The moment the Duggars first made their debut on television screens around the world, people were fascinated. After all, most of us consider a big family to be five or six kids — they took things to an entirely different level. Michelle and Jim-Bob Duggar have had a staggering 19 children over the years, and their family only continues to grow now that many of their children are adults who are starting their own (likely going to be large) families.
We totally understand why they were given a reality television show, and why it has lasted over ten seasons now — it's just an entirely different way of life. The Duggars, for those who may not know, are devout Baptists whose religion plays an enormous part of their life. They have strict rules on how they're supposed to dress, talk, behave, just about everything in their life.
While the men also have their fair share of rules, the women have a few extra based on the structure of their family dynamics, where the men really have the power and make the final decisions. It'll be interesting to see how many of the Duggar daughters continue to uphold these rules now that they're outside of their parents' home and living with their spouses, and whether or not they'll continue instilling these values in their own children — only time will tell.
Here are 15 rules that the Duggar women must follow.
15 They're not allowed to use social media before they're engaged
Now that social media is such a huge force in everyone's life, many celebrities are getting caught saying something they really shouldn't, or posting a picture that's a little questionable, on their social media accounts and getting into a bit of trouble. However, the Duggar women will never have to worry about any social media mishaps — because they're not allowed to be on social media, at least not before they're engaged. And we're talking the whole package — no Twitter, no Instagram, no Facebook, nothing. It takes shielding them from the world to a whole new level — social media definitely has downsides, but it can also be a fantastic way to connect with others, so taking that away from your kids seems a little strange. We wonder if they create profiles the minute they get engaged or if it's just totally off their radar.
14 They can't have any contact with unwed mothers
Okay, this is a bit of a strange one. There was a scene during the course of the show in which Michelle and Jim-Bob Duggar forbid their daughter, Jill, from hanging out with a young mother solely because she was unwed and they didn't want her "exposed to an unwed mother in that condition." We're not sure if they think their daughters will somehow catch something from unwed mothers — it's not as if it's contagious! — or if it's just because they see it as some kind of a bad influence, but it seems very odd to ban your children from interacting with an entire category of people. Particularly in this day and age, there are a lot of women who are opting to have children without actually getting married to their partners.
13 Absolutely no beach trips — ever
The Duggar family often goes on outings together, but there's one spot you'll never find them — the beach. To most of the world, the beach is just a nice, relaxing spot where you can lay in the sand, frolic in the waves, and just have a good time. Sounds like paradise, right? Well, to the Duggars, it's a place where people dress inappropriately and where lustful thoughts are bouncing around like crazy. The Duggar women wear 'modest swimsuits' that cover far more than your average bikini, but still — the environment at the beach is just too tempting that they just avoid it altogether, although Michelle has explained it's not because the women are actually doing anything wrong, but rather because "it's just too hard for the guys to try and keep their eyes averted."
12 No dancing allowed (yes, they basically live in the town from Footloose)
Everyone has seen (or experienced) cheesy depictions of slow dancing at a school dance, with about two feet of space between partners — but even that is something the Duggars have never experienced. And, they've certainly never twerked to the latest Top 40 hits. That's because the Duggar women are straight up forbidden from dancing — at all. According to Michelle, the rule was put in place because dancing has the potential to evoke "sensual" feelings. A lot of those feelings will pop up in people's minds regardless of whether or not you're shaking your thing, so it seems strange to ban something as fun as dancing, but hey — their hours, their rules, we guess. We wonder if any of the Duggar women secretly shake their thing when no one is watching — we would!
11 They're not allowed to wear pants — skirts and dresses only
One thing that it's almost impossible not to notice about the Duggar family is their wardrobe choices — particularly for the women. Their wardrobe often seems so modest it's almost retro, as they're supposed to have just about everything from their neck to below their knees covered up in order to avoid throwing temptation out into the world or showing their body off to everyone. However, there is one rule in particular that seems a bit crazy — they're not allowed to wear pants, literally. They can only wear skirts and dresses. Some of the Duggar women have a bit more wardrobe options once they're married, provided their husband approves — Jinger's, for example, is cool with her wearing pants — but some continue to rock skirts and dresses only because that's what their new hubby wants, and what they've done all their life.
10 Their text messages and phone calls are monitored during courtship
Particularly when you're young, dating can be really tough. You're nervous and tongue-tied and trying to make a good impression. Many of us have spent far too long lingering over a text message, trying to determine what the right thing to say is, or how to respond to a text from our crush. However, texting is an entirely different thing if you're a Duggar women — because their parents monitor all their text messages, and even chime in from time to time if they deem it necessary. Parents have a right to know what their children are up to, yes, but looking at your child's private texts seems like such a massive invasion of privacy. I mean, how are you supposed to flirt via text if you know your parents will be reading it?
9 They can only hug men from the side (yes, it's as weird as it sounds) to avoid temptation
Many of the rules that the Duggar women have to follow are designed to help everyone avoid temptation and impure thoughts and all that business — and this rule is no different. A hug seems innocent enough to most people, but to a Duggar, that chest-to-chest full frontal contact is way too risky and potentially tempting. So instead, when it comes to hugging anyone male, they have to do a strange kind of side-hug. It's tremendously awkward and weird, and we're not sure that people truly get that tempted by a simple hug, but it's a rule they have to follow nonetheless. We can't imagine growing up with so many rules and restrictions — it must have been exhausting to have to remember them all and to ensure you didn't break any of them accidentally.
