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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    What did your parents tell you to do with your life?


    I've said enough about my childhood on FSU for you to know that my parents didn't say much of anything about what I should do with my life. My father molested me so, if he were to have put it into words, I guess he would have told me to sleep with him because my mother was a frigid whore and we were in lurve. Or something mentally twisted like that. My mother did her best but her life was falling apart and she was saving herself. So she was doing things like taking me to bars when I was 16 and taking me to hash parties when I was older so she could pretend that she wasn't abusing drugs and alcohol. Then again, a rising tide raises all boats, so I won't discount the boost her efforts to right her own life made in helping me escape from my childhood situation.

    I told myself to get an education and get the f*ck out of there. My mother wasn't so far gone that she put any obstacles in my way and even helped me as much as she was able. My father continued to use us as pawns in his fight with my mother and his own sicknesses and contributed a grand total of $3000 towards my upbringing between the ages of 14 and 21 (and nothing after that, not even birthday presents) and tried his damnedest to ensnare me at every opportunity without much success.

    So, yes, people can "get out" of all sorts of situations and throw off all sorts of upbringings but my sisters did not fair nearly as well as I did given the same situations and the same upbringing.

    I think the key as to whether you can get out is two-fold... it's easier to get out of a neglectful situation than it is one where there is a lot of control and your environment is carefully filtered. I spent most of my childhood both reading anything I could get my hands on and watching anything I could watch. That opened me up to many ideas and expanded my world considerably. Knowing that other people didn't live like we did helped me get through many bad times and gave me the tools to escape. The other thing that helps is personality. I am driven and I am stubborn and I have supreme confidence in my own judgment. All of those things help someone break from authority. In fact, they make breaking from a situation like the Duggars inevitable. But not everyone is like that.

    And speaking of having supreme confidence in my own judgment, to answer your other question:

    The Duggars should agree with me because I am right and they are wrong.
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  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I'll bet the Duggar girls would say the same of their parents.
    I would be surprised if they would say that. I think they would say something like their parents told them to make sure their life was open to God's Will or something like that. Being open to options -- all options -- doesn't seem to be valued in that belief system. What is valued is being submissive. Guys are submissive to God directly and gals are submissive via their menfolk.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post


    I've said enough about my childhood on FSU for you to know that my parents didn't say much of anything about what I should do with my life.
    I honestly don't remember you saying a lot about your childhood. Your adulthood, children and husband -yes. But not your childhood.
    3539 and counting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post

    The Duggars should agree with me because I am right and they are wrong.
    3539 and counting.

    Slightly Wounding Banana list cont: MacMadame.

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    Of course, one's values are definitely influenced by one's upbringing (whether it be prescribing to your parents' values with some variation or rejection of it due to your reaction to it). However, aren't there degrees in which one's "free will" (if it exists) is severely limited or even oppressed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    I would be surprised if they would say that. .
    I would be because it would be most unusual for them to feel that any of it was forced on them or that they had been told to believe X and so that's what they did. It would also be most unusual for them to have not questioned the lives they lead or to have simply accepted that everything their parents say is true. I know that most of you operate on the assumption that this is the case, but I think it is highly unlikely. No matter how sheltered they are, they still know that they do not live like other people and it would be weird for them to not wonder why.

    Their perception of what their lives are like and your perception of what their lives are like are likely two very different things.

    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    Of course, one's values are definitely influenced by one's upbringing (whether it be prescribing to your parents' values with some variation or rejection of it due to your reaction to it). However, aren't there degrees in which one's "free will" (if it exists) is severely limited or even oppressed?
    Sure. And where are we going to say that line should be drawn?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    And those are all good arguments, although they address the issue from a standpoint irrelevant to the Duggars.

    So perhaps more to the point--in what way does it matter to any of your arguments that this one family does what they do--or even that people in their entire movement do what they do? All of your arguments (except the first one) were about society overall.

    There aren't enough of these people to make any difference to society. There is no chance that their way of life will become dominant or will be imposed on the rest of us. There is no indication that their movement is becoming widespread.

    So society will continue to develop as it will without the Duggars or their input.

    As for your moral argument, one must assume that it is true in order to agree with it. Let us say that most of us assume that it is true. Do we have the right to impose that particular belief on everyone?
    Last point first, I am not sure anyone said we have a right to impose something on someone. People are just complaining.

