The Barbie Syndrome: Interchangeable Fundamentalist Wives Easily Replaced by the New Model

by No Longer Quivering guest writer, “Calulu”

A few weeks ago I was witnessing internet wide that one thing is certain. Just about everyone has a strong reaction to the news that Michelle Duggar is enceinte again. Of course I snicked like the sarcastic wise-cracking gal I am and some of us tossed around those hoary old chestnuts we always say when discussing Duggar child bearing. “It’s a vagina not a clown car” and “Looks like Jim Bob tossed the hotdog down the well again”

In most of the online discussion of how dangerous her playing maternal Russian roulette actually is no one seemed to hit upon my first thought, how quickly would Jim Bob replace her with a newer, younger, prettier model.

I mean, really, it’s like shooting dice, eventually snake eyes is going to come up. Bad things happen if you keep repeating the same risky behavior. Look at the last of her pregnancies. Something did go wrong. It’s just simple statistics that sometimes things go haywire and we can’t do much about them. But why put yourself in those types of risky situations in the first place?

Back when I was with my old church I got to see this numerous times. Lady either gets pregnant that probably shouldn’t be or would contract a very serious illness. They’d start praying, asking for prayer but refusing medical monitoring or intervention by the medical world at all. They say the same things Michelle Duggar does about this is God’s will and God would either deliver her safely or He would heal her.

One of the saddest cases of this was a lady named Christina who contracted breast cancer and refused all medical treatments, saying only God alone would heal her. She wasn’t going to have any surgery, no chemo, no radiation, she would simply rely on God.

Everyone at church supported her decision. Except for me. I’d had a bout with breast cancer many years ago, had the joyous fun (it wasn’t fun, I’m just joking) of surgery, chemo, radiation till I beat the cancer. Oh heck, I had chemo four summers ago for my auto immune problems. Big deal, so your hair falls out, you get the excuse to wear lots of fun hats. It is what it is, a temporary season. If it turned out that solving my ongoing immune problems meant eating a bowl of cockroaches or something even more disgusting I’d say ‘Gimme a spoon and a bottle of Tabasco sauce right now!’

Not getting health care while you have children in the home to finish raising is just irresponsible.

But the men of the church always had medical intervention, and it never seemed to strike anyone there that was some sort of warped double standard. I never understood why that was so I’m guessing the lack of serious health care was because in the world of Fundy-Gelicals women were without intrinsic value and considered interchangeable.

Christina died after an agonizing torturous 18 months. What did did Mr. Christina do? He did what I’ve witnessed a number of Patriarchal men have done. He collected that big insurance check, bought a sports car and within six months married a much younger, better looking, newer model. And the cycle continued. Even our Pastor did it, boom, wife dies of cancer, 9 months later Pastor has another wife and life goes on as before.

Then and now it struck me as a basic lack of respect for any woman to hold them all so interchangeable. The Barbie Syndrome. The sad part is that we all put up with this behavior at the time and thought we were holding up the image of the Good Christian Woman, never realizing that culture considers us as unique as an assembly line of Barbies.

I hope and pray that Michelle Duggar makes it out in one piece from this latest pregnancy. But if she doesn’t I predict a marriage for Jim Bob within a year to a younger, prettier, newer wife. And the breeding will continue.

I never liked Barbie with her perpetual fake smile.

Authors note: Since this was written Michelle Duggar has lost her newest pregnancy and mourned in the most repugnant public way possible. At least it strikes me that way. While I wish Ma Duggar no harm I wish wish wish someone would drag her off of television as soon as possible. That photo used at her website and at the funeral of her baby’s tiny hand haunts my dreams.

“Calulu” lives near Washington DC , was raised Catholic in South Louisiana before falling in with a bunch of fallen Catholics whom had formed their own part Fundamentalist, part Evangelical church. After fifteen uncomfortable years drinking that Koolaid she left nearly 6 years ago.  Her blog is Calulu – Roadkill on the Internet Superhighway

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  • veggietart

    Well, that’s just it.  To the ultrareglious, women are for childbearing, and if they can’t do that successfully, they’re worthless and may as well die.  Someone else can raise the children.  It’s why the Republican presidential candidates are racing to the bottom to see who can restrict women’s rights the most.  Deep down, they don’t see women as humans.

    I once had a shirt that read “Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.”  And with groups like this, it sure rings true.

  • lightning

    (I don’t even WANT to know who it was, so DON’T remind me), recently said that a woman’s “purpose” is the producing of children. If she dies in the process, that’s “just the way things are.” A SLIGHTLY broadened interpretation of this is that if a woman dies in the process, it just means that she has FAILED her “purpose” on the Earth and is then expendible, as no benefit can then be gained by “keeping” her.


