I have a secret.
Well, I have lots of secrets, and the one I’m going to share with you isn’t going to hurt anyone to share it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t DARK.
I, um, seem to be a little bit obsessed with reality television.
I know, it’s gross. It’s a waste of time. My obsession with the spectacle just reinforces the filming of the spectacle for more judgmental people like myself to comment on it and make it even more publicized and mainstream.
And let’s face it, do we really want the habits of the Kardashians to become mainstream?
Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s is my current reality show I hate to love. I had caught a few episodes here and there at my mom’s house and when it came on Hulu in its entirety I was thrilled and dove right in.
Usually, I watch KUWTK when I want some background entertainment and don’t really want to use my brain to think about anything. Most of the show is funny (most of the time I’m laughing AT them, not with them), sometimes it’s shocking in that Oh my god I can’t believe they just did that way, and sometimes it’s just plain boring because, as the media tries to make us forget, these are real people living real lives.
Their lives sure are different than lives are for most of us folk, but it’s real life to them, in all its wonderfully and fearfully strange glory.
There have been a lot of other reality shows I’ve watched in the past that all have had the same effect on me: for better or worse, they change the way I think about people and the world we live in.
For instance, when I started watching 19 Kids and Counting a few years ago, I thought to myself: these people are fucking crazy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I really felt for Kate and Jon Gosselin back when I was binging on Jon and Kate Plus 8. I understood that people who use IVF and other types of infertility treatments run the risk of having multiples, it’s something that friends of mine have struggled with. Furthermore, even though I support abortion and reduction as a personal choice, it’s a personal choice, so I’m going to at least respect your choice to not terminate the life of your fetus.
But come on:
You know, I might be okay with this family if they didn’t do things like ban one of their daughters, a trained midwife, to participate in the birth of an extended family member because her child was conceived out of wedlock. You know, since my baby was born out of wedlock and everything, I’m an unsavory sinner.
I also just can’t get behind anyone who supports the Family Research Council, an organization that protests against LGBTQ equality, let alone someone who has a hand in running the damn show.
Then there’s the fact that Michelle Duggar lobbies against trans people being able to use public bathrooms, because, duh, being trans is just a ploy to get into places you “don’t belong” and prey upon our innocent sons and daughters.
The fact is, this family preaches their Christianity, their life without sin, their abhorrence and disgust of people who (in their twisted minds) are sinners.. and yet..
Say what, now?
The family says he “made some mistakes” and went down a “wrong road” and was “given help” when he “brought God into his life” and a whole bunch of other nonsense that basically says to me:
It’s not a sin if it’s our son doing it. It’s just a mistake.
It’s not a crime if our son molests our daughters, it’s a family matter that we’ll take care of.
It’s over, it’s in the past, nothing to see here, move right along.
On Facebook and in the national news, the Duggar family has admitted to knowing about Josh’s crimes (and let’s face it, they are crimes whether he’s been prosecuted for them or not), and seemingly supported him through it all as if it were he that needed the support.
Why no mention of support given to the daughters and other girls he molested?
They haven’t even been mentioned.
Why is it that I have this sick nagging feeling that the Duggars are the kind of people who will blame the victim for their rape and abuse? That maybe Josh “made a mistake” but his sisters “had it coming” by doing some sinful transgression like letting their skirts ride too high above their knees or leaving their bedroom door ajar in the night?
I don’t know. I could be wrong about that.
But they are a family of hypocrites, that is for sure.
Also, their opinions are wrong.
I have never supported the Duggar family because I disagree with their core beliefs – but yes, I have watched their show, I’ve seen probably the majority of the episodes.
I don’t recall ever thinking to myself “Aww, what an adorable family.”
My thoughts have been more like: How did this woman birth all these kids? Why are they doing this? It’s like they live on another planet. How can you call yourselves Christians?
I kept watching to see if I could figure any of that out. I was hooked on the spectacle of their story. The absurdity and uniqueness of it.
It turns out it was the things that aren’t unique about them that I see clearly now and despise.
It’s their common connections with hate.
Their acceptance of abuse.
Their close minded unwillingness to bring knowledge of the world and its people into their lives.
I won’t be watching 19 Kids and Counting again, and neither will my daughter. “Reality” television or not, theirs is not a reality I want to be exposed to.