    To the rest, my initial post specifically said I don't know anything about the Duggars but I dislike patriarchy. And you asked me to argue my posiition, so I did. But as to why the Duggars matter, I think being on television indicates they are fine having the discussion - they likely even want it. So I am all for having the discussion on the topic. I realize some are all bent out of shape by people complaining about reality TV stars, but I don't feel your pain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    I would be because it would be most unusual for them to feel that any of it was forced on them or that they had been told to believe X and so that's what they did.
    But I didn't say they felt forced. I said that the way Zemgirl looked at life "They did not tell me to do anything other than to make sure I leave myself a variety of options (=do well enough in school)" was foreign to their way of thinking. The idea that you try to do well in school so that you have a full palette of options open to you because "you can be/do anything if you set your mind to it" is just not the focus of that way of life, as you well know.

    It's not about your will and your choices and maneuvering yourself into a position where you can take your pick from the smorgasbord of life. It's about listening to the minutia so you can see secret messages from the Big Guy telling you what He wants you do to and having the humility to do it even if it's not what you want to do.

    I think, if they were asked this question, they would say something like "My parents taught me to make good choices so that I would have an easier time finding the right guy to provide for me" (i.e., staying pure) instead of "My parents wanted me to go well in school so I could go to any college I wanted and get a good job when I got out." And instead of saying "My parents wanted me have a lot of options" they would say "My parents wanted me to have the humility to submit to God's Will and not grow up to be arrogant and Godless."

    Their perception of what their lives are like and your perception of what their lives are like are likely two very different things.
    I haven't actually got a perception of their lives as I have read nothing about them and never watched their show. (I'm not the one who wanted them to have a nose piercing or a mohawk. Though I think piercings and mohawks can be cool so I'd be on board with them getting some.)
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    I just don't get why the Duggars inspire so much dislike. How different are they really from the Amish or the Mormons (who have had TV shows about their lifestyles) or Hadasic Jews or Shakers or Muslims when it comes to passing their beliefs on to their children and attemtping to live those beliefs?

    Unlike some posters here, I have watched the Duggars show and I find their lifestyle interesting from the point of organization and family dynamics. I find myself watching them the way I'd watch a National Georgraphic series on the Lost Tribes of Borneo or Animal Planets' Meercat Manor. I also know that I'd rather watch the Duggars and their parade of babies than the Kardashians or Lindsey Lohan or the Jersey Shore nutjobs.
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    Somehow I think if people in this thread were enrolled in Prancer's writing courses, they'd mostly flunk

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I just don't get why the Duggars inspire so much dislike. How different are they really from the Amish or the Mormons (who have had TV shows about their lifestyles) or Hadasic Jews or Shakers or Muslims when it comes to passing their beliefs on to their children and attemtping to live those beliefs?
    How do you know the people here who are against patriarchy and are bitching about the Duggars wouldn't be bitching about anyone from those faiths if there was a thread about their reality tv show?

    Well, not "Muslims" because that's like saying "Christians". Muslims run the entire spectrum. But hardcore, fundamentalist Muslims.
    "Cupcakes are bullshit. And everyone knows it. A cupcake is just a muffin with clown puke topping." -Charlie Brooker

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    Quote Originally Posted by zaphyre14 View Post
    I also know that I'd rather watch the Duggars and their parade of babies than the Kardashians or Lindsey Lohan or the Jersey Shore nutjobs.
    For me, that's like saying I would rather get stabbed in the back than shot in the face.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer
    Sure. And where are we going to say that line should be drawn?


    Who knows? Lines are always arbitrarily drawn and accepted either through consensus or through traditional forces in power imposing acceptable limits of behavior. I just think just arguing that everyone is influenced by their family value system and by society's value systems does not necessarily negate people's criticism for the way the Duggar's raise their daughters if the viewer reads or sees something about them that for one reason or another (petty or "legitimate") is totally offensive to their sensibilities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Somehow I think if people in this thread were enrolled in Prancer's writing courses, they'd mostly flunk


    I doubt it.

    Although a post that explains what it is likely the Duggar girls would say if asked something, followed by:

    Quote Originally Posted by MacMadame View Post
    I haven't actually got a perception of their lives as I have read nothing about them and never watched their show.
    Is a little .

