I never thought I’d ever relate to Jana Duggar—you know, I’m an un-pious girl who wears skirts above her shins—but in grim wake of engagement season I kind of get it. I am blinded by all the dazzling (and not-so dazzling, let’s be honest) hand flashes of diamonds. The face-splitting grins captioned with the ubiquitous, “I said yes!” Well, yes, Katie, if you said “No” you probably wouldn’t be showing off a family heirloom to your 1,062 Instagram followers.
I see this in my feed and I can’t stop thinking of Jana.
But who is Jana Duggar? If you frequent this site and don’t know the answer to that I’m like, lightly concerned, but to recap, Jana is the eldest daughter in the Duggar family. She, at the ripe old age of 27, is unmarried. In fact, no matter how many randos she’s been rumored to be with (among them being Tim Tebow), she doesn’t even appear to have a courtship going on. And for the fundie family who loves nothing more than procreating, she’s basically a huge failure as a woman.
Not actually, but that’s how I feel in this moment, and it makes me kind of reflect on a few things.
Jana is me.
I am the ripe old age of 26 and have an epic history of being single. Sure, I’ve been rumored to be with certain people (never Tim Tebow) but a lot of my situations never come to fruition. “Single” has been a big part of my brand for the past decade, and right now “single” is the one way we’re able to tell Jana apart from her scarily identical younger sisters. So there’s that.
There is also the idea that both of us, while we’re not thirsty to tie the knot and get knocked up (ahem, Joy-Anna), don’t really hate relationships or domesticity. In fact, Jana’s talked about how being single is definitely aggravating. “I know how it feels to wait for ‘Prince Charming’ to come along. I’m still waiting. Waiting is not easy,” she explained. “Especially when all the married siblings are getting together and you can’t go along because you’re not part of ‘that’ group.” Sad face emoji.
But that rings true to anyone, right? When you’re not willing to settle on the first guy you swiped right on (or the 40th), you end up left behind by your friends and siblings who have coupled up. You can never tell what the Duggar daughters really want beyond those brainwashed stares, but she probably isn’t like, stoked to be alone or anything. I feel that.
The Duggars are IRL Facebook.
Or Instagram as an extension of that. Some of you may be confused because the Duggars aren’t allowed to have social media until after they’re married, but listen — they’re like this weird snapshot of an ultra-traditional lifestyle that makes us question what is or isn’t normal. They offer plenty of unsolicited hyper-conservative and egregiously wrong opinions at the drop of a hat. So… the Duggars are like Facebook.
For example: when you see your high school best friend’s 22-year-old sister get engaged to her boyfriend of three months, you’re slammed with an onslaught of feelings. Among them? A cocktail of “Why do I care?” or “Is something wrong with me?” When December bleeds into January with more and more engagement announcements, complete with blousy shirts, rustic barn backdrops, and that weird pose where the girl rests her hand on her guy’s chest, you feel even crazier. It’s like everyone in the world is getting married except you.
But it’s just the environment. It’s just that Facebook is a place where people want to share projections of good news, and that includes weddings and babies. I don’t know if we’d be talking about Jana being so routinely single if she was in any other family besides the Duggars, a family that relies on weddings and babies as a way to make money. Likewise, you get less hyped up about being the only single one of your friends and friends of friends of friends if you get the hell off social media.
The truth is, there’s nothing wrong with me and there’s nothing wrong with Jana Duggar.
Or, let’s be real, there’s nothing wrong with Jana Duggar’s choice to stay single instead of haphazardly throwing herself in a courtship. It’s all about perspective, you know? Whether you’re surrounded by 19 and counting delusional ultra-conservative, marriage-happy siblings or throw yourself down a social media clickhole, it’s easy to question if you’re defective. But there’s nothing wrong with waiting
…because if you don’t, you end up with Derick Dillard. And that’s never gonna look good on your newfeed.