February 11, 2009 | Comments ()

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 11, 2009 |


I went to a Christian school for my first 11 or so years of formal education. We had a priest who read us the Narnia Chronicles and another who offered up the “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve” schtick in his sermons. Enriching and confusing. I still believe in many of the teachings of our Lord and savior. You know, do unto others, feed the hungry, clothe the poor, don’t kill motherfuckers. The kid was all right. Though I suspect if he showed up in today’s Middle East, they’d toss his ass in Guantanamo with only a shat upon copy of the Torah to keep him company. All of this is to say, when I call wackadooo fundamentalists, Christianists and born-agains on their shenanigans, it’s with a great deal of empathy. And it’s why I can say, with out a touch of irony, that I absolutely adore The Duggars. Truth be told, I sometimes wish I was one of them.

For those who are unawares (and I’m not really sure how that’s possible ‘round these parts) the Duggars are the subject of a docu-reality show on Discovery Health called “18 Kids and Counting” (ne “17 Kids and Counting”). Ma Duggar’s popped out one a year for the last, oh, 18 years or so. They’re conservative Christians who home school their brood and take family vacations to the Creation Museum. They are the embodiment of everything smarty pants, snarky, pinko commies like us enjoy mocking. Except I love them. I really do.

They’re kind, patient and calm with their kids all of whom treat each other with love and respect. Ma and Pa Duggar seem to recognize the importance of raising them in a well rounded fashion. They learn to play instruments and change tires. They’re nonjudgmental of their heretical, hot cousin and they clearly don’t have a problem with sex. If the 18 kids weren’t proof enough, they’re comfy discussing the importance of fucking during pregnancy to, you know, soften the cervix. And Pa Duggar had the good sense to sit down his virginal son pre-nuptials and explain the importance and complexity of the female orgasm. Aside from the wholesale denial of scientific fact and wedding vows that read out of the dark ages, what’s not to love? Seriously. They’re beautiful human beings.

It was not too long after watching “A Very Duggar Wedding,” wherein Duggar the Eldest got hitched to a girl he’d never kissed, that I read this article from Natalie Dylan (so not her real name) explaining how she was all kinds of empowered for deciding to auction off her virginity to the (maybe) highest bidder. Now, I think there are some very legitimate reasons to get to fucking before anyone puts a ring on it but I can’t lie, I think there’s something sort of fantastic about the rather kookoobananas choice Josh and Anna Duggar made. I mean, these kids are clearly in love. Madly, bonkers, goofy youngster, gaga, hearts and flowers for each other. It’s rare to see them in the same room together without their fingers intertwined in some promise ring like knot. The sexual tension is awkwardly, sweetly palpable. During the post wedding ride to their hotel, the car cameras caught Josh’s totally unsafe driving practices as he and his bride sucked face, one eye occasionally drifting in the general direction of the road. They clearly wanted to devour each other. And the look on his face as he slammed the door on the camera man, that telling glint in his eye, knowing that, after using up all his Christian good boy will power, he’s finally gonna get mother fucking laid, made me smile broadly. Was it most likely awkward, what with the two buttoned up crazy kids having no idea what they were doing? Probably. Though who knows, maybe that “Your Wedding Night” DVD bequeathed from Pa to Son offered a few useful tips. My point is, if I had to choose between waiting to stick my tongue down a boys throat til we were hitched and auctioning off my lady flower on this douche bag’s website, I’ll take the Duggar way, please and thanks. Thankfully, modern life offers me alternative options.

I’ve been fascinated with HBO’s “Cathouse” since it’s inception. If you’re unawares (again, highly unlikely with this crowd) it’s a docu-reality show about a brothel in Carson City, NV. (Which, for the totally irrelevant record, voted Democratic for the first time in maybe ever this past election thanks to my awesome NV Obama peeps in the North. Holla!) Though it’s made by the chick who brought us all the “Real Sex” specials and manages to retain some of the sociological vibe of the latter, it’s really just a cynical attempt on the part of Fat Man Hof to publicize his trailer park fiefdom. In the first episode (which has the feeling of a one off special but who knows, the tubes are decidedly lacking in back ground info) he talks about how trashed and classless the place was when he bought it, how he brought an air of spic and span to the proceedings. He’s not a pimp, he’s the manager of a “commission based sales team.” They’re not hookers, they’re working girls. They’re not turning tricks, they’re having parties. They’re not fucking johns, they’re fucking clients. Cut to a row of cracked out looking “working girls” with their Lucite heels planted firmly on the nasty ass cocktail and cum stained carpet. A whore by any other name still smells like syphilis and Hof clearly has no problem fucking them dry and kicking them out the back door when they’re all used up.

