Thursday already! This week is flying by, which is a good thing. Tomorrow is the big day. I don’t usually start packing before the morning of departure or maybe the night before, if we’re leaving early. For this big trip, I started filling my new suitcase on Tuesday. I am very ready to get out of here, even if there’s a part of me that kind of dreads the logistics. But I think I have most everything planned appropriately.
We’ll take Noyzi to the Hundehotel tomorrow morning, then head for the airport in advance of our early afternoon flight. It’ll be my first airplane ride since November 2019! By tomorrow afternoon, we’ll be in Oslo, the first stop of our multi-city Scandinavia/Baltics tour. 😉 I know it will be over before we know it, so I hope to savor everything… but I also know myself, and I’m sure there will be first world problems to complain about. I’ll try to confine them to my blogs.
And since we aren’t on vacation yet, allow me to offer some observations I’ve made since yesterday. Wednesday’s post was about the “right to complain” and how complaining doesn’t necessarily make a person a “karen”. And how I’m not a “karen” because I think the term “karen” is stupid and needs to go out of style. 😉
I’ll admit, I was a bit all over the map yesterday, because I was overwhelmed with examples for my post. That’s a problem, but it’s less of a problem than not having any examples to write about. Then, maybe you might have some trouble explaining exactly what you mean.
Today’s post, thankfully, does offer a good example of what I mean by its title. That is, it’s easy for people to pass judgment and get on a moral high horse about some things, when they aren’t actually in a given situation, and won’t suffer any hardships for advising someone to do what they think is the “right” thing to do. Once again, I’m going to bring up the Duggar family.
In the Duggar Family News Facebook group, the group leader, Pickles, shared some commentary from someone who used to work on 19 Kids and Counting. The person whose comments were referenced wasn’t identified, but it was someone who spent a lot of time around the Duggar family.
One person in the group wrote that crew members who filmed everything were complicit in the abuse, since they stood by and allowed all of this stuff to happen, but said nothing about it. She wrote:
The crew witnessed girls being forced into arranged marriages, forbidden to use birth control and then pregnancies with no prenatal care and agonizing childbirth. They suffered for days without proper medical care. The crew saw children that were not allowed to go anywhere without chaperones. They saw substandard teaching and educational materials because they were not allowed to go to school. The network constantly allowed them to praise their ATI and IBLP training sessions. The crew saw that their patriarch had total creative control. The crew saw girls made to wear long skirts with long uncut stringy hair that were constantly being slut-shamed. They saw girls that were forced to cook, clean and raise their siblings while the boys played. They saw the constant abuse of women and girls due to their Christian beliefs. The crew was silent and complicit.
As I read the above passage, I couldn’t help but think that it would be very difficult for the crew to do anything about what they saw. As Pickles pointed out:
Yes, but is any of that reportable to child protective services? In this country kids only need to be fed and have their basic needs met. It is sad sometimes that we can’t do more.
And Pickles is right. In many places in the United States, all that is necessary is that children have their basic needs met. We may not agree with how other people raise their children, but that doesn’t mean that the government has the right to intervene. And, honestly, as much as I don’t like seeing children raised in cults, I also think that there’s a slippery slope. A lot of well meaning people think they’re doing good, when they don’t have the whole story… or they think their way is automatically always the *best* way.
People often think they are above reproach, as they point the finger at other people. They never seem to realize that the standards they want to impose on other people could just as easily be imposed on them. Who’s to say that while you point your fingers at people you think are doing wrong, that certain other people won’t be pointing at you and saying the same thing? Would you want them to be able to dictate what’s right, and what’s not?
The original poster’s response to Pickles was this:
My belief is that the standard should not have rested with CPS regulations but rather with doing the right thing for women and girls. The crew should never have participated in promoting this patriarchy.
Who’s to say what is the “right thing” for women and girls? Those of us who were born and raised in western cultures often think our way is the best way. I think Americans, in particular, are guilty of trying to impose our mores on other cultures, thinking the standard way we do things is the way everyone should do them. But, if you look at other countries around the world, you realize that when it comes to oppressing females, the Duggars’ ways are actually pretty lenient! I mean, I haven’t heard of any of the Duggar girls being held down and having their clitorises cut off by their aunties, right?
