Friday, April 30, 2010

Duggars and Modesty and TLC - Just What Does That Mean

We all know the Duggars believe in dressing to show their "countenance" and most people, the first time they heard that, probably didn't know what that meant--for the record, it means to dress to attract attention to the face. The controversy with people that want to stir up controversy, seems to be that "the Duggars claim to be so modest yet they always talk about their sex life, cervical softening, show live births, and talk about breastfeeding non-stop and Michelle's inverted nipples--nothing modest about any of that, all while Michelle won't let any of her skin be shown during an exam but her stomach is shown during a c-section, what hypocrites!"

So let's put some of this into perspective a bit and discuss exactly what all of this means in TLC-land and Duggar-land, or at least what we think it means. First of all with their dress, we all know what their manner of dress means. They do dress modestly and have stated that over and over again. Mama is very modest about her clothing and so are the children, in fact Michelle says when the girls pick out clothing for themselves while shopping, they tend to choose things even more modest than what she, herself would choose for herself or for them. They have decided that skirts go below the knee, but the girls have latched on to the ankle-length style lately, although some of the girls do wear them a bit shorter. The toddlers are wearing almost mini-dresses and leggings as those are easier to play in, and be filmed in. We've seen the boys in shorts once, that I remember, and that was on the truck in El Salvador, when Jim Bob didn't go while Michelle was hospitalized, and those were the "board" shorts--below the knee. They wear modest bathing apparel. I wonder about the safety of those bathing dresses, but that's another blog post, the boys' suits have built in floatation devices, but the girls' suits don't.


Discussing those subjects for educational reasons, for medical reasons, and to inform family members is not immodest in anyone's religion--even mine. I can discuss those things with my Rabbi's wife, since she has 8 kids, to gain her advice and that's perfectly acceptable. Their children know where babies come from. That is not a lustful discussion, that is an educational one, especially when your mother has had 19 kids.

Breast-feeding is a very passionate subject for Michelle, one she takes very seriously, as she's had a lot of trouble with it herself. She will do anything she can to share whatever information she has with the viewing public to help other women. This isn't just a show for entertainment value--it's on "The LEARNING Channel" for a reason. They are trying to share information with people. Yes, she has inverted nipples, no it's not something everyone wants to hear about, but to those other women that do have that problem and cry themselves to sleep because they feel guilty that they can't nurse their newborn, knowing that their is someone out their with the same problem that can sympathize and share information with them is helpful, and that's what Michelle and Jim Bob are all about--being Christ-like in their character--having servants' hearts, even if the subject matter is embarassing.
People complain that she breast-feeds on camera but isn't bonding properly by covering the baby with a blanket, or her drape. That goes back to the modesty. She isn't going to show the entire world on camera her bare breast. While I don't have proof, I'm sure in the privacy of her bedroom, or without cameras around, she does nurse without the drape and bond eye to eye. Most mothers out in public use a drape, how many mothers nursing in the mall or restaurants do you see with a drape? Do you go up and tell them that they aren't properly bonding? No. You just tell Michelle she's a bad mother because you can.

They do talk about pregnancy related things on this show. Amazing. Why? Michelle is often pregnant! And she isn't just talking to hear herself talk--this show, while a reality show, is also a documentary format, she's speaking to the audience. The idea behind it is that people in the same situation (i.e. being pregnant, not necessarily, but possibly also having large families) will also be watching, therefore will be garnering information from her while she's speaking about her experiences. We're sorry if cervical softening seems immodest to you, but it can be necessary for the birth of a child. Some women out there would like that information, if you aren't one of them, maybe this show isn't for you. I understand the comment about when Josie was conceived was a little bit more info that some people wanted, but I maintain that it wasn't meant for our ears as they weren't speaking to the camera they were speaking directly to another adult married couple, probably forgetting the camera was even there, as they were still sitting well within the exam room and the camera was barely inside the door. Nice coup for the editor, but a bit of a peek inside a private world we didn't need to see.

