Superficial Appearance by Anonymous

Intriguing point raised in a recent offline discussion:Would the Duggar show, wondered a co-worker, be so popular, and would the mainstream population be so tolerant of their views, even given the recent very sobering Baby Josie "story arc," if the family members were less attractive? Michelle, he mused, is a very pretty lady, and her daughters are growing up to be very pretty girls, some of them absolutely stunning. The boys are at least on the reasonably handsome side of the fence, and the children are all cute enough to pack off to a modeling agency tomorrow. Even Paw Duggar, the venerable JimBob, while he makes what most would concede to be some deplorable hairstyle choices, would not win an Ugliest Man on TV prize. But what if they looked like just your average run-of-the-mill rural family who, even if only as a result of having virtually no skills in the cosmetic arts or their application, little or no knowledge in the grooming customs du jour, and limited access to all that creams and potions and salons and electric hair appliances that make it possible for so many run-of-the-mill families, rural and otherwise, to make themselves look attractive. What if, as a result of all that, they all looked like stereotypes of unsophisticated "fundamentalist," with lots of visible complexion blemishes, lank, flat, dirty-looking hair, with the occasional absent tooth here and there - and the present ones unlovely, bespeaking a lack of orthodontia and whitening products, if they had beady little eyes and ratlike Snopesian features, most of them significantly overweight, with a couple bordering on morbidly obese? What would we say about them then, about the whole story of Josie, and how Michelle and JimBob intended to continue right on ceaselessly reproducing? Would we enjoy watching them in large enough numbers that a network would be able to get and keep sponsors?

By anonymous

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looks don't account for anything. Maybe there would be more critisism, but it wouldn't change who they really are.

Anonymous said...

This is what Jon Gosselin meant when he once said his kids were highly "marketable". Ahem, they are cute and adorable and very personable. This is why the "Jeubs" didn't go far with TLC. They have like 14 kids and similar religious beliefs.. and judging by their webpage, they are very "keen" to the idea of media attention. They want it. Yet.. they didnt quite stick to TLC. Gee, wonder why.

It is all about appearance.

Anonymous said...

Looks might not change who they are but looks would change the degree to which they are followed by the public.

Anonymously Yours said...

Great point to ponder.

Off the top of my head, I will agree with you on most of your point, the many of the Duggars are very nice looking people.

My objection is about JB, who bears a strong and very unfortunate resemblance to Howdy Doody to these eyes. And THEN he opens his mouth and you realize his puppetness is NOT simply physical. Stilted, rote, superficial, one dimensional, and often downright dumb statements fall from that goofy tooth-overgrown mouth.

IMO you are right that they have 'dolled up' the Duggar women - think back to MaD's hair until fairly recently, with that hillbilly from heaven thing with the two curly 'sideburns' with the long curly mullet. IF that was ever in style, surely it predates my lifetime.

I am guessing that the REAL people (vs. 'reality tv' characters) are seen as inherently less dramatic, and, therefore, less riveting ratings-wise. Add to that merely AVERAGE physical beauty and I'm doubting the TV execs would even consider wasting their time and $ on them.

Re: the public? I'm thinking the only ones who seriously watch the Duggars are either Gothardites or at least Gothardite admirers and those who enjoy observing life from the crazier side of the fence. If the Duggars were more NORMAL in their lifestyle, they'd never have made it to tv for even ONE 'howdy folks, I birthed 'em all myself with the help of my wuuuunerful husband, JimBob'.

babysteps said...

The Duggars have some good media sense. They know how to use it to their advantage and the media knows how to use them. They also know how to shut up about some of their more controversial beliefs. Even their blanket training hasn't made it on air cause I'm sure there would be some controversy about it. The Duggars fit TLC and TLC fits the Duggars. I don't think it's about looks.

Anonymous said...