    In other words, the woman is livestock, not a person. Don’t know about you, but I don’t need such a perversion of human dignity, to set my lights by.

  • crowepps

    I know you said you didn’t want to be told, but it’s necessary — the person who held those beliefs was the Roman Catholic priest whose theses cracked the Church in half and founded the entire Protestant ‘heresy’, Martin Luther.

    “If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not.  Let her only die from bearing; she is there to do it.”

    One of the foundational principles of the Christian religion as it is now practiced is that women are merely livestock.

  • anonymous99

    You know Vyckie I’m not one to defend religious extremists, but I’m a bit confused by your piece.  Of course many widows get on with their lives and enjoy the company of new boyfriends/husbands after the death of their partners.  Will you do a follow up piece about this?  Probably not, eh?  I’m not sure what these guys are supposed to do. 

    So you threw out the “newer model” chestnutt, huh?

    And what of these new girlfriends and wives?  Are they supposed to refrain from enjoying the company of these men?  I thought feminism was for celebrating the choices of women?  Hmmmm… maybe not.  Nice shaming job of women who date older men.  For the record I trust women to make their own decisions about their relationships and wouldn’t think for a second to shame them or in any other way try to control their choices.  Sorry if I don’t see much of a difference between your ideology and those of the religious extremists you despise.

  • anonymous99

    Some of the people on this board are absolutely pathetic.  Disagreeing with a post is not trolling or spamming folks.  What was I thinking when I suggested consenting adults should be able to have relationships with whomever they feel like?  Far be it from me to defend a woman’s uninhibited right to select her boyfriends/husbands!  Why don’t we just let people like Vyckie tell women who they should have relationships with, how many babies they should have, etc.  She seems to know best.

  • crowepps

    Those women aren’t going to have much time to be enjoying the company of those widowers.  There are 10 kids that need to be fed and cleaned up after and taken care of.  Those women need to buckle down and get to work.

  • jennifer-starr

    There’s not going to be a lot of enjoyment in these types of marriages, believe me. More like endless work and endless childbearing–putting more arrows in his quiver. Men like this don’t see the actual women–they simply see a walking incubator/housekeeper. So if one wears out, then, ala Stepford–she can be replaced. 

  • cmarie

    regarding Martin Luther: (born) 10 November 1483– (died) 18 February 1546

    regarding Michelle Dugger:  I agree that she was unwise to deliberately seek out pregnancy at 45 and dispite her Dr’s advice.  I really can’t imagine what she or her husband are thinking but it seems to me that if a woman loses a pregnancy, she should be able to mourn the loss (or not) in whatever way she finds best for her.

  • crowepps

    The way soap operas which were struggling used to attempt to get their ratings up was to have one of the characters propose to another, and attract sentimental viewers with wedding planning, showers, shopping for fancy clothes, displays of beautiful gifts, and an elaborate wedding dragged out over multiple viewing days in hope viewers would tune in.

    Unfortunately, the fact that the Duggars reproductive life is the basis of their television show leads one to the unfortunate conclusion that part of whatever decision making process they allow themselves might include keeping the ratings up by going ahead and beginning a pregnancy that’s medically contraindicated so as to be able to get viewers to watch the cliffhanger of pregnancy complications, threatened health, miscarriage and elaborate funeral with public announcements and ‘souvenirs’.

    If a woman loses a pregnancy, she absolutely has a right to mourn the loss in whatever way she finds best for her.  I personally find it repulsive that someone would get pregnant against medical advice knowing miscarriage was likely, and then when what they should have known would happen from the beginning occurs, carry on like an overwrought drama queen, publicizing the ‘tragedy’ heavily and simultaneously complaining that it is cruel of people to critique the ‘script’.   When people open their lives, and their children’s lives, to the intrusive public in exchange for being supported in luxury, it shouldn’t be any surprise that the people paying the bills feel entitled to have opinions.

    • cmarie

      “If a woman loses a pregnancy, she absolutely has a right to mourn the loss in whatever way she finds best for her.”

      Right, that’s what I said… glad we agree on it


  • colleen

    I personally find it repulsive that someone would get pregnant against medical advice knowing miscarriage was likely

    Mrs Duggar’s ‘faith’ prevents her from refusing her husband’s right to sex.  Jim Bob knows that he might kill her every time he ejaculates. And yet the ‘pro-life’ crowd lauds him as an exemplary husband.