When trying to explain the Duggars, especially their “scandalous” photos and videos, to people who don’t know much about the big reality TV family, it can be a little awkward. For one, they don’t know about the long list of strict rules the family follows, nor do they understand what the hell courting is. And when it comes down to the Duggars’ long list of many controversies (with the exception of the Josh Duggar molestation debacle), they don’t really make much sense to the average person. To test this, we decided to show “controversial” pictures of the famous clan to co-workers who knew nothing about the family and asked them why fans found the images shocking. Unsurprisingly, they really struggled with it. Watch the video above to see how they did.
Because the Duggars follow rules implemented by their strict ministry, many of the scandals that plague the large clan have to deal with them breaking the rules, from wearing pants to inappropriate body contact. Here’s a complete breakdown of why these pics are shocking to fans:
The Duggars don’t believe women should wear pants.
The family is very strict on modesty and showing excessive skin or wearing “tight” clothing that shows off the body is against their conservative beliefs. All the women in the family wear skirts, even while at the gym, and they like to keep them below the knee for modesty reasons. “By keeping those private areas covered, there’s not any ‘defrauding’ going on,” Michelle explained in a 2013 TLC blog post. “My kids are taught the definition of defrauding as stirring up desires that cannot be righteously fulfilled. We don’t believe in defrauding others by the way we dress. And different people may be defrauded by different things. We can’t control their thoughts, but we’re responsible before God for our part. And so years ago, I just felt between me and my Lord that I really needed to dress modestly.”
There is an exception, however. Because the Duggars believe in outdated gender norms, the men control how severe they want the rules enforced. So, for example, because Jinger‘s husband Jeremy Vuolo is OK with her wearing pants, she gets to wear them now.
The Duggars don’t believe in “touching” before marriage.
The Duggars don’t date, they court. Courting is, according to them, “dating with a purpose.” And that purpose is to get married. It’s more like a business transaction, and there are lots of interviews between parents to get the young couple ready for matrimony. During this entire process, couples are not allowed to have sex, kiss, or even hug each other. In fact, Michelle and Jim Bob enforce a strict “side hug only” rule. So, when Joy-Anna and Austin Forsyth tied the knot, fans were stunned to see the couple be so openly affectionate with one another considering they weren’t even allowed to kiss just a few months prior!
The Duggars don’t believe in dancing.
Other things the Duggars don’t like are dancing. In IBLP teachings, all secular music “with a beat” is forbidden. They also don’t dance because all the gyrating of body parts is considered too risqué for them and goes against their strict views. So that’s why that “wild” party video was considered so shocking as it contained a double whammy of secular music and dancing. The horror!
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a rule,” Jill clarified during an episode of 19 Kids and Counting. “We don’t want to stir up desires, just different things that, um, cannot be…righteously fulfilled, that cannot be, um, I don’t know, so, anyway, our family has chosen not to dance.”
A nose piercing is a sign of “rebelliousness.”
However, as the oldest Duggars get married and start having families of their own, they’ve shown hints that they’re starting to deviate away from their parents’ rules, from nose rings to showing off their knees to suggestive PDA. And yeah, it might not be a big deal to us, but it’s a huge deal in the Duggarverse. And for those people out there who still don’t understand, well, that’s just the Duggar fam for you.
Have a tip? Send it to us! Email In Touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.