It would be a massive understatement to say that the Duggars are not your typical American family.
The reason reality TV came calling, and the reason that the family has been a fixture on TLC for over a decade is that the Duggars are different enough to be interesting, while still remaining relatable to families who share their ultra-conservative worldview.
Some watch the Duggars to marvel at the strangeness of their way of life, while others view them as something to emulate — an evangelical family making millions by strictly adhering to their own values.
Of course, in order to hold onto the latter group — the one that’s less likely to criticize their more controversial views — the Duggars have been forced to engage in a fair amount of misdirection.
We all know that reality TV is not strictly based on reality.
Every series takes some liberties, and in the age of social media, it’s easier than ever for audiences to spot the exaggerations, the manipulated timelines, and the outright lies.
Perhaps because of the family’s controversial and often bigoted political beliefs, the Duggars have become a common target for online sleuths and truth-seekers.
A recent post on a Duggar-themed Facebook page called attention to one very specific way that fans have been misled — namely, it appears that Jim Bob and Michelle’s daughters are not as close as they would like us to believe:
The post reads as follows:
"I know the fans think the Duggar girls are close as sisters but do they notice the competition between each other on social media?"
"If Jinger posts pictures of Felicity, Jessa will counter-post pictures of her kids.
"Then, not long after that Jill will post pics of her boys and some vomit-inducing recipe.
"Even Joy will post to get her few minutes.
"Why do you think they’re so desperate for attention? I say it’s because they didn’t get enough as children."
That theory has caught fire in recent weeks, and not only because each of Jim Bob and Michelle’s children had to compete with 18 siblings for attention.
For years, fans have suspected that the Duggar daughters are more actively involved than Michelle in the raising of their siblings.
As proof, they point to incidents that were documented on the family’s reality shows, such as when Jason Duggar got lost in Newark airport.
When the boy was eventually found, he ran not to his mother, but to then-19-year-old Jana Duggar.
The Duggars employ a buddy system, in which each child is assigned a younger sibling to care for.
It’s rarely acknowledged, however — as OK! magazine points out — the adult children of Jim Bob and Michelle have begun to refer to one another as "buddy" on social media, seemingly as a reference to the system that deprived them of their childhoods.
So the theory goes that the Duggar kids (the daughters in particular) were forced to grow up too soon and lived in constant competition for their parents’ attention.
Since women aren’t allowed to work, and the Duggar believe procreation is their primary reason for being, it makes sense that as adults, the women of the family would compete for attention by having lots of kids and posting lots of pics of said kids.
It sounds crazy, but with five Duggar women pregnant at the moment, it also makes a whole lot of sense.