I hate to admit it, but I have a fascination with some weirdly religious reality shows. While I can't stand the likes of Jersey Shore or any of those "Housewives", give me the weirdly religious and I am all over it.
Sister Wives, if you haven't seen it, is about, well Sister Wives. Four women married to one man. One man with four wives. Plural marriage. At first I was sure I would hate this show, I watched the first episode only out of morbid curiosity. How could those women possibly share their man? Sloppy seconds anyone, ewww!
But after watching a few times, (it's kind of like a train wreck, hard to look away), I've actually come to like them. And the most surprising development.....I no longer judge them. I had expected them to be overly religious, for the wives to be brain-washed, for the children to be controlled , etc, etc. I was pleasantly surprised that none of that seems to be the case. The wives all knew what they were getting into and chose this lifestyle for themselves. The children, while not choosing this lifestyle but being born into it, certainly are free to speak their minds and have the freedom and ability to leave this lifestyle behind, should they choose to, as adults. And they are surprisingly normal kids. They dress normally, have cell phones, watch TV, and are, wow, just like normal kids. Not like those cult polygamists, with their long dresses and weird hair, as seen on TV, being raided in Texas a few years back. They weren't like those people at all.
Now I realize comparing the Duggar's and the Sister Wives is kind of like comparing apples to oranges, but since both claim to do what they do out of a religious conviction, I think the comparison is fair. Plus they both chose to have reality shows, so they are fair game.
The Duggar's TV show is called "19 Kids and Counting". I think it was originally called "16 Kids and Counting", but that was 3 kids ago.......keep up!
If you have been living in a cave, the Duggar's show is about a conservative Christian family that believes one should continue to spawn until the woman's uterus falls out. OK, to be fair, that was my description, not theirs. I guess they would consider themselves, Quiverfull. (click on it if you don't know what it means).
Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar share their home with 18 of their 19 children. Oldest Josh has married and just had baby #2 with wife Anna. He was well prepared to move on and start his own quiverfull brood.
My problem with the Duggar's is that the kids in this family are given no voice, and the actions of the parents do indeed affect the children. In the Duggar family the older children are expected to help with the younger. Jim Bob and Michelle just keep spittin' em out, and the older girls will just pick up the slack. One Mother cannot mother 19 children. So if she didn't employ these older children to help, (and not just with childcare, with cooking and cleaning and homeschooling, etc, ad nauseum) it just wouldn't get done. The girls particularly in the Duggar home are at such a disadvantage. They are being raised under Patriarchy, they cannot wear pants, or swimsuits, or think for themselves. They will never have a career. They are being raised to be breeders, because that's all they know. If you read any of my older Duggar posts, you will learn all you need to know about why the Duggar lifestyle is not good for girls.
So that bring me back to my comparison. Two religious families, both living outside of what most of us consider "normal". (I live outside of "normal" most of the time too, so that is not a judgment).
Before I began watching either show, I presumed I would have disdain for both of them. I planned to watch and judge and wonder "How can they live that way". But now, I don't have judgment or disdain for either. I am amazed at how accepting I feel of the Sister Wives. It is their life, they are hurting no one, live and let live. It certainly isn't a life for me (although at times the thought of another woman sharing my home and being here to pass off the dinner making or laundry pile is appealing. But sorry, no husband sharing, that still brings out an "ewww" in me). While I don't judge the Duggar's either, I do feel sadness for them. Particularly the daughters. They just won't ever get to appreciate all that life has to offer them. Their roles have been decided for them since birth. And none of them will ever get to fully understand what it means to have an attentive parent. Two parents just cannot give to 19 children what they might have been able to give to 3 or 4. If Jim Bob were to bring in a few more wives, maybe those daughters could get a break and those kids could get a little more mothering.
Maybe it's time for a crossover episode. Better put my call into TLC.
"You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."