    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    For me, that's like saying I would rather get stabbed in the back than shot in the face.
    Yes. For you, that is exactly right.

    And that is why these discussions about the Duggars are so frustrating for me, because all of you look at the way the Duggars live, picture yourselves there, and shudder.

    It's not that you shouldn't shudder. It's that you need to realize that you are shuddering for yourself. The reason that all of you are so concerned about the Duggar girls and their lack of choices is that you assume that if they had a choice, they wouldn't live that way--ergo, they must not have a choice. And you see their lives in terms of restrictions and servitude and endless, endless dreariness, and don't understand how they could see it differently.

    At 16, the Amish are given the opportunity to experience a little taste of the world if they want it. It isn't much of a taste of the world in most cases (regardless of what you see on TV), but it is a taste. And then they are asked to choose--should they stay or should they go? About 90% of them choose to stay. That makes no sense to most of us; why would anyone want to be Amish? We do understand the 10% who leave. Yet the Amish rate themselves as very happy with their lives. Most of us? No. One of the primary sources of anxiety in the modern Western world? According the mental health professionals, it's all our choices. We all like to think we prefer our choices. But we don't really know, as we've always had them and are culturally conditioned to believe that we should prefer it that way, in spite of the stress it brings us, because it gives us autonomy and independence and possibly self-actualization and those are things that are valued in our cultures. We don't know anything else, either. We like to think that we are this way because we created ourselves this way. But what else have we ever known?

    I am working with a group of African students right now. Some of them love it in the US; they can't get enough of modern life and love the speed, the convenience, the peace and the health care and everything else. My American students get that, because those students value the same things the American students do.

    But most of my African students want to go back to Africa. They don't like it here very much. And my American students don't get that at all--why would anyone want to go back to Africa, with its AIDS, its endless civil wars, its terrible life expectancy, its poverty and disease, its widespread abuses of women? They are especially baffled by one who spent eight miserable years living in refugee camps. But the African students will say that they want to go back because, for all its flaws, Africa offers them things the US does not. The American students don't get this at all--they don't see how there can be enough advantages to outweigh the negatives.

    Statistically, some of the Duggar kids will leave. Maybe even most of them. But whether they leave or stay, they are still culturally removed from you to the point that you cannot just put yourselves in their place and assume that they see their lives the same way you do, or would if only they had a "choice." But there will be Duggars who leave; the choice is there. Yes, yes, it's very hard to do; you don't have to tell me. But it's still possible. And if life gets untenable enough, they will leave. But you are kidding yourselves if you think they only stay because they don't realize there are alternatives (of course they do) or they don't know that other people live differently (of course they do, unless they have the IQs of cows). But if you can't look at them and see why they might prefer to live as they do, why do you think they would, if they could, look at you and see your way as superior?
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    I think most people realize they're projecting their own values into the Duggars situation, which is true for almost everything else where people make judgmental statements.

    It's hard to fight that because you really are shaped by how you are raised and how you learn to evaluate the world around you when one grows up. One would hope they're being as objective as they can when evaluating a different sort of life style. However, my point with the degrees is that it seems that there are certain things most people would agree that a modern society shouldn't accept like allowing a society that has indentured servitude or slavery (both things being legal at one point in time and partially justified by claiming that those servants and slaves were happy where they were among other reasons). Of course I do think we, as a people, do accept slavery (or at least extremely cheap labor) in some respects but this isn't the right thread for that conversation, and it is a reflection on my more leftist views.

    I guess my question is more about whether it is ever possible for one to make a judgment call about a certain society that seems oppressive or is it always a case of outsiders projecting their 21st century privileged views onto a community they do not try to understand. Do you think that there is ever a case when one can make a valid judgment call or is it always only a reflection upon the judging person's personal views? I guess we have to defer to the supposed oppressed group and observe how they feel about their own situation. I guess if they are happy or seem happy enough, we should just accept it as a different lifestyle.

    However, I can't help but then wonder how trustworhy are people's self-assessments of their happiness? Do certain peoples with certain experiences tend to underrate their happiness while others overstate it? Is there an absolute measurement of happiness or is it all a reaction to comparisons to others? It seems like the more exposure one has to seeing what others have, the bigger the chance that one will perceive their own life as lacking.