As for the usual Michelle comment of "no Mama skin" and then we saw her stomach during the c-section, well that really stirred up a lot of controversy on the blogs. Frankly I have no answer for that. Other than, a) she was probably not aware that her stomach was showing as her face was behind a drape and (if I remember correctly, covered with a gas mask) and b) it was an emergency c-section and there wasn't a lot of time to think about those things and c) it was THE LEARNING CHANNEL WHERE YOU SEE LIVE BIRTHS IN EMERGENCY SITUATIONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT HAPPEN. So yes, when it can be avoided, she does take care not to show her skin, like during the ultra-sounds, and breast-feeding, and other exams, but in an emergency situation, an occasional "oops" can be forgiven can't it?

Yes the Duggars do maintain their modesty, and no I don't think they are at all hypocritical about it. Except maybe once. Their visit to Dollywood. If they cover the TV when provocative women are on the screen so the boys can't see them, and if they whisper "NIKE" when scantilly clad women/girls walk by so the boys will avert their eyes, why on earth would they pose for a picture with Dolly Parton so readily when they didn't even know who she was?


  1. OK the whole NIKE thing needs to stop because the World now knows what it means. This might come across as being rude because not everyone agrees on what is modest.

    I watched the episode when Michelle and JB were on the View. I simply CANNOT recall seeing women in the audience with low cut blouses. We all remember Joy covering up the screen.

    When I think of modest...I'm thinking of clothes. They do wear modest clothes. In fact it really bugs me when they wear a shirt under a cute blouse that isn't even that low or V-neck. Every once in a while one of the girls will wear a skirt just below the knee, but this isn't often. Why do "little boys" have to wear 2 shirts?? I'm very glad to see them wearing T-shirts more.

    Their swim suits are AWFUL. The girls can sew and I'm sure they can come up with something better than what they have. Swimming in baggy shorts and large shirts would look much better. In fact, that is what Jinger and Jessa were wearing in TN when they rode in that large "rubber ball" thing. This is the episode when they met Dolly...I think.:)

    1. i agree with you i am very good mum and michelle duggars is avery bad mum

  2. I think it's perfectly natural that as the children have got older thay have been able to dicuss with them and their convictions have evolved a little.
    Do they wear those extra layers because of modesty of because they are a little cold if they don't?
    On the whole discussing breastfeeding isn'y unmodest - I believe. In fact discussing in a informative and unpersonal way any intimate detail is fine IMO.
    If I have any gripe it's with tlc for showing things they needn't/or that might be inappropriate. they could have been a lot more careful in their editing.
    I agree I'm not a fan of their swimwear. I chose sunprotecting swimsuits for my children that seem to cover the same amount of skin - and you can get them with a skirt effect for girls. But each to their own.
    I wonder at the NIKE thing if they are actually doing the lads a favour by doing it. At some point those lads will be out and not have that warning - is it not a matter of self control that they themselves look away or indeed learn to control themselves. What would Josh or John David do if someone came to their car lot with a less modest apperal that they are used to?

  3. My guess is Joy was covering up commercials? And I think it was for the little boys who have no self-control. I suspect at some age they expect the boys to have the ability to turn their heads away themselves. Again since they haven't discussed this aspect with us, or if they have I've missed it, I just am guessing.

  4. One can be modest in dress yet practical in life. I am always amazed at how observers seem to think that by covering one's body they are covering their mind. I find it refreshing that Michelle talks about breastfeeding,modesty and their sex life. They are sharing life experiences to show that they are not afraid fo life,if anything the opposite is true. Many women do not breastfeed because there is such a soicla pressure not to. I faced it with my 3 and I learned from the experience and share them with people. Tha is life. We hide too much in today's society-birth,death,sex- and our kids have more "experience" but no knowledge. If teaching children to respect their bodies is a sin then I guess the Duggars are sinning by todays standards. I do not think the Duggars hide their life experiences from their children but use them to teach their kids their mistakes and how to do differently. Ignorance begets ignorance and I don't see that in what I have seen of the family.

  5. These people are trying to live a christian modest life, just leave them alone and live your own life the way you want to.

  6. I just came across this blog and found it very interesting indeed.Thanks for sharing.

  7. I thought this blog was interesting.. I enjoy watching the duggars!

  8. i think that the michelle duggars shout keep her mouth close she not a good mum and i am very good mum and i am hands on mum and my son had a very good school report and they have said that state school is evil and my son does kickboxing

  9. i am very modest dress and i think that michelle duggars is bad mum because the older girls to look after the young children i am very good mum but i only one child