The saying is beauty is in the eye of the beholder. While I do think that the older girls are pretty and some of the younger kids are cute I don't really find the Duggars overly attractive. I don't think Michelle is all that beautiful and Jim Bob is not that great looking to me either. But I do agree that TLC is probably not looking for a fuddy duddy looking family.

I checked out the Jeub website and I don't think they are an unattractive family, I don't think the Duggar's are more attractive. Maybe the Jeub's in the end didn't feel like selling out their family to TLC.

Celestie said...

Absolutely looks count on TV and marketability. The Duggars are a particularly handsome family. I think that not only does it make them more appealing, it also makes the contrast between what they believe in, and their appearance more noticeable. Who wouldn't like to see Jana as the Homecoming Queen in a lovely prom dress, or Jinger as head cheerleader, or Jill leading the LaCross team to victory? Who wouldn't want to see those little boys in a Little League uniforms, or John David in a high school football uniform? Who wouldn't want to see pretty Michelle in a stylish hair do, a classic dress, and high heels?
The fact that they look the parts, but never can fulfill those images are intriguing and make good TV. Its all about selling the brand.

Anonymous said...

Looks matter. In this world it IS all about the physical, even though it's not supposed to be. Case in point - my absolutely stunning niece basically gets everything handed to her. Wins awards, elections, scholarships which require personal interviews (hence, they see her), newspaper photos, modeling shoots, you name it. She doesn't have to work at it or go looking - people come to her. Much of that draw is her confidence but that confidence is based on her looks. Her very lovely but not turn-your-head-to-stare sister, not so much. Has to work for everything, isn't handed anything, no attention, people don't fawn over her. And she sees it clearly. If the Duggars weren't really consistently attractive, the interest level wouldn't be nearly the same.

Anonymous said...

Actually the Jeub children are very attractive and the parents aren't bad looking.

The Bates family is quite popular though with Duggar fans and they are certainly an attractive family, although a little more conservative in dress and hairstyles than the Duggars are currently. That said, remember how the Duggars looked in the early specials; certainly very out of date and almost like the fundamentalist Mormons from a commune. I don't think it's appearance, I think there are many of us out here who appreciate the conservatice they stand for and find the personalities and looks a bonus. The Gosselin kids are cute but I never could stand all that whining and crying and one of the twins is downright obnoxious in her behaviors.

Cyn said...

Some of us would watch them no matter what they looked liked because we agree with what they "preach".


Others I think they watch because they are a nice looking family.

princess.mom said...

Don't be silly, of COURSE looks are important.

JB&M are not "beautiful" people, but they attract the audience. Good, but not too good looking.

The children range from homely/average, to quite cute. No models in this family, but they are not hard to look at. Well, most of the time.

Just like Jon and Kate, this family has come to look far better than they did in the beginning.

babysteps said...

Considering Jon and Kate, they have their fans that think they're hot. I can't think of anyone ever calling Michelle or Jim Bob hot. The kids are very cute. I don't agree with a lot of the Duggar's beliefs but you put little goggles on Jordyn and I melt. They're adorable, but if all the kids broke out in a horrible case of acne I think they would lose some viewers.

Anonymous said...

The truth is -- if the Duggars weren't so screen-pretty, they wouldn't have a show on TLC, probably not even a single one hour special. Network execs and producers want to showcase attractive people, or people on their way to being attractive (What Not to Wear, Biggest Loser, Extreme Makeover, etc.)

This explains why Balloon Boy's father and mother, hard as they tried, couldn't get on a reality show. The dad was not ugly, but had the sheen of a desperate used car salesman, the wife had a very heavy accent, and the children were not as "marketable" as execs would prefer. Thus, no show for them even though the parents were clearly ready to sign their children up for anything and everything.

The Duggars put an attractive face on what many people find rather unattractive these days -- which is ignorance of the world, disregard for overpopulating the planet, strict gender roles for boys and girls, a desire to remove rights that have been hard fought for, the need to bow down to the husband as the "head" of the household, women don't work out of the home (and apparently neither do half the men!). That's why their true fundamentalist views are not portrayed on the show, or sugarcoated.

