The Duggar Family, stars of TLC’s Umpteen Kids and Counting, are the family everyone loves to hate because of their massive brood and strange fixation with adding more humans to the number of us standing on the Earth.
Many arguments can be made in both directions- the Duggars are self-sufficient (but not every large family can land a reality show by merit of continually spawning), none of their kids have thus far been linked to anything untoward, and their penchant for making babies has provided countless Americans with something to do on whatever night their show happens to be on the airwaves.
On the flipside, detractors say that the show promotes the idea that women are mainly here to breed and not have careers and such, that the Duggar kids are unfairly put upon to raise their siblings (each is paired with a “buddy” while Michelle goes about the business of having more babies) and also, the general threat overpopulation looming, people like the Duggars are essentially making longer lines at Starbucks. Those cretins.
Personally, I find it difficult to feel one way or the other about the Duggars- I think large families are cool, but a family of more than 20 is probably a bit more of a drain on parental resources than, say, the family on Just the Ten of Us. But on the other hand, I know a few women personally who seem to feel the need to keep having kids because of some personal emotional need, and not taking any time off from being pregnant throughout your whole entire marriage until you are no longer fertile seems a bit compulsive.
Michelle Duggar was asked about whether she considers her large family’s impact on the environment (which is kind of a bullshit question, because there are plenty of “child free” folk who haven’t spawned that 19 kids aren’t going to tax the Earth very much one way or the other), and she kind of reverted to some frou-frou stuff about children being like flowers, Mother Teresa, and all the people on the Earth standing in Jacksonville shoulder to shoulder.
Michelle Duggar seems to have interspersed what may or may not be a fact with a pretty big assumption in the interview. Duggar said:
“Well, first off, the idea of overpopulation is not accurate because, really, the entire population of the world, if they were stood shoulder to shoulder, could fit in the city limits of Jacksonville. So if you realize that aspect of it, we realize we’re not anywhere near being overpopulated.”
I think that the fact remains that for the majority of families, twenty kids is just not a workable or healthy reality, no matter how much of a concern the environment may be. And while Michelle Duggar may be wonderfully optimistic in her view that kids are like flowers, most of us are lucky to afford one or two.