It’s no secret that the Duggar family – stars of Counting On and 19 Kids & Counting – are very strict when it comes to dating. In fact, Jim Bob Duggar and his wife Michelle do not allow their kids to casually date; instead, they court, which is dating with a purpose (marriage). Under the watchful eye of their parents, the kids must go through the strict courting process before they can settle down and get married. But after watching seven of the nineteen kids court over the past decade, fans believe the Duggar courting rules are sexist, and you can’t really blame them.
According to Romper, Jim Bob and Michelle have a courting questionnaire based on traditional and conservative values, and it is primarily focused on the actions of their daughters.
In a subReddit conversation between Duggar fans, someone asked if there was a questionnaire for the men who want to date the daughters or for the women who want to court the sons, and the answer is simply “no.” The boys essentially have the freedom to choose who they want to court, and it’s just the girls who are subject to the guidance of their parents.
Jim Bob must approve all courtships, and when a guy is interested in one of his daughters, he must go through the patriarch for approval. But, when a girl is interested in one of his sons, there is no indication that she must go through the same process.
And the same goes for the questionnaire. Two years ago, during an episode of Counting On: After the Show, the family talked about the “vetting process” that male suitors have to go through that includes a 50-page list of questions.
Before they can ask for a Duggar daughter’s hand in marriage, a boyfriend must complete the entire survey. Only the husbands and fiancés spoke about it, and Jinger Duggar’s husband Jeremy Vuolo said that he sent back a whopping 105 pages filled with his life story.
No female suitors talked about the questionnaire, which isn’t surprising since Jim Bob once said that the courtship process is “really examining the person and considering, ‘Would this be the guy I want to be the father of my kids?'”
Beyond the courting questionnaire, there are also other signs of sexism in the Duggar household. Oldest brother Josh had a molestation scandal involving his younger sisters, marital sex is considered a man’s right, and there is an opposition to birth control with the expectation that a woman must give birth as many times as possible.
It appears as though Jim Bob Duggar pushes his daughters into marriage to care for their man and give birth to his children, and some believe those “morals” are damaging to women.
New episodes of Counting On will return to TLC later this summer.