I need to be really careful about what I say. Last time we talked, I was saying that I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop about Josh Duggar.
I clearly used up my allotment of “I CAN’T EVEN” statements way too early on this whole thing.
Dude had a secret OKCupid account that he was using to fish for strange on the side, AND not-one-but-two Ashley Madison accounts that he paid almost $1000 into so he could send messages to married women seeking affairs–messages that he sure hoped would hopefully lead to adultery (no word yet on whether or not that ever worked out for him–did he take advantage of their guarantee to get his money back if he didn’t find a partner within three months? Inquiring minds want to know).
Now we find out that he also had a secret Facebook account that he was using to catfish young women with.
Because of course he did.
Radar Online discovered that the email address associated with the Ashley Madison accounts, firstname.lastname@example.org, was also linked to a Facebook account in the name of Joe Smithson–and that this account began in 2004 and has a lot of similarities with the real Josh Duggar’s personal details. The account had dozens of friends, almost all of them young and pretty women–and they weren’t nice proper Quiverfull girls looking for marriage! One was an exotic dancer, another a lingerie model. Raw Story discovered that other friends included a porn actress, a Miss Michigan winner, and a boudoir photographer.
It’s not that unusual to think that a celebrity might have an incognito account on forums or whatnot. Sarah Palin had one for a while that she used mostly for liking and commenting on her real account’s posts, for example (hey, someone had to do it). Most gamers know that Robin Williams was an avid gamer himself, but I was hearing rumors that he was a regular on Second Life for years–and one oft-discussed anecdote in my old gaming community involved Lucy Lawless showing up on online discussions about Xena: Warrior Princess–only to be booted for pretending to be, well, Lucy Lawless. I’m totally chill about these. We’re all allowed to have our little corner of privacy, and to decide what we’ll show or not show to the world.
When the celebrity or public figure in question makes his or her living moralizing at people or trying to take away their rights, however, or doing exactly and precisely what their real-world persona condemns and tries to stigmatize and criminalize, that’s not okay.
Christians can whine about how scandals get noised loudly about when they involve super-loudmouthed grandstanding Christians while the scandals of non-loudmouthed-Christians and non-Christians barely get a glance, but the truth is that the former tend to be really loud about their moralizing and about the superiority of their ruleset–while often hiding great hypocrisy in their own lives. I think people have a right to know–indeed that they really need to know–that these sorts of control-mad fanatics can’t even live by the same rules they want to impose on everyone else and that strictly following their rules absolutely does not lead to the results they promise to obedient adherents.
Their rules don’t work. Their opinions aren’t rooted in reality.
Not even they can do what they want everyone else to do.
That’s why it’s important to me that when a Christian falls as dramatically and as completely as Josh Duggar, that we talk about it and make it known. If Christians have a problem with their inadequacies and hypocrisies being exposed often and with much delight, the solution to their consternation seems quite clear to me.
Meanwhile, somewhere out there a pair of young Christians are planning to start making babies. They are considering their options regarding childrearing. They’re going to run across the Duggar’s brand of misogyny-as-the-bonus-plan. Hopefully they’re going to check online to see how that tends to play out in kids’ lives.
If they do, then they’re going to see that the stories of the first crop of kids raised under extreme patriarchy tend to revolve around hypocrisy and victimization. Those stories are coming all but nonstop at this point–with few of the people writing about their experiences having much that is positive to say about how they were raised.
Healthy parenting would involve teaching kids like Josh Duggar about boundaries, consent, self-love, perspective, and respect–and teaching them how to meet their own needs without hurting other people. Unfortunately, that would involve teaching them that masturbation is healthy and normal, giving them the physical space needed to do necessary exploration, and creating healthy socialization opportunities and experiences so these kids can figure out how to talk to and interact with those of other genders.
None of that is considered okay for super-conservative Christians.
Without such teachings, concepts like recognizing and respecting boundaries and obtaining consent are far less likely to surface as necessary skills. Under such a parenting paradigm, kids like Josh Duggar don’t ever learn to manage their own needs and impulses; they are instead taught to simply deny them. They absorb the implicit lessons parents don’t realize they’re teaching. The explicit lesson might be “is this allowable or not under our code of conduct?” but underneath that is the unspoken but far louder “will I get caught doing this or not when I do it anyway?” In other words, they are taught how to sneak around and not get caught rather than to not do the off-limits behavior in the first place.
Josh Duggar figured out quickly that the young girls he victimized weren’t going to make a big fuss over his abuse of them–and he may even have been explicitly taught that they deserved what he was doing because they’d provoked him somehow. There was absolutely no allowable way he could fulfill his needs and urges under the code taught to him by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar. So he found an unallowable one that would be unlikely to be discovered, and if discovered would be unlikely to cause him any serious long-term punishment.
That’s the kind of mindset that doesn’t go away. You might have noticed I don’t call him a pedophile anymore; I realized that he was more of an opportunistic sexual predator than anything else. When left to his own devices, he sought out companionship from adult women, not children. He abused his siblings and that other little girl because they were easy prey that was easily available to him–not necessarily because his pee-pee was tickled by underage girls. But the lies, the opportunism, the sneaking around, the total lack of respect for his wife, the dishonesty on display, that hasn’t changed at all.
Understand, please, that I’m not blaming his behavior on his parents; shitty teaching is deffo the root of his problem, but a growed-ass man is old enough to get real help for his problems and he clearly has not found that help–maybe because he hasn’t sought it at all, or maybe because he doesn’t realize yet that whatever he’s tried up till now isn’t actually effective and adding more JESUS POWER to whatever he’s trying to do isn’t going to be the magic fix-it he needs.
There are plenty of other rumors still fermenting around the internet, including one regarding Josh Duggar hanging out at strip clubs in his late teens, so I don’t reckon we’ve seen the last of these allegations.
Make no mistake: every single one of them that emerges is one more indictment of the ultra-patriarchal parenting style favored by the Duggars.
I can’t really blame Jill Duggar and her new husband for wanting to escape for a while to do some poor-ism in the form of a mission trip to some unspecified Central American country. I want to talk about these mission trips soon, but for now, let’s just marvel that a region of the world known for its rigid adherence to Christianity needs missionaries at all.
I guess the folks there are just the wrong kind of Christians.
More importantly, though, they’re far, far away from Josh Duggar and the scandals erupting around that whole sick family.