That's why we didn't see any film of Michele protesting the liquor license. That's why we probably won't see film of JB & Michele in Wisconsin while Josie fights to be healthy in NICU, and no footage of their recent attendance at the ATI conference. Because that's the part mainstream America does not really approve of -- and the execs also know that the fundamentalist viewers will not stop watching even if their views are being glossed over or hidden from sight.

jonandkatewho? said...

I don't find the Gosselin clan to be all that attractive, unlike some posters. The kids, I hate to say, are plain. Nothing special there.

Now the Duggars are a little bit better looking in my opinion, and I do think that has something to do with their popularity. While I don't find any of them stunning, they are passable and a few are quite attractive (I can't keep their names straight though, because they all look so much alike). I too remember that in the beginning they were not as attractive. I'm sure that some of the changes were made to keep them popular.

It often seems unavoidably obvious to me that looks do pave the way for some people in life.

Anonymously Yours said...

Upon further reflection I realize I should've added to my previous comment an explanation of why IMO JB's physical appearance is fair game for review and critique (not usually one to critique people merely for their can't-be-helped physical attributes).

1) JB&M willing CHOSE to exploit their entire family (including a sick and struggling preemie) by putting them on tv. This decision, IMO, carries with it the right (and likelihood) of viewers to form and voice opinions about the lifestyle and characters portrayed as 'reality'.

2) I find Patriarchy immensely offensive. Add to that a guy who is so far less than the brightest bulb in the box setting himself up as patriarch and acting as The Grand Imparter of Knowledge, and, JMO, the result is a laughable caricature.

And, so, I laugh at the entire picture, including The Patriarch's unfortunate (and hair sprayed & vain) appearance.

Mustbedefensive, Iliketheduggars said...

I suppose I will be considered pro-Duggard "defensive," but I certainly didn't think anyone was overly attractive in the original specials. The girls were sweet but going through the awkward early adolescence phase, dressed in prairie skirts, and the boys all had their hair glued to their heads. There was definitely need for orthodontics.

That said, of course TLC has tried to improve the attractiveness and marketability of the whole family. They've updated everyone's looks and I think they look great.

Anonymous said...

Very few people would watch this show if one of the parents were short and fat.

babysteps said...

Those who have or had shows that are not classically beautiful...Ruby, The Roloffs, The Little Couple, Table for 12 (some of them are cute), Jersey Shore people disgust me, American Chopper guys, Miami ink people, Jon and Kate (they were okay to look at but ugly inside). I don't believe how the Duggars look is that big a deal. It's their story and their personalities and good luck that has been more important.

Midwest Mom said...

If the Duggars and their boss (TLC), didn't care about looks, then why have the looks changed so much since the original 1-hour special?

M's mullet-head is gone, the large-collared white blouses underneath the print jumpers are gone. Teeth have been whitened (obviously), and the younger boys' hair is no longer combed-over with Brillcreme like it used to be.

Ah, the changes that money can bring !

But it's still all about "encouraging" others. I keep forgetting.

babysteps said...

I think most of the Duggar's physical changes have nothing to do with TLC. It's probably been more of the girls observing their friends and others and experimenting with different styles. They are at that age. When they were younger I'm sure they didn't care much. Some of their desire to change has probably rubbed off on the rest of the Duggars. But who really cares? It's what's inside that's important not physical beauty. The Duggar family was just in the right place at the right time. That's why they have a show.

May God Bless Josie said...

I have recently been going through a "discovering my heritage" type thing. I was sent an original newspaper clipping of my birth announcement! "Proud parents are!" "Grandparents are!"

NOWHERE in there did they say that I had to have an enema every six hours!!!!

That it has come to this, for shame!

Anonymously Yours said...

Would just like to note that the Gosselins shared one huge thing in common with the Duggars: their conservative (albeit not to the fanatical level of the Duggars)religious factor. In the beginning, that bought ALOT of attention and loyalty from that particular demographic for both the G's and the D's. Apparently, that is a lucrative segment for TV to go after.

