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Michelle Duggar: We Don't Wear Shorts – Or Go to the Beach!

By shanaaborn |

You'll never see the Duggars in shorts.

Summer’s here, the living is easy, and everyone’s donning tank tops to keep cool or pulling on their swimsuits to spend the day at the shore.

…Everyone except the Duggar Family, that is.

The stars of TLC’s 19 Kids & Counting steer clear of those typical warm-weather pleasures because they feel it goes against Scripture and God’s will for them.

In her latest blog for TLC’s Parentables channel, Michelle Duggar explains that her family lives by a code of modesty that keeps them from dressing in clothes most people take for granted.

“[W]e don’t judge anyone that doesn’t have this perspective, but for us, we felt like we needed to be covered from our neck to below our knees mainly because God talks about the thigh being uncovered, and how that’s nakedness and shame,” she writes.

What she says next is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows: Their other motivation for covering up is to avoid “defrauding” others – in other words, encouraging lustful thoughts in passersby. “Now, granted there are a few people out there who could be stirred up by a cardboard box all the way from head to toe, but regardless we want to maintain modest dress,” says Michelle.

So regardless of the activity – biking, horseback riding, climbing trees – everyone from Michelle and husband Jim Bob down to their littlest daughters stays covered up. No shorts, tank tops or miniskirts for this family.

You won’t find the Duggars at the beach, either – and it’s not because they don’t like getting sand between their toes.No,  the family avoids public beaches and pools to keep the Duggar men from catching an unwanted glimpse of women who, um, don’t feel spiritually called to hide their assets. “[I]t’s just too hard for the guys to try to keep their eyes averted in those situations,” says Michelle.

On the occasions they do swim, it’s at a private pool or lake – and they still wear torso- and thigh-covering gear. (Yes, there are alternatives to Victoria’s Secret and Land’s End. Google “modest swimwear” and you’ll see thousands of links to sites like this one.)

The Duggar matriarch makes a point of repeating that you can’t keep others from thinking what they will – but adds, “[B]ut I do think you have control over how you present yourself.” She herself stopped wearing shorts as an adult because she worried she might be guilty of unintentional “defrauding.”

Hmm. Dressing according to your personal comfort and modesty level is one thing. But isn’t this just a rephrasing of the old “guys can’t help themselves/girls are asking for it” excuse that has made it so difficult for women to prove rape cases?

What’s your take? Are the Duggars too modest – or should more parents be more concerned about covering up?

[Photo: via TLC]

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About shanaaborn



Shana Aborn is a writer and editor specializing in women's lifestyle issues. Formerly on staff at Ladies' Home Journal and MAMM, she is currently the managing editor of Life & Beauty Weekly. Read bio and latest posts → Read shanaaborn's latest posts →

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13 thoughts on “Michelle Duggar: We Don't Wear Shorts – Or Go to the Beach!

  1. ann anterncio says:

    I feel sorry for the kids.

    Did anyone notice (and please pull up the interview to see yourself) that when one of the boys (age about 7 or 8) was asked if he wanted a new sister or brother (pre-miscarrage), the little boy shook his head “NO”, but SAID “Yes”. Shows me how brain washed and damaged these kids are by their strange parents. After 21 kids…the parents are talking MODESTY???? Odd.

  2. Renee Smith says:

    They don’t judge others, so why judge them? They ARE following Biblical teaching but they don’t do it in a showy or patronising way so just leave them alone. How can their beliefs about modesty of dress be wrong and some vulgar woman parading her next-to-naked body about in front of everyone at the beach be right? Live and let live.

  3. A.Roddy says:

    Modesty is nice but you don’t have to be puritanical about it and speak of the human body in a demeaning way.. And like the guys aren’t almost naked themselves? A muscle bound dude in tight swim trunks isn’t defrauding? It is all about the woman. Guys must be taught to control their eyes and not be so weak. You can’t stay safe in a bubble forever. One of these days the boys will leave the nest and have to guard their own eyes. Modesty isn’t one-sided. Tight shorts or bikinis does not mean Jezebel.
    The way they always say ‘we don’t or we choose gets annoying.They make you think it’s their choice but they are Christian fundamentalists who follow the teachings of Bill Gothard.