8 They're not even allowed to hold hands until they're engaged
Okay, we kind of understand the whole 'saving yourself for marriage' thing, if that's what you want to do — it makes sense that you'd save that one particular intimate experience for your future spouse. However, this rule seems a bit bizarre, even for the most conservative people. Not only are Duggar women obviously not allowed to hop into bed with their partner before they tie the knot, they're also not even allowed to hold their hand. We're completely serious — they're not allowed to hold their partner's hand during the whole courtship process. Forbidding them from kissing seems strict enough, but to not even allow a hand hold? I mean, the whole courtship process seems so gruelling and regimented it's a wonder that so many of the Duggar women end up finding spouses willing to jump through all those hoops!
7 No listening to sinful modern music
If you ever wondered how the Duggar women manage to resist the urge to dance when there's so much dance-able music out there, the answer is simple — they're not allowed to listen to any of the kind of music that might provoke dancing. The family is fairly into music, but it's a specific type — hymns and choral music, classical music, and things like that — nothing from the Top 40 charts. It's because they feel that a lot of modern music promotes things that they just don't agree with and they just don't want that kind of potentially corrupting message in their home. Again, this is one of those situations where we wonder if any of the Duggar daughters snuck out to just listen to some great tunes — or if they constantly have the radio on once they're married, playing all the hits they missed out on for so many years.
6 Absolutely no birth control can be used (we have a feeling we'll see a rapidly expanding Duggar family)
Okay, this is a bit of an interesting one. It's pretty obvious that Michelle Duggar never really used birth control, giving that she had 19 children. I mean, that's a lot of kids. And, given that the oldest Duggar daughters have already began having children the minute they tie the knot, we have to assume they're also not trying to prevent any children. Only time will tell with this rule — we can't help but wonder if some of the Duggar daughters will try to take some kind of preventative measures once they have a handful of children, given what a crazy huge household they grew up in. Or perhaps growing up with so many siblings made a huge family seem normal, and they're all going to have their own 19-person families within the larger Duggar fam.
5 No curling up with a steamy romance novel — or any 'worldly' literature
For many of us, there's just nothing better than curling up with a good book and getting lost in a fantastic story. That's not something that the Duggar women are able to experience, though, because they're banned from reading all worldly literature. They're allowed to read things like the Bible, obviously, but not much else. Given how many rules and restrictions they have on their behaviour, we can't help but wonder why they're not allowed to read some steamy books from time to time — it would allow them to live vicariously through the characters in the books, and would perhaps make avoiding temptation a little bit easier. Although, given how many modern things are banned, from music to dancing, this one kind of doesn't surprise us at all.
4 Absolutely no alcohol, ever (what about wine nights?)
Okay, even less strict families than the Duggars often have this ban in place for their children, so this is the least shocking rule that they have to follow. Jesus and his Apostles may have drunk wine in the Bible, but you won't see any vino at the Duggar dinner table — alcohol, in any shape or form, is totally banned. Although, again, this is another situation where we wonder if any of the Duggar women ever ignored the rule, even for a night, to have a few drinks with their friends or just experiment like so many teens do. Although, given what a tight leash their parents have on them, it would be hard to do much without them knowing, that's for sure. A world without wine — can you even imagine?
3 Divorce is just not an option, no matter what their husband does
Many religions have specific thoughts on marriage and divorce, but for the Duggars, divorce isn't just a negative thing — it's flat out forbidden. No matter what a Duggar women's husband does, she's supposed to stay by his side as his faithful, loyal wife and not even think about divorce. So far, there's only been one major Duggar scandal — Josh Duggar's — but given that his wife, who isn't even a Duggar by blood, opted to stand by his side through it all, we bet that regardless of how bad the scandal was, the rest of the Duggar women would likewise stand by their husband's side and never even think of divorce. It sounds absolutely insane — sure, divorce is definitely never ideal, but in certain situations, especially if some kind of abuse is involved, it's necessary.
2 Absolutely no tattoos are allowed — even places hidden by their modest clothing (something one daughter has violated!)
Given how much skin is covered up by their modest clothing, let's be honest — if a Duggar woman were to get a tattoo, you probably would never be able to tell. It would stay hidden all the time. However, that doesn't stop the family from having a ban on ink — they're not allowed to have any, period. However, an interesting thing happened with Jana Duggar — the oldest Duggar daughter actually purchased a tattoo shop. We don't know if she actually got any tattoos yet — the only one to show off her ink has been Amy (Duggar) King, the Duggar women's cousin — but given that Jinger's husband Jeremy has a bible verse tattoo, perhaps they'll loosen up the rules on that one. Who knows — maybe Jinger will become a tattooed, pants-wearing feminist!
1 If you're married, you have to be up for 'loving' whenever your husband wants
Oh, yes — we definitely saved the juiciest and most disturbing rule for last. Listen, marriage is all about compromise, and sometimes you have to do things with your partner that you don't totally feel like, such as sit through the television show they love or go to a restaurant they pick. However, when it comes to your body, you should always be in charge — no matter what. The Duggar women don't seem to live by that rule, though — Michelle Duggar has been outspoken about her view on intimacy within marriage, saying that "anyone can fix him lunch, but only one person can meet that physical need of love that he has, and you always need to be available when he calls." That's right — if your husband wants to get physical and you have absolutely zero interest at the moment, you still have to. Yikes!
Sources: thestir.cafemom.com, thehollywoodgossip.com