Have not seen the Roloffs, so I don't know how they factor into TLC's equation for supposed 'reality' families

Anonymous said...

no, they would then be more fit for a comedy club!

Marybeth said...

Sorry, but if you watch the first 1 hour specials, Michelle wasn't "pretty." Her hair was frightening. And as for the girls, they were still in that "in-between" stage where you weren't sure how they were going to turn out. Add to that they still dressed very thrift-shop and from their own sewing. So I don't think this point is valid. They got their show and specials based on what they looked like then--and they weren't that good looking! Sorry, I love 'em, but back then they weren't what they are now!

Marybeth said...

"Very few people would watch the show if one of the parents were short and fat"
------
Michelle is not tall and thin....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said;

"I just had to point out that the Gosselins were Asians and were more popular then the Duggars. And the Roloffs
are short.
*****************************************

TRUE but in the Gosselins and Roloff family there is a Caucasian person representing at least 1/2 of the family household. That does make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Looks matter. In this world it IS all about the physical, even though it's not supposed to be. Case in point - my absolutely stunning niece basically gets everything handed to her. Wins awards, elections, scholarships which require personal interviews (hence, they see her), newspaper photos, modeling shoots, you name it. She doesn't have to work at it or go looking - people come to her. Much of that draw is her confidence but that confidence is based on her looks. Her very lovely but not turn-your-head-to-stare sister, not so much. Has to work for everything, isn't handed anything, no attention, people don't fawn over her. And she sees it clearly. If the Duggars weren't really consistently attractive, the interest level wouldn't be nearly the same
----------------------------

Shouldn't you be teaching your neice to not get caught up in the way she looks? And that she shouldn't rely on them to be succesful in this world?

princess.mom said...

Marybeth said...
Sorry, but if you watch the first 1 hour specials, Michelle wasn't "pretty." Her hair was frightening. And as for the girls, they were still in that "in-between" stage where you weren't sure how they were going to turn out. Add to that they still dressed very thrift-shop and from their own sewing. So I don't think this point is valid. They got their show and specials based on what they looked like then--and they weren't that good looking! Sorry, I love 'em, but back then they weren't what they are now!
**********************************

Hi MaryBeth,

I agree with you that the family was not good-looking in the earlier specials.

However, I believe it was their willingness to alter/improve themselve's that made them a marketable commodity for the network. It was one thing to see them once a year, but quite different when they had to package this family for a weekly show.

JMO

Anonymous said...

I really don't think looks matter either in the beginning. None of these shows were originally based on looks. Here's my take... when the Gosselins started, Kate was chubby with short, manly hair. Jon was going bald. Although Jeremy Roloff is attractive now, when that family's show started, none of them were particularly attractive. And of all of them, the Duggars, IMO, were the least attractive at the time they started their show. Just go back and look at some of the earlier specials. I believe these shows start out to showcase a particular unique quality of the family, and then as they continue the family themselves, and possibly the producers, naturally realize that they should look more markatable as their popularity gains, to keep viewership. Honestly, I think half of the changes we've seen over the years in any of these families have come from the families themselves. After realizing how popular your show is and that it's going to be around for a while, I think it would be natural to want begin paying more attention to your appearance. But the Duggars did NOT start out like this.

Anonymous said...

I just posted about the Duggars naturally wanting to improve their appearance after their show gained popularity. I'd also like to point out that some of the changes in looks, with the children at least, are natural and age related. When any of these shows started out, the kids were in completely different age categories than they were when the show ended or are currently. Yes, some of the changes like makeup and different clothing are things a person can control, but we also have to remember that a lot of these changes are natural. Kids look awkward when they're growing, and over the years they naturally begin to look better. Red faces go away, hair becomes less frizzy, teeth straighten out, features begin to match . I understand that some of these things (braces, hairdos) aren't natural, but they happen to almost EVERY adolescent, whether they have a TV show or not. I don't know a single person in his or her late teens or early twenties who looked the way they did at 13.