  4. ann anterncio says:

    I feel for their kids.

  5. Elfi says:

    “They do not judge others” seems to be repeated by every Duggar supporter. Of course they do. Have you ever watched an episode where one of the girls scream “Nike!” (their code word for “beware – immodest woman”) in public and then the boys lower their eyes until the danger passes? I would not be happy wearing a normal length skirt and these people behaved like that after looking at me, because I am certainly not trying to defraud anybody.

  6. Eileen says:

    I think modesty is a virtue not a fault. However, there are plenty of shorts that come down to the knee and are not skin tight and which would be covering the thigh. I disagree that it’s up to women to keep men in control because we all know that is not possible and a person regardless of their sex shouldn’t be held responsible for anyone’s behavior besides their own. I don’t feel sorry for the kids though, they all look happy enough.

  7. Diana says:

    No one says some vulgar woman parading her next-to-naked body about in front of everyone at the beach is right. Stop trying to justify things by showing an example of the extreme opposite. There has to be a middle way. Duggars go too far by trying to raise their kids in a bubble. They should trust their kids and let them explore the world, grow up a bit. And no, that does not mean getting pregnant or using drugs, that means being able to get college education, going to the supermarket without a chaperone, dancing etc. Yes, Duggars do not let their kids do these things. Stop thinking they are angels and do some research.

  8. Aussie mum says:

    My son is 13 months old and as it is not uncommon for temperatures to reach over 40 degrees here in summer (that’s over 100 degrees there) he often runs around our yard in just a nappy and t-shirt. I do not think this is shameful and would very much hope it us not inspiring lustful thoughts in passers by. The duggers can do whatever they want, that’s fine by me, but using words like ‘shameful’ in their justifications does pass judgement on others who just want to keep their kids comfortable and happy in a scorching Aussie summer. If they really didn’t judge they wouldn’t comment at all. That’s my opinion anyway.

  9. Sarah says:

    I myself enjoy watching the duggars program regularly, I live in the UK and I am also a Christian. To be a true practising Christian it means to be Christ-like, to try your best to live your life as jesus Christ lived his. I know we are all not perfect, but we can try our best to adhere to the Bible the commandments and teachings that God has given us to live our lives by. I do believe that it is inappropriate for people to where certain outfits and in the bible it does state that you should be covered as not to get unwanted attention and as respect for yourself and your body that God has given us. So I agree with Michelle as I also would not step outside regardless the temperature and wear an inappropriate outfit, many people may say they are Christians but only those that are practising and studying the bible and have belief and faith in gods word and are connected with the holy spirit that will understand what the text says within the Bible regarding what we should and shouldn’t be wearing as well as how we should and shouldn’t behave. May god bless u all.x.

  10. Marci Rapp, MarSea Modest Swimwear says:

    I am in the modest swimwear business (MarSea Modest Swim & Gymwear) and look for postings such as this to read and perhaps comment on. I cant believe how angry those who are not in the modest or religious world are towards those that are.
    If one said they must cover for cancer or because they are ashamed of their jiggly thighs, those people would probably understand, but unfortuanately feel sorry for us covering up our kids.. My slogan is “Cover what you want…in Style!” It’s about choice. That’s why I offer separates, in different lengths and different colours. I also offer tighter and looser fitting styles. I market not only to faith based communities, but for those who wish to cover for personal reasons, to hide age/weight/medical related imperfections. In my community, we learn to not judge others (how they dress) and to love all. (Of course our men will also avoid putting themselves in view of scantily clad women, so only go to separated beaches)
    If anyone is interested in viewing our line of modest UV50+ safe and chlorine resistant swim & gymwear for women and girls, please visit and contact us for further information.

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  13. anna says:

    Who ever is against modestly please leave the Duggar family alone!! No one makes you to dress that way!! They decided to follow the biblical approach, and there is nothing wrong with that. They are the light to this dark world and maybe their light will bring someone to God. “Follow the impulses of your heart and the desires of your eyes, but know that God will judge your motives and actions.”

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