Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Courtship (or how to oppress your children)

Jessa Duggar of 19 Kids and Counting has begun a "courtship." What does that mean? Her father explains, "Courting is getting to know each other in a group setting, both families spending time together and the couple setting goals together to determine if they are meant to marry." He contrasts this with dating, in which "a couple with often pair off alone and that sometimes leads to a more physical relationship." In this case, the two young people asked permission to communicate via text and phone, and their mother is "overseeing" their correspondence. (This article clarifies that both Mom and Dad are reading all the young people's texts.) They are allowed "side hugs" of thirty seconds or less as hellos and goodbyes, and no other physical contact. Jessa's father has been approached by many men about courting her, and this is the first one he has approved.

What's disturbing about this (and purity culture and "courtship" in general) is that Jessa is twenty, and the young man who is courting her is eighteen. Although they are nominally adults, they are being pushed around like pawns on a chessboard, their every action is being monitored and controlled by their parents, and they are being watched like hawks to make sure nothing normal untoward happens. Jessa is actually being told whom she may and may not associate with, and exactly how she may interact with the few people her parents allow her to meet. It's an oppressive and creepy way to treat grown children.


  1. GOOD GOD, that sounds intrusive! Let these two young people be themselves and decided, without parental interference or pressure, if they're suited to be a married couple.

  2. Yeah.... I want to bang you till we have 25 children....