Jana fan said...

The older girls were already teenagers when the show started, still dressing in matching prairie dresses. The Bates wore those matching homemade dresses too, until they had more exposure from TLC.

Without TLC, I am certain both families would still have girls wearing matching dresses, even at age 20.

The little Duggar girls are positively fashionable now, with the latest Gymboree and other clothing. No huge Peter Pan collars and jumpers for them.

All in all, the littler girls are going to have a much easier time than the older ones. As it is, Joy has to do MUCH less housework and childcare at her age than the older girls, particularly Jana and Jill, did at the same age.

TLC definitely impacted this family's appearance. Actually, even in the prairie dresses, I thought that they were an attractive family though, and still contend that had then been a family of 18 Muslims, the show would never have made it past a pilot.

Anonymous said...

I think the show has afforded them the ability to buy new now. They aren't poor anymore and having to watch every penny.

Only one Duggar has had braces, that was Jill. They didn't even provide it to Josh, who has very crooked teeth. If there is one Duggar that "stands" out, it is him. He has that dopey look, as does Anna.

I watch this show with an open mind. The reason I continue to watch it is for the wholesome values. Can't find that on cable TV too much anymore. Little House on the Prarie and the Waltons have been gone for 20 plus years.

I won't tear this family apart.

My only real concern is for Josie, not if the girls marry some other guy in a "pre-arranged" marriage.

I see that Jim Bob loves his kids very much. He seems more hands on then Michelle at times. I also have noticed him saying before they leave the house, to "get ready and get your hair fixed"..he doesn't want them leaving the house looking messy. That is a good attribute in any parent.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't you be teaching your neice to not get caught up in the way she looks? And that she shouldn't rely on them to be succesful in this world?

********************************
Well, other Anonymous, of course we try to do that, but it is primarily up to her parents, of course, who are around her daily. She is sometimes torn between her brains (smart) and her beauty - and has come to realize within the last few years that her beauty is getting her farther than her brains. And with no work involved. It's sad to see that looks are so often valued more in society, but it's the truth of it.

I think part of the Duggars' appeal in the beginning was precisely because they did NOT look like they were in the "modern" world with the matching dresses and the female mullet hair - kind of like a circus sideshow, if you will. I think if they had stayed in that mode, the curiosity factor about their outdated look would have kept people interested, and now the attractiveness factor helps. If they had ended up somewhere in the "middle" - mroe "modern" but without the attractive factor, I don't think the interest would have been there so much. It's why people where I live initially follow the Amish around - the outward appearance. The

Anon 3:14 said...

The definition of wholesome values must have changed over the years.

The Duggars consistently discuss subjects that are extremely personal.

I was a Waltons and Little House on the Prairie fan for years, but I never did see any of those people discussing their breasts, nipples, breastmilk production, cervical softening, menstrual cycles on a calendar, giving birth both vaginally and via c-section, and on and on.

If the Duggars are wholesome, then I'll take not-so-wholesome any day of the week. At least it would be more honest.

And, Jill is not the only Duggar to have had braces.

If you watch one of the early 1-hour specials, Jana is definitely shown wearing braces.

Sure, JimBob will tell the kids to get ready and get their hair fixed, he's their shining example. I've never seen a man spend so much time on his hair, all the blow-drying, combing over and volumes of hairspray !

Anonymous said...

"Sure, JimBob will tell the kids to get ready and get their hair fixed, he's their shining example. I've never seen a man spend so much time on his hair, all the blow-drying, combing over and volumes of hairspray !"

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Just a guess, but at their age, I'm thinking ol' JB&M probably touch up the greys these days, too......

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 9:12 am, I, too, began watching the Duggars with an open mind.

Having come from a large, religious family, I initially enjoyed the basic premise of un-over indulged and likable kids pulling together for a common goal.

