Anna Duggar was crippled by her parents by receiving no education, having no work experience (or life experience, for that matter) and then was shackled to this loser because his family was famous in their religious circle. Anna Duggar was taught that her sole purpose in life, the most meaningful thing she could do, was to be chaste and proper, a devout wife, and a mother. – Jessica Kirkland, quoted in Alyssa Toomey, “Anna Duggar’s Parents Have “Utterly Failed Her,” Georgia Mother Writes In Viral Open Letter, Vows To Raise Daughters To ‘Breathe Fire'”, EOnline, August 15, 2015
ATI taught [women] that it is our job to keep men’s desires from erupting into lust or sexual activity. We were taught that it was our sin if we “cause a man to lust after us.” I spent many nights as an early-developed teenager crying and begging God to take away my large breasts, because I noticed men’s eyes had begun to linger on me during church. Modesty wasn’t only about dress, it was also about behavior. Women were taught from a very young age that they are to be submissive in all things: allowing men to open doors for us (even to get out of a car), never initiating conversation with a man and never correcting a man when he was wrong. Essentially, a good ATI woman is sweet, silent, and obedient. – Brooke Arnold, “I Could’ve Been A Duggar Wife: I Grew Up In The Same Church And The Abuse Scandal Doesn’t Shock Me,” Salon, May 28, 2015
Daniel Keller, the older brother of Anna Duggar, echoes the thoughts of the nation by wondering what the heck his sister is doing by staying with her cheating and (worse yet) child-molesting husband, Josh Duggar. The answer—like all things Duggar—is horribly depressing. – Madeleine Davies, “Anna Duggar’s Brother Wants “That Pig” Josh Duggar Out Of The Family,” Jezebel, August 24, 2015
Gawker also published (we will get into why this is different from the last time Gawker published whore sex revelations in a minute) a list of the different kinds of fucking Josh Duggar wanted to find from a lady what is not his wife:
“Conventional Sex,” Experimenting with Sex Toys,” One-Night Stands,” “Open to Experimentation,” “Gentleness,” “Good With Your Hands,” Sensual Massage,” “Extended Foreplay/Teasing,” “Bubble Bath for 2,” “Likes to Give Oral Sex,” “Likes to Receive Oral Sex,” “Someone I Can Teach,” “Someone Who Can Teach Me,” “Kissing,” “Cuddling & Hugging,” “Sharing Fantasies,” “Sex Talk.”
Awwww bubble baths, dildos and a 69 sesh here and there, he’s really branched out from all the sex tips he learned at home, which were mostly about how there are aliens in man semen, and lady vaginas are allergic to them. And maybe he’s never been allowed to swan dive into his wife’s muff, that might not be “Christian” because you can’t put a baby in her that way, which is why he probably also included “someone who can teach me.” Good lord, we’d feel sorry for him if he wasn’t such fucking scum. – Evan Hurst, “Looks Like Josh Duggar Wanted To Molest An Adult For Once”, Wonkette, August 16, 2015
I try to avoid things like the Duggar “scandal”, although I must admit being vocal with horror and disgust over revelations that, as a teenager, Josh Duggar molested several young girls, including his sisters. With the hacking of Ashley Madison’s data base, we now know that Josh Duggar also had not one but two accounts with the adultery-assistance website. He has admitted being unfaithful to his wife, whether through Ashley Madison or not I’m not very clear on.
When I say “I try to avoid things . . .” I don’t mean I ignore stories about them, or say a thing or two on social media about them. I mean I try not to draw any BIG LESSON from what is, in the end, little more than human beings being human beings. The more I read, though, the more I discover how twisted and broken are the religious ideologies that guide the Duggars and like-minded folks. To call them “theologies”, or that they have anything to do with the Bible or ideas relating to Christianity is an insult to Christians everywhere. It is troubling, to say the least, that families raise their children in such environments. It was coming to that realization after reading several articles this afternoon, I thought I needed to work out some of what I was thinking and feeling.