    This reminds me of a conversation a Professor and the class had at one time about arranged marriages. He was Indian and made a comment about arranged marriages resulting in much lower divorce rate and thus meaning that couples who were arranged are much happier. I responded with there is more to measuring happiness than looking at the number of divorces, and that the lower rate could be a reflection on the mores and culture of individuals and the opportunities that are available in case one does want to leave a particularly bad match. However, I also couldn't help but think about how much easier it would be to have an arranged marriage and be in a culture where it wasn't so easy to divorce or leave one's spouse because maybe it means you're much more dedicated to making the situation work. You'll adapt and the notion of love is pretty dependent on how one is raised to view that concept.
    Last edited by VIETgrlTerifa; 03-15-2013 at 12:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    He was Indian and made a comment about arranged marriages resulting in much lower divorce rate and thus meaning that couples who were arranged are much happier. I responded with there is more to measuring happiness than looking at the number of divorces, and that the lower rate could be a reflection on the mores and culture of individuals and the opportunities that are available in case one does want to leave a particularly bad match.
    Exactly. If you're a woman who lives in a country that widely accepts forced marriages, and in which there's a risk of honor-killings for women who get divorced, it's disingenuous to claim that the low divorce rate is due to the arranged marriages.

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    today on dr oz the duggars showed how they make homemade laundry detergent, pickles and baby wipes. and i was totally jealous that i am too lazy to do any of those things. even the pickles and the hardest part of that recipe is owning a big jar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Statistically, some of the Duggar kids will leave. Maybe even most of them. But whether they leave or stay, they are still culturally removed from you to the point that you cannot just put yourselves in their place and assume that they see their lives the same way you do, or would if only they had a "choice." But there will be Duggars who leave; the choice is there. Yes, yes, it's very hard to do; you don't have to tell me. But it's still possible. And if life gets untenable enough, they will leave. But you are kidding yourselves if you think they only stay because they don't realize there are alternatives (of course they do) or they don't know that other people live differently (of course they do, unless they have the IQs of cows). But if you can't look at them and see why they might prefer to live as they do, why do you think they would, if they could, look at you and see your way as superior?
    I bolded the statement, and totally agree. Of course the kids have to know that there are alternatives - they have the experiences of being filmed. If that kind of environment doesn't point out how different the outside world is to your world, they would have to be blind. I imagine that there are plenty of people on that production stage who are willing to take any of the kids out of their "sheltered" environment for an evening or weekend and probably have talked to them about it.
    Having that many kids is not something I would have wanted - apparently they do. I wouldn't have had all my kids names start with a single letter. But then there are plenty of people who do (including my aunt/uncle).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Although a post that explains what it is likely the Duggar girls would say if asked something, followed by:
    I can see how you would be confused. My supposition about how the Duggar girls would respond was based on my knowledge of similar people with similar beliefs (based on my reading about the Quiverfall movement) and how they think about life and what they value. It was not really a statement about the individual Duggar girls who I do not follow. But I know plenty of people who are in movements like this or who used to be and they definitely have a different approach to life decisions than what I consider to be the mainstream middle class American approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    And that is why these discussions about the Duggars are so frustrating for me, because all of you look at the way the Duggars live, picture yourselves there, and shudder.
    Well, no, we don't ALL do this. That is what I am trying to say. Some of us have had enough life experiences that we get that not everyone in the world is just like us. Some of us have been born into limiting situations and got out so we know a lot more about their situation than most. Some are well traveled and/or know people from all walks of life and are able to put ourselves in other people's shoes. You are over-generalizing and painting everyone with the same brush.

    In fact, I think we actually are more agreeing that disagreeing. I do not think most of the Duggar kids are laying in bed at night plotting how to escape from their horrible existence, for example. However, I do think that most of them will leave when they grow up. But they will leave because that's what kids do. They grow up and move away from home and start their own families. They may move away from the Quiverfall movement when they do that but I doubt most of them will move all that far away from it, not nearly as many as people would like.

    Whether that's because they have no real choices or because they've been brainwashed or because they truly believe, I don't think any of us will ever know. Unless one (or more) of them writes a tell all! Now that would be interesting!
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I think most people realize they're projecting their own values into the Duggars situation
    I think they realize that they are projecting their values on to them when they say they don't like the patriarchy. That's one thing. What I am talking about it not projecting values, but attempting empathy, at least as far as people do.