But before long, I realized the goal was far TOO common - the job of these kids is to parent the smaller children and to grow into clones of their parents.

I watched a mom speak and act like an obedient little girl and her rather dim spouse play Patriarch despite his obvious lack of intellect and wisdom.

As the earliest batch of kids approach 20 and remain at home and unemployed with no real prospects, my interest has grown more toward disdain.

The Duggars do NOT encourage or inspire me. They depress me.

curiouser said...

I hate to say it but I agree that the attractiveness of the family is part of the reason for their popularity. The older girls are all really pretty . JB and Michelle, while they do still sport interesting hairstyles, are a nice looking couple who are ageing pretty well considering. Usually a few times in any given show I'm really struck by how handsome one of the boys are (I think Jedediah is a real gem for the way he carries himself). And it goes without saying that the toddler set is ridiculously cute lately. Jordyn and that round cartoon face, Jennie and her pretty pouting, Johanna and her self-possession. There are a remarkable amount of charming little faces for one family. I don't consider myself someone super invested in appearances but even as I'm conflicted by some of the choices the Duggar's are making I am sucked back in by the cute factor. I agree with anonymous about people making allowances for the beautiful among us - unfortunate but it happens! Apologies to those who don't find them all that cute - you must come from fairer isles than I!

Anonymous said...

Agree with the poster who commented that if TLC showed us an even MODERATELY fervent Muslim family, they'd get less than a handful of viewers.

My guess is the fanbase for the Duggars is largely fundie-leaning conservatives, who, I'm also guessing have little interest in or tolerance of a pro-Muslim (or pro Buddha)lifestyles. JMO.

Anonymous said...

Though I am no fan of the Duggars, for whatever it's worth, I think some of the Duggarettes are very pretty. I think Jana and Jessa are stunners. I think Jinger's personality is cute and seems to show more spunk than most of the other female Duggars - go, Jinger! The littlest Duggars are cute as can be.

Josh, well..he could've been nice looking but is an unfortunate combination of overgrown ego and belly and just isn't smart enough to carry off such cockiness.

But the parents: blech, esp. JB. Michelle is naturally pretty but needs to grow up and stop being an obedient little girl - her kids need a strong female role model and they are not getting it from Michelle and her little girl voice and behavior.

Anonymous said...

Their Faith makes them beautiful
and appealing. One of the first
things Jim Bob told TLC that they
could not edit out their Faith.
God shining through this family is
an inspiration. They
are showing us the way God intended the family to be. The other guests on this show consistently say the Duggars are
genuine through and through. The
entire family lives selflessly -
making them like no other family
we know.

Cyn said...

Time for the Duggars to get over themselves. They do NOT possess the corner on the morality market just because they consider themselves to be 'living biblically'.
*******************************

I would like to respectfully point out the DUGGARS do not make these claims; again their FANS do.

Anonymously Yours said...

"Time for the Duggars to get over themselves. They do NOT possess the corner on the morality market just because they consider themselves to be 'living biblically'.
*******************************

I would like to respectfully point out the DUGGARS do not make these claims; again their FANS do."

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

That's a very good point.

I think the fact that the Duggars choose to so insulate themselves from the real world comes across as having this attitude as well. Perhaps, however, I am misreading this.

Thanks for the food for thought.

Anonymous said...

from previous:

Several people mentioned the Roloffs. I don't want to get distracted and go off on a whole different topic, but I will say that I don't think comparison can be made there because any show that is about Little People because they are Little People is de facto based on a physical characteristic. Yet, to an extent, the same beauty-ratings rules still reign - the people on all the Little People shows do tend to be attractive Little People. Their bodies might not conform to the prevalent standard of beauty in the culture, but they do case little people whose faces are more attractive than average.

