’19 Kids And Counting’ Was Problematic LONG Before Anti-LGBT Accusations [Opinion]

The television show 19 Kids And Counting is one of a handful of successful shows on TLC that seemed to justify the network’s need to exploit America’s morbid curiosity for big bucks.

And now TLC has learned that there is often unwanted baggage that comes from making stars out of problematic individuals with often bigoted points of view.

Or persons who may or may not choose to date pedophiles at the expense of their children’s safety or well-being.

19 Kids And Counting follows the Duggar family, an ever-expanding group working together to face life’s challenges as a “traditional” religious family in a fast-paced modern world.

Except that’s not what 19 Kids And Counting is about.

The title says it all: TLC wants our eyes glued to wife Michelle Duggar’s magical vagina.

Will she have MORE children? Will the child die during childbirth? Will she die? Will parts of her genitals fall out from the wear and tear of having so many kids (yes, that can happen…)

The latest (and hopefully final) Duggar pregnancy featured on 19 Kids And Counting forced some viewers to recognize reality: This is a woman constantly risking her life in the name of an outdated, highly-misogynistic belief system.

Her husband, Jim Bob Duggar, sees nothing wrong with impregnating his wife until menopause hits, her war-torn body can no longer produce children due to permanent damage or she dies.

That is the reality of 19 Kids And Counting hidden under a glaze of folksy throw-back self-sufficiency and simplicity.

The Duggar Family isn’t merely a relic of a bygone era; it is representative of everything the modern woman has been scratching and clawing to get away from.

19 Kids And Counting is a not-so-mute testament to the fact that once upon a time, women in (and outside of) marriages had no say in anything that happened to their bodies.

Even now there is a constant battle for control of the narrative of what women are legally allowed to do with regard to birth control, abortion, and even refusing to have children altogether.

They had sex when the husband wanted and they had children when the husband wanted (most of the time). And unlike the husband, the entire burden of childbirth and child rearing was always on the wife and mother.

19 Kids And Counting cannot convince me that any woman who ever had the choice to do so would continue to willingly procreate until her health failed her.

I don’t see this free will in Michelle Duggar, and I couldn’t see it in the lives of the many women without reality television shows who came long before the Duggar clan and 19 Kids And Counting.

Perhaps the very essence of this series should have been a warning sign that LGBT members of society would not be welcome with the Duggar family.

After all, gay couples are often treated as sinful, evil people by ultra-religious individuals. Christian persecution of homosexuality is centuries old and attitudes for the most part have not changed.

Violence and discrimination against persons who are gay continues to be a reality, even as Americans congratulate themselves for being more progressive about the treatment of homosexuality than Russia or certain nations in Africa and the Middle East.

With this as a psychological backdrop, it wasn’t really all that shocking when the 19 Kids And Counting stars removed a photo from their Facebook timeline that featured a gay kiss.

What’s amazing is that it took a recent firestorm of outrage over overt anti-LGBT sentiments to see a move made to finally get 19 Kids And Counting off the air.

Really? REALLY?

While I am a firm believer that people who promote hate and discrimination in any form should be shut down whenever possible, I would like to take a moment gape at this turn of events.

One week of perceived idiocy and thousands of people SUDDENLY care about the “horrible” example being set by the Duggars and their show 19 Kids And Counting?

Where were these people YEARS ago, when this show was first proposed? Why wasn’t there protests then?

It’s okay to treat a woman like a carnival freak show, to celebrate the exploitation of her body, to watch in anticipation of her possible death… just so long as she doesn’t anything that might upset your sensibilities?!

Well, congratulations on your late arrival to the “there’s something very wrong with this show and why is this even on the air?” party!

Better late than never? It’s hard to say.

You see, with TLC’s decision to cancel Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, it’s highly unlikely they will be letting go of yet another one of the crown jewels keeping their network afloat.

Because the outrage of LGBT advocates was not enough to get rival A&E’s Duck Dynasty immediately yanked from the air, there’s a good chance TLC will opt to weather the controversy and keep 19 Kids And Counting around.

A few weeks of outrage and it will likely be back to business as usual, much to the chagrin of anyone who thought there would be enough momentum to say bye-bye to this Stepford cesspool forever.

To conclude, here’s a bit of advice for people arguing and petitioning to get this show pulled from TLC:

You’re doing it all wrong.

ALL wrong.

You don’t create petitions and angry letters addressed to the network. You don’t bash the stars of the show and write angry think pieces about them.

It’s a waste of time and energy much of the time in a world where there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Instead, you should and most go after the sponsors.

If enough people wrote angry letters and petitions addressed the sponsors rather than the network, their efforts would more likely end in success.

Sometimes, it’s simply not enough to call a show like 19 Kids And Counting problematic and think your angry opinion will be enough to get it removed. 19 Kids And Counting makes money for TLC through sponsor support.

Think about it…

[Image Credit: TLC]