For those of you who aren't familiar with TLC, you're missing out. The network features programs about the morbidly obese, women carrying full-term calcified fetuses for 45 years, and "Little People" living in a "Big World." But I think the hallmark of TLC is the variety of shows centered around abnormally large families. Whether it's the Gosselins of Pennsylvania or the Duggars of Arkansas, enormous families are to be celebrated!
Here's some background on the Duggars:
- Jim Bob (yep) and Michelle live in Arkansas in this McMansion the family built with their own hands and without any credit thanks to a financial freedom seminar
- They're ultra-conservative Christians (obviously)
- They have 17 kids and one is on the way. All 17 of the kids have names beginning with the letter "J" and many of them are appropriately biblical (e.g., Jedidiah)
- Michelle home-schools the kids.
- They don't believe in any premarital contact between a couple beyond hand-holding
- But perhaps my favorite story about the Duggars is the beautiful story of how they killed one of their babies:
Then, Michelle went back on the pill, but she conceived and had a miscarriage. At that point they talked with a Christian medical doctor and read the fine print in the contraceptives package. They found that while taking the pill you can get pregnant and then miscarry. They were grieved! They were Christians! They were pro-life! They realized that their selfish actions had taken the life of their child.
So, yeah, these people are insane! And watching the show is entertaining, but it can also be a little sad. It's upsetting to look at these little girls in the family who are being raised to believe that their major - perhaps, sole - priority is to grow up to be a mommy and wife, oh, and a servant of the Lord. Sure, it's clear this family loves one another, and the world could use more of that. And it's wonderful that Michelle (the Mom) seems to be fulfilled by her role. But to watch little girls and young women whose futures are so tightly constrained by crazy, conservative ideas about what womanhood, what femininity, mean just makes me want to grab them and shake them and scream, "You can be whatever you want! College professors, doctors, Lesbians!"
If you need more Duggar action, check them out here.