As much as I hate the fat man, I love the girls. They work so damn hard to convince us they love what they’re doing that at times I almost believe them. They all have the same schpiel, “I love fucking. I get paid to do what I love. I’m in charge. I love helping people find pleasure. These poor men who’s wives won’t suck their cocks, they NEED me.” I want to believe them. I want to believe that they want this, that this existence makes them happy, that they make crazy money and can look at themselves in the mirror with love because the alternative is just too fucking awful. Maybe I could buy into their delusion if every dude who walked through their doors didn’t make my vagina cringe. But their clients are a steady stream of fat, hairy, slack jawed yokels and on occasion they’re equally unattractive, kinky wives. There’s a dead look in the girls’ eyes. An undeniable sadness. And they get crazier as the series evolves - 20 something episodes over 5 or so years. Sunset Thomas leaves heartbroken. Airforce Amy, who was bat shit to begin with, comes close to having a complete break with reality on camera and Isabella Soprano, the most outwardly normal and relatable of them all, disappears with a web only, dubious yet believable explanation from the fat man about drugs and porn.

Enter the little Women’s Studies Major that could:

When I learned this, it became apparent to me that idealized virginity is just a tool to keep women in their place. But then I realized something else: if virginity is considered that valuable, what’s to stop me from benefiting from that? It is mine, after all. And the value of my chastity is one level on which men cannot compete with me. I decided to flip the equation, and turn my virginity into something that allows me to gain power and opportunity from men. I took the ancient notion that a woman’s virginity is priceless and used it as a vehicle for capitalism.

Are you rolling your eyes? I knew this experiment would bring me condemnation. But I’m not saying every forward-thinking person has to agree with what I’m doing. You should develop your own personal belief system—that’s exactly my point!

I’m not rolling my eyes but my heart is breaking a little. Not just because of her OMG-like use of an exclamation point but because she’s blissfully unaware of what a cliché she is. Dangerously so. Idealizing virginity keeps women “in their place” how? And which place would that be? The kitchen? Their parent’s home? Is “are you a virgin” a question on some job application somewhere? Ingesting the feminism of the 70s and believing it to be directly applicable to this day and age is to try to build straw men from long fallow fields. We are living in a day and age where men and women alike have to sit through hour long snoozefest seminars on sexual harassment and sign reams of paper promising to have heard and understood all the ways one must be respectful in the workplace. That’s not to say it’s not important to keep pushing away on the issue of pay equity or calling out assholes when they let slip some good old fashioned misogyny but to claim women are kept in their place by idealized virginity is so not of this century that I don’t even know where to start tearing down her argument.

There is a line of broken women, ready to run down a double banger hallway in stipper heals to be viewed by anyone with a pay cable package, all of whom have already “experimented” with her “thesis.” Not one of them appears empowered let alone happy. None of this is to say Ms. Dylan shouldn’t go forward with her plan. It’s her body and she’s an adult. If she does go through with it (and the auction’s been up for 6 months so who knows) I hope she takes the money, gets a great education and leads a productive, happy life. But let’s not call it empowerment. It’s not. It’s getting fucked for cash. If you want empowerment, I’d tune into Discovery Health. I think the Duggars are onto something.

I’ll leave you with this ‘cause Odetta’s the shit and Feist is almost as good:

Beckylooo spent the majority of the last year helping to elect a President. She now writes television full time. She is fairly confident her greatest accomplishment is behind her. Further rantings and ravings can be found at If A TV Falls in the Woods.

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The House of the Rising Son

"18 Kids and Counting" / Beckylooo

TV | February 11, 2009 | Comments ()




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