    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I guess my question is more about whether it is ever possible for one to make a judgment call about a certain society that seems oppressive or is it always a case of outsiders projecting their 21st century privileged views onto a community they do not try to understand. Do you think that there is ever a case when one can make a valid judgment call or is it always only a reflection upon the judging person's personal views?
    I think that such things are determined culturally more than anything else. If we as a culture do not accept slavery, then we outlaw slavery. Once that becomes the law, the only question is whether or not something objectively meets the definition of slavery.

    In terms of whether people can personally condemn behavior--sure. But to what end? I think you first need to understand address why that culture accepts practices you do not and understand what purpose those practices serve within the community. You will not understand that by talking about how you would feel if you were engaged in that practice. You are not part of the equation. Perhaps your way is better, but not because you assume it is.

    I do not like the Duggars' lifestyle, would never choose it for myself and would not raise my children that way. However, I do not see them as a threat to society, nor do I see the lives of their children as tragedies because they do not conform to mainstream expectations.

    In the overall scheme of things, are the Duggars better or worse off than most of their peers? I would call it a mixed bag; you might not. But I have to wonder what kind of lives some of you think most people live. And I am not talking about people in the developing world.

    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    However, I can't help but then wonder how trustworhy are people's self-assessments of their happiness? Do certain peoples with certain experiences tend to underrate their happiness while others overstate it? Is there an absolute measurement of happiness or is it all a reaction to comparisons to others?
    Are you happy? How do you know? Would you like for me to be in charge of telling you if your answer is correct?

    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    It seems like the more exposure one has to seeing what others have, the bigger the chance that one will perceive their own life as lacking.
    Then why do my African students want to go back home? Why do the Amish decide to be Amish after Rumspringa? They aren't blind; they can see. They consider our lives lacking. It just never really occurs to us to think so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    In terms of whether people can personally condemn behavior--sure. But to what end? I think you first need to understand address why that culture accepts practices you do not and understand what purpose those practices serve within the community. You will not understand that by talking about how you would feel if you were engaged in that practice. You are not part of the equation. Perhaps your way is better, but not because you assume it is.

    I do not like the Duggars' lifestyle, would never choose it for myself and would not raise my children that way. However, I do not see them as a threat to society, nor do I see the lives of their children as tragedies because they do not conform to mainstream expectations.
    For me, it IS important for us to evaluate conservative religious ways of life, precisely because the values religious conservatives perpetuate - if not the communities themselves - continue to have purchase within our society. Simply espousing a radical relativism (the notion that we all have and impart beliefs to our children and no-one can be sure which belief system is ultimately better), devalues the work women have done towards gaining more choice in our lives. It does a disservice to those of us (including you, I would suggest) who have moved beyond these communities (with all the sacrifice of community, family, faith community that may entail) in order to access a wider range of choices.

    I would argue that not all choices are the same. To take one example: conservative evangelical wives' biblically mandated submission to their husbands. I would argue that in this case, evangelical women do not really make that "choice" with a full understanding of the alternative. Not to submit to one's husband's authority, is to transgress God's Word. You might argue that these women have still made a choice, between their spirituality and what others see as their "autonomy," but until they have actually been able to explore the alternative - equal partnership with a spouse - that choice is not the same kind of choice as women who have.

    And then there is the issue of sexual orientation: I think that it is quite possible for some conservative LGBTQ religionists to believe that they have made a choice and are happy with it - the choice of celibacy. However, can they really know that that is the best choice for them if they have never had the chance to explore their sexuality? Again, I see this as a more restrictive choice than those who have explored the alternative and reached that conclusion.

    So, while I am all for building bridges between secularists/atheists and religionists, and spend much of my professional life doing this, I don't think that this process is best served by this kind of radical relativism. Yes, it is important to understand these religious traditions within their own frames of reference. This includes the fact that what appears to outsiders be a useful religious rationale for prejudice (sexism and heterosexism, for example) is actually part of an earnest desire to live lives pleasing to God. However to posit the notions that it is not helpful to evaluate belief systems that don't pose a threat to society, that all of us live under the illusion that we make choices when we are actually equally restrained by other kinds of belief systems, or that all choices are similar, is IMO helpful neither to understanding religionists - who don't see it this way - nor to the broader society.
    Last edited by nlloyd; 03-15-2013 at 07:54 AM.

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