personalities for.
posted by Catseye at 5:26 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I had three children one right after the other (oldest was 2 and a half when the last one was born.) We weren't "quiverful"-our birth control simply finked out on us. (For the record we did want three kids but would have wanted to space them a bit more, is all.)

Those were very very tough years.

I read about these folks and want to cry. Now, some of these people have big extended families which means they have help with these kids. Some of them seem to have happy homes. But I know-because I have been there-how incredibly tough it is with a bunch of "littles" to take care of.

I don't think God is mad at me because I just have three. And I know it is none of my business how many kids other people have.

But I am sad for those moms.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:33 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't watch the Duggars' TV show, but I keep up with their antics via the TWOP forum. The most interesting thing about it is how much the Duggars have changed just by being filmed. For one thing discipline has gone to hell and this is most noticeable in the younger boys. The patriarch, Jim Bob, recognized early on that the Learning Channel was his family's meal ticket and he has attempted to make the family more appealing to a wider audience. For example, they no longer dress in dreary fundie clothes; the girls still wear skirts, but they are often denim. They very rarely mention their religion or their beliefs on camera anymore.

However, they haven't changed a whit in one regard: they still have "jurisdictions" (responsibilities) and the care of all the children except the latest baby falls on the shoulders of the older girls. This past summer the kids all got chicken pox (they don't believe in inoculating their children.) The new born, Josie was premature and born with health problems so mom Michelle and the baby were sequestered in another location. During this crisis even the dad, JB, had to pick up some of the slack and was filmed feeding the 2nd youngest a bottle. His daughters marveled at this, "It's not even his jurisdiction!"
This (leaving the care and raising of the babies to the older girls) makes Michelle's Mother of the Year Award most galling.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:53 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Catseye: "...there is just no amount of happy family fun times that would ever be worth trading my future children's individual personalities for.

That is exactly what jumps out at my about this whole saga: the parents have an idea -- OK, the men have an idea -- that they hold onto so firmly that they sacrifice their wife's life and their kids' lives for. And I really can't hold an image in my mind of a loving God that would want that. *shrug* Not my road, I guess.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:09 AM on November 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Quivering Brethren factor in the classic comic novel Cold Comfort Farm, which you should all read.

Odd crew, wasn't familiar with them. Though, mind you, that there are plenty of non-Christian sects who are heavily into the big family thing.

(BTW, this Jones family has only one offspring, so keep our name out of it, okay?)
posted by IndigoJones at 6:41 AM on November 10, 2010


I'm halfway through the 2000plus-page Duggar megathread on Television Without Pity, and still I can't stop reading. What's the truth of all those rumoured scandals about the eldest boy?

Ooh, what megathread? What rumors?? I wanna see.
posted by amro at 6:51 AM on November 10, 2010


The Bates family has a web site here.
posted by Jahaza at 7:15 AM on November 10, 2010


From emjaybee's quote about the Quiverfull doctrine:
The teaching is that God designed males and females to fulfill distinct roles and that men and women cannot be truly satisfied unless they are consistently filling their special role as a man or woman of God. Men are to be leaders, teachers, initiators, protectors and providers. Women are created to be “helpmeets” to the men in authority over them (husbands, fathers, older brothers) ~ they are to be submissive and yielding. Their primary sphere of influence comes from their role as wives and mothers. The woman’s home is her ministry and her children are her mission field.

It gives me the shudders when you hear dogma from a patriarchal Christian movement silkly echoed by certain current evolutionary psychologists:

I do think that women’s minds evolved to do a certain suite of things, like to gather, to form alliances with other women, to raise children, to educate each other and heal each other and also to appraise men as mates...Why can’t women also have different motivations and brains? If I had to use an animal example and said that most female swallows sat on the nest while the males forage for food, and if you put them in laboratory conditions, and they did the same thing, no one would argue with me about that because (the swallows) don’t have culture. So I think people give culture a whole lot more (argumentative power), although it definitely matters, and it can definitely change things. But at no time in human history has a group of women made war on another group of women. And if you look at anthropological studies, women have almost never hunted, except maybe for small game. So there’s this tremendous evidence that (gender difference) actually isn’t bred from culture, it’s actually something that’s built in.

That quote - only slightly ripped out of context to make my cheap point (!) is from an interview this month with one Diana Fleischman "an evolutionary psychologist and a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Women’s Mood Disorders at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill"...
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:03 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm adamantly pro-choice, including respect for people who choose to have many children. Not a choice I want forced on me. I find Quiverfull religious practice and politics repugnant. I do respect those families who do not rely on public assistance to support their choice. Some polygamous families force girls into multiple marriages in what amounts to rape, but that's not evident here.

