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Jinger Duggar's Counting On talk makes the Duggar girls' limits obvious

Chanel Dubofsky is a fiction writer, journalist and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work on gender, sexuality, religion and reproductive justice has been publishing in Cosmopolitan, RH Reality Check, The Billfold, The Toast, The ...

Counting On wants us to think the Duggar girls can do anything, but can they?

More: Duggars celebrate Michelle's birthday with sweet surprise

On the latest episode of Counting On, Jessa left Ben with Spurgeon alone for the first time (and shockingly corrected him when he referred to watching his own kid as "babysitting"). Jana and the oldest Duggar gentlemen starting building a treehouse, Jill and Derick reported from El Salvador, Jinger let us in on the fascinating world of car-flipping and, in what seems like it's going to be a regular feature on this show, the producers continued to ask about courting and the Duggar kids continued to look deeply uncomfortable.

When asked about Jinger in an interview, Jessa talked about her sister as someone with a big heart for whom the "possibilities are limitless." This isn't the first time on the show that the Duggar daughters have attempted to portray their futures as wide open — last week, Jana said she "wasn't sure" what the next five years held for her, and the girls have been pretty reluctant to talk about courting when asked by the producers.

More: Amy Duggar shares photos of her and her hubby's honeymoon

Jessa's comment about the nature of her sister's life brought about some interesting conversation on Twitter as to its validity.

I think it's pretty clear that the Duggars are operating according to a different definition of "limitless" than the rest of us. Jinger might be able to flip a car and be a photographer, and Jana can do all the projects she wants, but they can't go to college (although apparently Joe can?) or move out until they're married, and they definitely, absolutely have to get married and have children, and the notion of a career outside the home is basically unheard of. The Duggar kids don't have female role models who live differently to Michelle and the women in their extremely closed community, unless you count the hugely scandalous Amy. Despite the collective fantasy that Jinger and Jana might actually break free from expectations and conventions, it's unlikely that it will really happen. (I know, I'm sad about it, too.)

What's super interesting about Counting On is its purported investment in making us believe that the Duggar kids are more mainstream than they actually are. Everyone's outfits have gotten better, but this business about unbridled possibilities, and the refusal to answer questions about marriage and courting, seems to indicate that the older Duggars are trying to de-emphasize it. Maybe it has to do with Josh, his very public infidelity and the fact that we're seeing Anna dealing with it on a weekly basis now. Maybe the kids are walking the line between attempting to be seen as relevant (read: cool) and also remain true to their religious beliefs. Regardless, I don't think viewers have yet been fooled into believing that marriage is actually negotiable for the Duggars. Nice try, though.

More: Why is everyone freaking out over this Joy-Anna Duggar video?

Do you think the possibilities for the Duggar daughters are limitless? Tell us in the comments!

Before you go, check out our slideshow below!

Counting On wants us to think the Duggar girls can do anything, but can they?

Image: Jessa Seewald/Instagram
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