Ruby was also mentioned, and while the premise of her show is a morbidly obese person's journey back to health, it is worth pointing out that Ruby has a beautiful face (and hair that many people pay thousands to have woven in, so JimBob, take note) ;)

Also, while it is obvious that the Duggars have been carefully and systematically "styled" to look as mainstream and fashionable as their beliefs will permit them to look, my own opinion is that some of those outward changes, especially on the part of the daughters, will have come about as a result of the exposure to the larger society which the show brought into their lives.

Someone suggested their friends, but remember they are home schooled, and their friends consist of other families of the same sect, who today would be more likely to look to the Duggars as the fashion plate to follow!

While the Duggars do have some very definite beliefs about clothing and personal appearance, they are not, for example, opposed to the use of cosmetics, and we know hair spray sure isn't forbidden!

This begs another interesting question, and may be at least a contributory factor in why this or that other family didn't get the job - Suppose that when the styling question was presented in an early production meeting, the Duggars had simply told the network that their beliefs precluded the use of cosmetic enhancements to the appearance, whether eyeliner or a particular hairstyle. What if Michelle had told them that according to her faith, it was divinely mandated that she MUST have a mullet, and that their beliefs about teeth were the same as their beliefs about reproduction - leave it in the hands of the deity, and if a heavenly decision is made that Jana should have straight teeth, or Jill whiter ones, surely this would not be beyond the abilities of an omnipotent being who created the world in six days!

For those who do share the Duggars' beliefs, and who envision and hope for a society where everyone does, this is actually all good news.

The beliefs, the lifestyle, will seem more attractive if it is presented using attractive people as examples. It makes the family much more "accessible" than they would be if they did not appear to be at least "inspired by" prevailing mainstream customs in the area of physical appearance.

The Duggar girls may wear ankle length skirts, but as several have pointed out, they are no longer wearing the "prairie skirts" with the traditional as-seen-on-polygamy-documentaries puffy-shouldered blouses.

LOL Remember the Say Yes To The Dress crossover episode? Michelle laughed aloud at JimBob when he asked about a wedding dress with "puffy shoulders." "Noooooooo" chorused all the Duggars, girls and boys alike, and a video confessional by a teen Duggar male closed the segment "My dad's fashion ideas are stuck somewhere in the eighties."

Anonymous said...

I'm the Anonymous that posted this question, and I have really enjoyed all the thoughtful responses.

I failed to mention the dramatic changes in the family's apprearance since their first appearance, and I'm very glad that so many people brought that up. It's very significant.

It's easy for those of us who aren't in the entertainment business to overlook this, but for all their prairie dresses and maternal mulletism, professionals whose eyes are trained to note good TV face potential - or its absence - will have seen past adolescent gawkiness or Brylcreem.

There is an old saying, that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. And if we will watch, for example, all of the "makeover" shows that are popular on the Style Network, et al, we will see that every episode of every one starts out with a pretty, sometimes a beautiful woman or girl, whose pulchritude is obscured by either really awful "styling" or none at all.

She may be a plump girl who wears unflattering clothing, a woman whose skin imperfections magically disappear upon the application of silica microspheres, thus causing the eye to naturally focus on her fabulous bone structure.

I also want to make clear that I am not suggesting that fans of the Duggars, and certainly not those who share their beliefs, watch the show because the family is composed of attractive as opposed to unattractive people.

On the contrary, even if they were all so flawlessly lovely with no makeup at all, I do not think that the show would be nearly as popular as it is if it did not "resonate" with such a large and growing population sector.

The show's popularity is not exempt from the basic truths about pretty people and higher ratings, but it would not be nearly as popular as it is, if it were not also a very good cultural fit, that dovetails with some very significant shifts toward the Duggar end of the attitude-opinion-and belief chart.

That is not to say that all who watch the show share the Duggars' beliefs to any extent. Even a cursory skim over comments here will confirm that just as some watch because they view the Duggars as socially and spiritually aspirational, there are many who watch because their own views are diametrically opposed to those of the Duggars - an example might be a family who strongly believes in family planning, reproductive rights for women, and who is opposed to patriarchy, gender-based roles in family life and the larger society. cont'd