I am deeply offended by the people who harass women/families who exercise their right to choice. I'm kind of offended by the finger-pointing at these families, who are exercising their right to a different choice. There's no excuse for cruel or abusive parenting, but there's plenty of that in families of all sizes. I'm not loving the "ha, ha, aren't the xtians weird" -ness.
posted by theora55 at 8:17 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I used to watch the Duggar show sometimes, but stopped after the oldest son's wedding. It was always sad to think of all those girls ending up like Michelle, but that wedding really brought home how terrible this lifestyle is. Seeing that poor girl becoming the Duggar boy's property and being on the cusp of churning out baby after baby was just too awful.
posted by Mavri at 8:25 AM on November 10, 2010


I seriously question whether these girls are making informed, knowing choices. "Choosing" to become a man's property is no choice at all when you've been brainwashed.
posted by Mavri at 8:29 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm kind of offended by the finger-pointing at these families, who are exercising their right to a different choice.

The problem is not the choice to have a child per se. The problem is the choice to essentially abuse that child with a mixture of neglect and strict indoctrination. The problem is that every additional child makes things worse for the rest: finite family resources means more neglect and stricter indoctrination in order to keep the children in line. The problem is that continuing to have so many children and at such an advanced age is gambling with the death of the mother, the death of the child, and developmental problems if the child survives; any of those would also make things worse for the other children.

The problem is that the decision to continue having children may not be the mother's free choice but rather imposed by the father or community expectations. The problem is that most if not all people in this movement want to deny others the right to make a choice. The problem is that the 'choice' is based on sexism, patriarchy, religious fundamentalism, ignorance, and abuse.
posted by jedicus at 9:02 AM on November 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's like they're just supposed to sit there, in storage, until their official role changes from 'child' to 'parent' and the next generation starts.

Reading through the "Razing Ruth" accounts on the blog that emjaybee and taz have linked, I'm wondering if the Duggars aren't stuck between a rock and hard place when it comes to marrying these girls off. On the one hand, they have this TV show which is providing for their family at this point, and if they were to start marrying off the girls of the family at 17-18 it would raise huge red flags with viewers (and possibly raise a lot of ethical questions with TLC that could no longer be ignored). On the other hand, their beliefs basically cast unmarried young women as currency to be shared among patriarchs - these girls are perishable goods who need to be married off before their value in the community lessens. So, yeah, you get this odd situation where the girls in this family are stuck in this especially weird holding pattern.

I must be really hard to be 18 or 19 and stay in that holding pattern without starting to question what you've been taught. Especially what with all that exposure to camera crews and strong educated female TV production folks.
posted by Sara C. at 9:36 AM on November 10, 2010


the girls still wear skirts, but they are often denim

The frumpy ill-fitting calf-length denim skirt is the trademark of a woman from one of these religious groups, or at least it was when I was growing up down south. Though I don't know enough about the Duggars specifically to know if maybe they were more conservative before and had to wear something more like the FLDS's calico dresses.

Which, now that I think of it, might have been Jim-Bob's inspiration on loosening the dress code.
posted by Sara C. at 9:41 AM on November 10, 2010


One of the conventions was for a group of people that was just described to us as "all belonging to the same homeschooling organization and not believing in birth control." They had some sort of generic name that I don't remember, but I believe now they must have been part of the Quiverful movement -- this was a little over ten years ago, before the Duggars had turned up on TV.

Frobozz, I suspect that may have been the Gothard group, Advanced Training Institute of America (ATIA). That's the same group the Duggars (and Bates?) belong to, and the group that Razing Ruth was raised in.

The umbrella organization, Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP) puts out a curriculum of materials called Character First!, which is in use in various public schools around the country.
posted by cereselle at 9:43 AM on November 10, 2010


Sara C., they used to wear the fugly shapeless jumpers that they sewed themselves. The denim skirts are a huge step up from that.
posted by cereselle at 9:51 AM on November 10, 2010


Some polygamous families force girls into multiple marriages in what amounts to rape, but that's not evident here.

Have you gone over and checked out this No Longer Quivering blog that has been linked in the comments, especially the series of posts called "Razing Ruth"? It's relatively tame stuff compared to the FDLS scandals, but yeah, there is an account there of a 16 year old girl being betrothed* to an older man (3-4 years older, but definitely of majority while she was still a minor). When she runs away, the authorities take her side almost immediately and work to help her escape from her family. Despite the fact that at this point she is still a minor and one would assume there is no direct glaring evidence of life-threatening abuse. Just the very real notion that she is being married off against her will to an older man.

