Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Duggar Takes Position at Family Research Council

Josh Duggar, one of the sons from the reality show 19 Kids and Counting which documents the life of the fundamentalist Christian Duggar family, has accepted a position with the Family Research Council.

The Family Research Council is particularly notorious for its anti-gay advocacy and for being categorized as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Although, it's also worth noting that the organization also promotes a sexist, "gender complementarist" view of gender roles and identity in addition to opposing abortion rights.

Even though he's only 25, Duggar has been hired as Executive Director of Family Research Council's legislative branch, FRC Action. In the several articles I've read about his hiring, his experience and educational background has largely been omitted, which seems curious. Maybe there just isn't much to speak of?

So, that must be really neat for him to have such a high-level opportunity.

A couple years ago, I ran an interview here with Vyckie Garrison, who recounted her experiences living in a fundamentalist "Quiverfull" movement where women shun all forms of birth control and remain obedient to "God" and men.

The Duggars, to my knowledge, don't explicitly identify as Quiverfull even as their thinking about gender appears quite similar. In the interview with Vyckie, we talk about how that patriarchal thinking really, as she put it, enshrines "the supreme importance" of men and leads to them often holding unrealistically high opinions of themselves, their ideas, and of their importance in the world.

So, I think it would be interesting to be a fly on the wall to see how a young fellow like Josh Duggar, who has grown up within that sort of "supreme man" culture, interacts with women in his new role, especially with those who disagree with him.  For, holding even benevolently sexist ideas about women is often an indicator that darker, more malevolent ideas about whose voices are and are not authoritative are often lurking about an a centimeter under the surface, just waiting for the right context to come out.

In my experience, men who take for granted the intellectual supremacy of men, even if they don't fully comprehend that they hold such a view, often have a rude awakening when first confronted with women who don't live by the "if a man says it, a woman must believe it and agree with it" credo that they mistakenly believe most women live by.  It also seems to cause some of them more than a bit of angst when they learn that even if they think of themselves as Good People for being Christians, that other people think of them as really problematic or, gasp, even bigoted and sexist.

No comments: