From a far-off distance the two shows (and subsequent stars, — although I'm using that term loosely) couldn’t have less in common. I'm talking about Farrah Abraham, the Teen Mom OG, who chose her career in adult entertainment over the MTV show that made her famous, and the uber-Baptist family of 19 And Counting; the family who forbids kissing before marriage. It’s an unlikely duo. But then again... what’s the big difference?
They both got television shows for their reproductive histories and then grew that into a strange media empire. They both manage to stay in the news—not for their achievements—but for their scandals and snafus.
Farrah gets criticized for living through her child and the Duggars capitalize on theirs. Whenever someone's that extreme over anything, it can usually overlap with its polar opposite. If that doesn’t make sense, you’re not prepared for all the odd similarities between the Duggars and the far smaller Abraham family. But there's more than a few, and they can be small, superficial actions or much larger guiding philosophies.
As different as these two families might claim to be, when someone's famous for not really doing anything (besides making babies), they can’t be all that different.
20 Their Origins On Reality TV
Let’s start simple: the two obviously have similar origins and teenagers on reality television. Does anyone really believe that MTV still follows it's name by showing music videos? Of course not. Is TLC really “The Learning Channel”? PBS would have to be dead and cold in its grave before TLC even joined the top 10 list of most educational channels. That said, both channels made odd hits out of corners of everyday life. Most of us avoid- religious extremism and unplanned, teenage pregnancy. Am I going to claim that very young mothers and super religious backgrounds don’t go hand in hand? Because the fact that Michelle Duggar is a grandma begs to differ.
19 They Share Similar Faiths--Sort Of
If you’re reading this, you’re definitely acquainted with the type of Christian that the Duggars are. But Farrah? Well, according to her she’s a Christian. "I have to say faith is a big part of my life… I’m not perfect, I think that’s just life. There’s really no perfect Christian. I go to church as often as possible and I have great Christian friends – and those aren’t the ones who say they’re Christian and then act like other.” Arguably, even the Duggars are the type of Christian who have their very un-Christian moments. And Farrah has un-Christian days… and years.
18 The Duggar Daughters Played Mom Long Before Farrah Ever Got Pregnant
Sure, Farrah made it on to television for becoming pregnant at a young age but those Duggar daughters have her beat. They’re all mothers of an immaculate sort of pregnancy — the kind where you raise your mother’s children. It’s part of why the eldest, Jana Duggar, still acts sort of like a free nanny for her family. The secret to having such a gigantic family is to train little girls to act not as children but as surrogate parents. Then you’ve got all the free childcare you could dream of! Sure, it’s child care by children but the Duggars aren’t complaining.
17 Farrah And Jessa Are Both In The Business Of Children's Clothing
It’s odd how reality television “stars” find ways to stay relevant and make enough money by just being themselves. For Farrah, that took the form of pressuring her daughter to become an entrepreneur into children’s fashion. The Sophia Laurent children’s boutique is a subset of Farrah’s own store. And the Duggar sisters have found grace in sponsorship, specifically Jessa through IG. "Thanks for sharing your great finds!… What in the worlddd!!! I literally only shop @rhealanasofnwa for my kids' clothes. #SaveMoreForDateNights.” Well, if anyone knows about clothing children, it’s the empire of babies themselves. Now the Duggars just have to team up with Farrah’s daughter.
16 They Involve Their Kids In Weird Media Issues
As a child, would you rather be set up against the entire public school system or Nicki Minaj? The Duggars and Farrah have done both. Besides Farrah filming her daughter calling Nicki Minaj a “loser,” Derrick Dillard (husband of Duggar daughter Jill) also posted, "Many homeschoolers not only have the same opportunities but exceed their peers… I have the blessing of having a wife who is willing to school them at home.” Weird bone to pick, dude. Anyway, plenty of people didn’t agree with him… probably because that’s a huge generalization with absolutely no factual backing.
15 They Have Interesting Approaches To Children Eating Candy
Both Jill Dillard and Farrah Abraham have made headlines for their relationship with their children and candy. Jill angered moms everywhere when, “the 27-year-old told fans in a YouTube clip that she has a 'treasure box' filled with sugary sweets to give to her son after he completes his work.” Okay, so she gives incentives to her son like a dog with treats. And Farrah? In a selfie of her and her daughter, Farrah posted “Teatime @flattummytea @sophialabraham & I – after all that candy,” Yeah, Flat Tummy Tea is the appetite suppressing Kardashian-backed “diet tea," which is very similar to a laxative... That she’s feeding her daughter…
14 They Do Homeschooling... For Different Reasons
We already know how Derrick Dillard feels about homeschooling, but what’s the appeal, really? "The Duggars use Advanced Training Institute... a 'Biblically-based home education program for families who desire to raise up sons and daughters who are 'mighty in Spirit.'” And as for Farrah and Sophia? “She’s doing homeschooling, so she gets to come to more events and that’s awesome… I decided to do that because, at school, I didn’t really want to make it about the bullying, dating, those things.” The star continued, adding this is a good step for Sophia’s career in show business. Oh right, because homeschooling makes it easier for Sophia to be an adult already...
13 Everybody's Got An Album
If you’ve ever had five minutes of fame, you know the easiest route is to transition it into a singing career. Farrah’s album, My Teenage Dream Ended garnered the review of, “Farrah’s drowning yelp of a voice is severely Auto-Tuned but seemingly programmed to the wrong key… It’s shrill, but her music is nothing if not honest.” Then recently, the original Duggar parents posted, ”We are SO excited to announce Happy Heart CD! The younger girls have worked so hard on this and we love the results! We pray that it would encourage and bless you!"
12 Jessa And Farrah Have Clapped Back At Mental Illness Rumors
Outing someone’s mental illness is invasive and traumatizing, but Jessa and Farrah have taken unflattering routes in their denials, mostly in ways that further stigmatize mental illness. A post by Jessa titled “9 Arguments Against Anxiety” was meant to cast doubt on the very existence of anxiety disorders, but only caused fans to wonder if she suffers from anxiety. And in response to her mother publicly accusing her of having Borderline Personality Disorder, Farrah said, “[It’s] sad to hear my own mother would say these untrue things about her own child. It’s evil and alarming.” Both of these quotes could definitely be kinder to the mental health community.
11 Of Course, They're Both Published Authors
Reality TV stars have a barely kept secret: you don’t have to enjoy reading to become a published author. We have two books here. One is described as containing a “chapter on courtship has new stories and insights that reflect… how they lived out the principles of courtship all the way to the altar…. Now, the … girls … open up about the blessings and advantages of living the Duggar lifestyle.”
Farrah’s book jacket reads, "To the world I'm another starlet gone crazy: always traveling, clubbing non-stop… The truth couldn't be further from that. I'm on a journey to find myself and I'm going to do it without shame — my way."
10 Their Family Troubles Are Quite Public
Sure, it’s a fairly obvious point but for the Duggars and the Abrahams, family issues have a way of leaking out. On one hand, Farrah’s mother Debra explained her theory about her daughter’s mental health; “If you have Borderline Personality Disorder, if you have narcissism, any of these kinds of things, they’re all highly treatable… All is not lost.” Meanwhile, Jesse blamed her brother’s history of sexual abuse on… the government? “The system that was set up to protect kids, both those who make stupid mistakes or have problems like this in their life and the ones that are affected by those choices — it’s greatly failed.”
9 There's Been Plastic Surgery Done
Farrah is absolutely public in her plastic surgery adventures. The whole world knows her daughter’s been present for her butt injections and Farrah has regaled us all with why she’d be fine treating her daughter to cosmetic surgery in a few years.
For the Duggars, any plastic surgery is but a rumor, as their public stance against it is very firm (it’s an affront to God, or something). While some Reddit forums are dedicated to proving mother Michelle got an eye lift, others aim to find out whether Jessa had lip implants. Who knows, really, but usually the person on a pulpit telling you not to do something… is totally doing that thing when no one’s looking.
8 Jessa And Farrah Have Some Equally Hateful Views
What brings humanity together? Love and smiles or hatred and ignorance? Well, between Farrah's on-air homophobic diatribe against Big Brother's James and the Duggar’s history of transphobic, homophobic remarks… it’s a fair question.
Derrick Dillard came out and made his views all too clear where he referred to TLC couple Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent as “a travesty of a family,” not that anyone asked him. In fact, even the elder Duggars eventually asked him to shut it. No, not because he’s talking about human beings, but because of the bad press.