And secondly, has this poster considered that by “not participating in promoting the patriarchy”, the Duggar insider would have aided in keeping all of this stuff hidden? It probably would have been much easier for Josh Duggar to keep abusing people if he hadn’t come from such a famous family. Moreover, television work was this person’s livelihood, and TV jobs are, presumably, not that plentiful. It’s easy for some random person on Facebook to condemn the Duggar Family TV show insider for not “stepping up” and “refusing to promote the patriarchy” when it’s not the rando’s paycheck at stake.
Besides… everyone who watched the Duggars on TV saw this stuff going on every time an episode aired. No, we didn’t see the unedited parts that the TV crew saw, but we saw enough of it to speak out about it, if we were so inclined. Most of us didn’t bother.
I remember back in 2008, when the FLDS sect at the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Eldorado, Texas got raided. So many relatively “normal” people were glad to see it being raided, because they were absolutely sure the children in that sect were miserable and being abused. And, if I’m honest, I think a lot of the kids in that sect probably were experiencing what a lot of us would consider abuse. BUT… that lifestyle is what they knew, and their abusers were their family. When the children were eventually reunited with their mothers, there was no mistaking the joy on the children’s faces.
When you’re a child, you won’t necessarily see CPS workers as heroic when they yank you out of the only home you’ve ever known. Moreover, sometimes kids who are removed from abusive homes end up in foster homes that are as bad or even worse from where they came. Read up on the Turpin siblings’ hellish experiences with foster care for some verification on that. I’m not saying that calling CPS is never necessary or lifesaving for abused children, but foster care and government intervention are certainly not panaceas against preventing or stopping child abuse. Like it or not, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar are the parents to that huge brood. We may see them as awful parents, but they’re still the only parents their children have.
This doesn’t mean that I support the Duggars’ way of doing things. I am absolutely sure there’s a legitimate hotbed of abuse in that family. I doubt that Josh is the only one who did pervy things, either. However, I do think it’s a lot to expect random people to intervene/be heroic, especially when they don’t have the whole story, haven’t been asked to intervene, and are relying on a paycheck. Because while it’s very noble to think that we all have our principles, when it really comes down to it, people have basic needs that have to be fulfilled. It’s hard to be tough when you realize that speaking up or speaking out could lead to unemployment.
My husband went to war with a man who was later outed and very publicly fired from the Army for abusing troops in Iraq. Bill was similarly abused by this man when they went to Iraq a couple of years prior. Bill didn’t say much to Army officials about what happened in that war zone because he wanted to stay employed and promotable, and he did not want to be labeled a complainer. If he had spoken about the abuse, maybe he could have prevented his former boss from abusing other troops. But, there’s also a good chance that he would have been punished for being vocal about the abuse, and his boss would have still gotten ahead. It’s easy for those who aren’t directly faced with a dilemma to say what they think should be done. It’s much harder to take those actions when it’s your ass on the line and you have other people depending on you.
I am a big believer in speaking out and taking action when it’s possible to safely do so. However, I am also a realist, and I am wise enough to know that speaking up and taking action isn’t always something that is easily done without severe reprisals. And, unfortunately, when you’re dealing with powerful narcissistic types like Jim Bob Duggar, Donald Trump, Bill’s “war buddy”, or even his ex wife (when the kids were minors), you find that doing the “right thing” is very often easier said than done.
So no, I don’t blame the Duggar TV show insider for not “refusing to promote the patriarchy” and “refusing to take action” on behalf of the Duggar daughters. That would have been a tall order that probably wouldn’t have ended with good results. But I am glad to see people like Jill, Jinger, and Amy Duggar standing up now, and speaking out against the abuses perpetrated in the name of “Christianity” and Bill Gothard’s IBLP cult.
I think being married to a man who attracts narcissists has made me more aware of what is at stake when a person confronts one. The bigger and more powerful they are, and the more money and prestige they have, the harder it is to confront them. And while it’s easy to armchair quarterback– I do it myself sometimes– the reality is, when it comes down to it, we all have to watch our own backs first. You can’t help someone else if you’re not wearing your own oxygen mask, so to speak. 😉
Hopefully, we won’t be needing any oxygen masks when we fly to Norway tomorrow. 😀
As I posted earlier… my blog may be less attended while we’re away, but I will bring my laptop and see what I can do. I hope you’ll wish us luck!