The Duggars subscribe to the religious ideas of Bill Gothard, whose influence certainly seems far more cult-like than something in mainstream religion. In Brooke Arnold’s post quoted above, she notes that even girls’ and women’s clothing and hairstyles are dictated by Gothard. For a sex- and gender-control-obsessed group, they teach nothing about sex. Combined with a species of absolute male dominance, this leaves women and girls vulnerable to the whims of male family members and other men. Women, Gothard-thought teaches, have no sex drive; sex for women is to be endured to fulfill their roles as wife and mother, rather than something to be enjoyed. That the boys and young men are taught only that men’s sexual desire is overwhelming leaves them incapable of learning any kind of discipline, except the odd “spiritual” “discipline” of not even feeling lustful toward their wives. This mishmash of horrible gender roles, non-existent sex education, and contradictory ideas about human sexuality creates a horrid stew that should leave no one surprised that a public face of such ideas winds up sexually confused.
Leaving the safety and comfort of the family home in Arkansas, Josh Duggar moved with his young wife and family to the Washington, DC suburbs to take a job with the Family Research Council. In such a place – urban and multi-cultural; surrounded both by men and women comfortable in their sexuality; facing women attracted to him because of his “fame” – I can imagine that resorting to a website that promises married people the opportunity to meet like-minded married people looking for a fling sounded both inviting and relieving. Inviting because there was the guarantee of a certain amount of anonymity; relieving because Josh might yet find a woman who understood sex as something more than a marital obligation, someone to teach him to enjoy sex, to please a woman sexually.
With the Ashley Madison hack, however, not only do we know that Josh Duggar was a customer. So does his family. His wife, Anna, now faces both the public humiliation of revelations of multiple and various sexual deviances of her husband; everyone and their mother and grandmother – and her own brother! – seem to think it’s up to them to go on social media and tell her how to live her life. That it seems pretty clear she hasn’t the tools to make informed decisions regarding her life or her best interests doesn’t negate the reality that she is still an adult. Whatever social and psychological harm done to her by her upbringing, no one and nothing can prepare anyone – no matter how well educated, no matter how well socialized, no matter how psychologically healthy – for having one’s all-too-private pain become fodder for laughter, political finger pointing, late-night talk show jokes, and of course social media discussion ad infinitum.
All this, even Josh Duggar’s job with FRC talking about the dangers of homosexuality, leaves me at a loss as how to think and feel. I want Josh Duggar to go to jail for fondling little girls; I find it frustrating that someone paid to denounce a particular population as a threat to social peace because of their alleged sexual deviance was himself not only an admitted pedophile but also an adulterer; I find the whole context in which all this has unfolded, the Duggar family and this all-too-strange set of ideas set out by someone alleged to be a serial child molester himself, to be beyond bizarre.
At the end of it all, however, there are two adults and four children, left with nothing but the shattered pieces of what all must have thought was a happy life together. Taking back something I wrote just this morning, I no longer think pointing and laughing at Josh Duggar for being “a hypocrite” (or worse) is justified. Considering the weird ideas and just out-and-out odd way he was raised, is it any surprise what happened transpired as it did? I will not pronounce any judgment, one way or another, on Josh (although I do so hope he finds some help – real help, with real therapists, psychological and sexual). I will not be so presumptuous as to pronounce what Anna Duggar should or should not do regarding her marriage. While the article on her brother’s social media postings makes clear her parents are pressuring her to stay – not for herself, but for them – I wish that were not the case.
To sum up, after more reading and thought, I realize the whole situation is far more sad than anything. As with so much in life, there aren’t any “good guys” or “bad guys” here; there aren’t any “righteous” and “hypocritical” people. There are just people, specifically a family inadequately prepared for any kind of life outside their close circle of like-minded friends and family, suddenly on a very glaring, all-too-visible world media stage. Nothing can prepare anyone for this; still less are those poorly educated or socialized, with very little in the way of contact or understanding with the larger society and culture. I honestly believe it would be far better if the bright lights were turned off, the cameras put away, and most of the folks who seem so sure what is right and what is wrong in this confusing mass of human sorrow might take a moment and consider: What if the world thought they knew better than you how to live your life? What if you suddenly had the thought everything you were taught was true might not be true? What if your world crumbled around you and instead of helping, most people thought it was funny and entertaining?