Oh, also: Jessa may have posted a sly post supporting a homophobic pastor via watching Fixer Upper. So that’s a little more subtle, I guess?
7 Jill And Farrah Caused Parental Outrage
Speaking of "bringing the world together through annoyance and disdain," the Abrahams and Duggars share a history of invoking parental outrage. For one thing, an Instagram post by a Duggar daughter sharing her infant with the world inadvertently served as a game of “Child Neglect I Spy.” One IG user won the game by commenting, "Look out for that electrical outlet, neglectful parents.” Yup, an exposed outlet in the baby’s play pen. And as for Farrah… almost everything causes outrage. There’s waxing her daughter’s unibrow, having her wear oddly revealing clothes, taking her out of school to advance her own career… etc,.
6 They Exploit Their Fans
Some of it’s overt and some of it is a little more subtle. The Duggars were accused of fraud after setting up a crowd-funding campaign to finance a missionary trip to South America but "People accused the couple of defrauding their fans because even though they told everyone they were going out on a long-term missions trip, they returned home after only two months. It was also revealed that the couple weren’t cleared to be missionaries through their church because they never completed the necessary classes.” Farrah’s ill-begotten gains are through self-owned businesses, with the plethora of negative reviews revealing a lack of concern for quality.
5 They Both Believe In 'Enhancing' Features
One of the oddest expressions of the Duggar’s faith comes in a seemingly innocuous little statement, "Make-up ‘honors the Lord’” Umm, what? I love make-up as much as anyone else, but not because I’ve brought religion into this. The weird statement makes sense in a way, the Duggars have touted that they’re superior because of modesty, but there’s vanity in everyone and they want to look good for TV. They just need a reason because of all the judgment they’d spewed before. And Farrah? Well, she makes her young daughter only go out with a full face so it’s obvious where she stands.
4 Jill And Farrah Have Been Accused Of Endangering Their Children During Travel
After Jill and Derrick’s very short stint in South America, the parents were called out for taking an infant to a Zika-prone area. On social media, one person posted, "Israel is cute. Why r u taking him to 3rd world countries and exposing him to all diseases. Zika? Raise your child in your home and give him a family life.” I mean, no child should be exposed to unnecessary diseases whether they’re cute or not, but this person definitely has a point. As for Farrah, she’s got her fair share of flack for completely disrupting her daughter’s life so she can travel with her.
3 Farrah And Jinger's Husband Have Similar Criminal Records
Awww, matching arrest records? How cute. For one thing, daughter Jinger’s husband Jeremy got in trouble in 2008 for violently grabbing a police officer’s arm and the police report detailed the event wherein Jeremy was “acting belligerently” and “shouting obscenities.” That occasion resulted in a $250 year fine and one-year conditional discharge.
Farrah’s far more public brush with the law came in the form of a misdemeanor battery charge as well as trespassing pursuing to a private person’s arrest. All that held a $500 fee and a luxurious stay at the Beverly Hills Jail. Anyway, there’s one fun icebreaker to use when the Abrahams and extended Duggars meet!
2 Four Of The Duggar Daughters And Farrah Endured Childhood Trauama
The Duggar’s cover-up of eldest son Josh’s inappropriate behavior was on par with the crime itself. Four of their daughters came forward to discuss how their own brother molested them by saying, “My parents took us aside individually and said, ‘Here’s what happened’. At that point, you’re shocked. I was shocked. I didn’t know. I didn’t understand this is what happened until my parents told me.”
For Farrah, “My parents got put into jail, both my mom and my dad…. I’m not trying to be harsh on my family because it does make them sad to think back about how they used to be and some of their choices.”
1 Jana And Farrah See Eye To Eye On Marriage
In the oddest twist, there’s a Duggar daughter with Farrah’s cautions around marriage. Eldest Jana says, "I'm not just out to get married to the first one that comes along…. In those moments where its like, your siblings that are married and have little ones, they're like going out on dates together. It's just staying busy with where God has me right now and being content in this place and learning as much as I can.” Farrah just has a hard time finding someone better than herself, “No, I don’t really plan to. I paid for my own ring — I can just do it all on my own and marry myself, really. That would be the best honeymoon.”
References: People, Baby Gaga, Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Romper, The Fader, Baby Gaga, In Touch Weekly, In Touch Weekly, Celebrity Beliefs