It's true that the Quiverfull folks at least wait until the girl is legally of age to consent to marriage, but from the accounts that seems like a bit of a technicality. Especially since once you're in, there's no real way out.

I am deeply offended by the people who harass women/families who exercise their right to choice. I'm kind of offended by the finger-pointing at these families, who are exercising their right to a different choice. There's no excuse for cruel or abusive parenting, but there's plenty of that in families of all sizes.

Here's how I feel about it. My problem is not really with the number of children these people are choosing to have. I mean, when you get to numbers like this, I wonder about the health of the mother and the limitations put on the other children in the family (as someone who grew up in a large family, myself) -- but that's for doctors and child protective authorities to say, not my business.

My real problem is the fact that these people don't think their lifestyle is a "choice" that separates them from other people. They think this is how the world ought to work for everyone. And they work toward that goal - a lot of these people are strict dominionists who give money to political causes that would make the US into a theocracy. Furthermore, they don't respect the choices others make about the kinds of families they want to have. Some of them quite literally don't think women should have the right to vote, let alone supporting diverse ideas of family like gay marriage and the right to reproductive freedom.

And because of those beliefs they hold, I don't think they deserve my respect for their "different lifestyle choice" in the way that the Hasidic Jewish families in my neighborhood do. The Hasidic families say they want a life apart from secular America, and then they follow through with that. The Quiverfull families are hypocritical liars who want to take away my fundamental human rights. So, no, not one fucking iota of respect for their "choices", sorry.

* "betrothed" in the Quiverfull context basically amounts to marriage - they do not date in the modern sense, engagements are generally short, and there is no concept of a woman "deciding" not to marry someone once she's engaged to that person. It's also not entirely a mutual decision; the woman is especially left out of any meaningful decision making process.
posted by Sara C. at 10:00 AM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


The post links to the Duggars and the Bateses and my response is the tone of "OMG, Huge family = list_of_Bad_Things". It is not necessarily a valid correlation. I don't want to get all out on a limb here defending people I don't much like. But I want Choice to mean Choice, and I want my hypothetical granddaughter to have control of her body, including the choice to have many kids, or none, or not carry the pregnancy with hydrocephalus that could kill her.

Disclaimer: I frequently wear calf-length skirts.
posted by theora55 at 10:28 AM on November 10, 2010


Ooh, what megathread? What rumors?? I wanna see.

Behold, the TWoP megathread.
Scurrilous rumours are here - take with as large a degree of salt as anything four-degrees-removed-via-pseudonymous-messageboard-comment can warrant, but the cousin who appears on the Duggar show sometimes has confirmed he was engaged before meeting his current wife. Which, given that they got together when he was about 20, does suggest some kind of arranged setup by both sets of parents.
posted by Catseye at 11:19 AM on November 10, 2010


Ack, that second link should point here, sorry.
posted by Catseye at 11:23 AM on November 10, 2010


Oh, Christ. I just actually watched the first Duggar TLC "documentary" for the first time, courtesy of cereselle's link.

Do the gigantic dark circles under sickly little Jinger's eyes not concern anyone else? No preteen girl should look more world-weary than I do before my morning coffee. And I get paid overtime for my 15 hour work days.
posted by Sara C. at 11:58 AM on November 10, 2010


Oh, and weighing in on the jumpers - after getting a good look, I'm almost certain the decision to change had something to do with the FLDS molestation scandals a few years ago. Because the female aesthetic in that early documentary is definitely reminiscent of the photos of the trafficked FLDS girls and their mothers.
posted by Sara C. at 12:27 PM on November 10, 2010


I must preemptively state that there is an obvious J-name that must not be mentioned in this thread, lest it be taken by the Duggar/Bates clans.

Juggalo?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:02 PM on November 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Frobozz, I suspect that may have been the Gothard group

I've been googling around a bit and I think you are probably right. I've also been reading some of the TWOP thread and some other stuff about the Duggars -- how is having the older girls basically be full-time nannies to the younger ones not breaking all sorts of child labor laws? The more I read about these and other Quiver families, the more they seem almost as squicky as a full-on LDS cult. The families seem to be mostly ruled over by neurotic men who never grew out of their "id" stage -- more brainwashed children = more servants and adulation for Daddy. I'm surprised there hasn't been any sort of official oversight of them, but maybe I shouldn't be.
posted by frobozz at 4:07 PM on November 11, 2010


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