We all know how the Duggar family feels about modesty. They wear long skirts and dresses, decide not to hold hands until they’re engaged, and decline to dance so that they can avoid “defrauding” anyone — aka “stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled.” And, more than that, they’ve taken things to an even weirder level. Because the Duggars‘ TV shows, 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On, have a history of censoring a certain part of their bodies: their knees.
It all started back in 2011 when Michelle Duggar went wakeboarding. She and the rest of her family were on vacation, visiting family friends who lived on a lake, and they decided to have a little fun out on the water. And hey — don’t count out the mom of 19, 20 including Tyler, when it comes to a little adventure. She may wear a skirt while doing it, but she’ll still get on the wakeboard, and of course, they captured all the action for the TV show. Unfortunately, though, skirts and leggings don’t always stay perfectly in place when you’re doing extreme sports. But Michelle had a solution to that, too. She asked the show’s producers to censor her knees.
“I don’t like my knees to be uncovered, I feel like that’s my personal conviction… I asked if you guys [TLC] could please cover my knees,” she explained, then joked, “And add a tan on there if you wanted to!” The show complied, digitally adding in individual black boxes to cover each of her knees. It was clear the producers were having a little fun with Michelle’s request — but also that she seriously wanted her knees covered up. And fans were alternately like, “Uh, what?” and “Oh my god.” “Hands down, [that’s] my favorite scene in Duggar tv history,” one viewer noted on reddit. But it’s not the only time on the shows that knees were deemed not fit for screen.
Jill Duggar also got the censored-knee-treatment when she went for a pedicure with Derick Dillard and his mom during a 2015 two-hour special about little Israel’s birth. Though she was wearing a skirt that covered her knees, it appeared to ride up a little while she was sitting in the massage chair. Suddenly, her kneecaps were visible — and the Duggar girls simply can’t have that, so the producers blurred them for her. Yep, they blurred out her knees on camera, despite the fact that it apparently wasn’t a problem for Jill in real life who didn’t need to adjust her skirt so that no one in the nail salon — or, you know, the film crew there recording her — could see her kneecaps. Guess it is a bit different when their knees are being broadcast on TV for millions of viewers to see? But don’t worry about the fact that the footage that didn’t get censored included several close up shots of Derick’s feet being massaged with lotion and hot stones.
Even Jessa Duggar‘s had her knees blurred. When she, Ben Seewald, and their kids were flying to Texas to visit little sis Jinger and brother-in-law Jeremy Vuolo, her knees peeked out from underneath her skirt. The family just couldn’t have that, so they digitally hid them away. And yet, there were plenty of other moments when Jessa was sitting on the plane or when she was walking off that her knees were clearly defined without even a hint of digital blurring in sight. And the family has even broadcast the Duggar daughters’ knees to their millions of followers on Instagram — so what gives?
Though fans have cracked plenty of jokes at the fam’s expense (there’s no shortage of “Nike!” comments when it comes to those revealing knee shots), a lot of others straight up just don’t get it. Usually, if something is caught on camera, it’s fair game — but not in this case. “I’m just surprised any of the Duggars would get their way with this sort of thing,” commented someone else. After all, it’s not like any of the family members are actual executive producers (unlike the Kardashians on their E! show). But even more, fans are just surprised that that’s what they’ve decided to suddenly exclude from the show. “…These women ask for their knees to be censored but are totally okay with GIVING BIRTH ON CAMERA,” wrote one viewer on reddit. “Modesty, y’all!” They said it.
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