Years ago, Jill Duggar reached the final straw with her awful father, Jim Bob.
But for most of her life, she was his devoted daughter. A victim of an awful cult. And she was a reality star.
In some ways, the presence of reality TV cameras can act as a small reprieve for children in toxic households. And maybe, in some ways, it was for them.
But Jill says that production filming them actually pushed her parents to be more extreme about certain cult rules. And you know? It kind of makes a twisted sort of sense.
On Tuesday, December 5, Jill Duggar sat down to chat on the appropriately titled Sounds Like a Cult podcast.
“We did not grow up with television in our home,” she noted. Fans are of course familiar with many of the sad details of her childhood.
“So we didn’t grow up, like, watching ourselves on TV,” Jill then explained.
“But I will say that, yes, I think that these rules and things that IBLP taught,” Jill continued, “were emphasized more.”
She speculated that this was “because then you have a platform and a reputation at stake.” In other words, the presence of the camera always changes what you see.
Jill said that she and her siblings had to focus upon “protecting” the show as a platform for their ministry. That’s how Jim Bob presented it. And Jill knew that she would be “attacked” if she didn’t “live what she was preaching.”
“The pressure was already there,” Jill acknowledged, “just because of the group pressure that we were in and the way that we were raised.”
She then pointed out: “But you add a TV show to that and it definitely makes that more intense.”
Think of it this way: if a camera crew shows up to document your fitness habits and diet, you’re not going to show them a “cheat day.” The same is true of extreme fundamentalist lifestyles.
IBLP, the Duggar church, and Jim Bob and Michelle raised their children with twisted values on the fringes of society.
Their abusive cult teaches that men and women are inherently unequal. The lack of sex education or even the concept of mutual consent made the environment the ideal stalking ground for sexual predators.
But much of the show’s focus was on more innocuous, sanitized aspects of this sinister community. Such as the strict rules for how women dress, Michelle’s hideous hairstyle, and their lack of a TV.
Derick chimed in to note that the presence of the cameras “fed that control” while the show was filming.
Simply put, the camera locks things into place. So, if one of the Duggar daughters had worn jeans for a trip into town on the show, they’d have needed to explain it to the audience.
He was clearly talking about, more than anything else, the strict dress code. It was a visual and seemingly harmless representation of their extreme beliefs, so it became an important symbol.
“The producers would want you to,” Derick claimed.
“If one of the main themes is like, we all wear this type of clothing,” he described. “And then someone pops up not wearing that type of clothing.”
Derick continued, explaining: “That would put the pressure on her dad because you’re maintaining that theme of this is how we act and we don’t wanna be asked to address it.”
During another recent interview, Jill affirmed that IBLP is a “cult.” We knew, but it’s good to hear survivors say it aloud.
“I think that even if you remove the person in leadership,” Jill suggested, “a lot of those same values and principles are still being taught, so it doesn’t fix the problem.”
As in, even without disgraced founder Bill Gothard, IBLP remains a den of evil.
“I think that’s what some people think like, ‘Oh, we’ve removed Bill Gothard from the situation. It makes everything better,’” Jill pointed out.
“No, it changes and maybe adds a nice storefront to the picture,” she illustrated.
“But,” Jill correctly emphasized, “it doesn’t change the overall principles that are still being taught and held to.”
Jill Duggar: TLC Cameras Made Our Cult Rules Even Stricter! was originally published on The Hollywood Gossip.