I recently came across a post on Facebook that really got me thinking about the current pop culture circus that is the Duggar family. It has come to light that Josh Duggar not only sexually assaulted his sisters as a teen but has also been cheating on his wife and mother of their four children Anna, using sites like Ashley Madison to pay for his infidelities.
The media has consistently been missing one very important point, which is where the Facebook post comes in. So many people are joking and laughing about the situation because it happens to be the Duggars who are involved, but what they are missing is the repercussions for his wife and their children. These conversations avoid the issues of how the culture Anna was born into leaves her with virtually no choice in how she can handle these matters and how they affect her life.
This post has over 200,000 shares and double that amount in likes. The comments are overwhelmingly positive and supportive of Anna, but there are also the people saying things like “Oh well” and “There’s a point where you put you and your children’s happiness first”. But is that really the case for every woman?
Let’s remember that this woman was obviously taught a very specific idea of what love and marriage are. Anna was taught that, as a woman, it is her duty to care for her husband and to provide him with love, attention and children – while he as a husband is expected to provide a home and basic necessities. She has zero experience in anything besides being a wife and mother and would most likely be villainized by her community for leaving her husband.
The idea of subservient women is not a new concept, nor is it extinct as much as many of us would like to believe. We notice it in other countries and cultures, in news and media, but often fail to recognize that these issues are still rooted deep in American cultures. Anna Duggar is one of many women who don’t understand that they have options.
As a feminist, I could preach day and night that women need to realize their self-worth when they are stuck in loveless, unfaithful, or abusive marriages. But the fact remains that there are women who believe they either did something to deserve these things, or don’t see a way out. They fear rejection from their friends and families, not to mention fear of doing the wrong thing for their children. Anna has been taught her whole life that her husband is the provider for her children and without him, she cannot possibly succeed.
This quote from the Facebook post hits the nail on the head;
“Think of this: somewhere, Anna Duggar is sitting in prayer, praying not for the strength to get out and stand on her own, but for the strength to stand by this man she is unfortunately married to. To lower herself so that he may rise up on her back.” – Jessica Krammes Kirkland
Yes, this is wrong but it is all she knows. We have to teach our children better. I have four beautiful, intelligent nieces that I want to understand that they are worth more than what any man can give them. But, not every girl comes from a family who believes that. Where do we start? How can we encourage women involved in this culture to demand this basic level of respect for themselves?
I encourage those who want to keep this conversation going to share this Facebook post with your friends and family. Ask yourself, what would you do in that situation? How can we justify throwing stones at this woman knowing she was ill-prepared since birth? The story is the same time and time again and as feminists we need to help others, provide them with support and love so that those who are struggling can rise up on our backs.
Read the original Facebook post here.