For the second time in as many months, Derick Dillard has conjured images of when Susan B. Anthony led the charge for women in the United States to vote. Fans do not miss much, and certainly not Derick’s recurrent use of the term “wifey” in reference to Jill Duggar Dillard.

Derick’s casual use of a word, possibly endearing to wife Jill, seems fairly benign, except to fans who have duly noted repeatedly that the level of repression among the Duggar Family offspring is undeniable. Casual viewers and fans invariably see the symptoms of ultra-conservative values playing out on-screen by the manner of dress and the interactions between family members.

Perpetual use of term fans find objectionable keeps Jill Duggar’s husband relevant

While Derick’s most recent interjection of “wifey was bantered in a social media post with respect to Jill’s birthday and his well-wishes for her special day, the term still harkens to the times when women struggled for the rights to own and inherit property, to be free to divorce wife beaters, and to vote. Granted, people can choose to overlook the social slights made by one woman’s husband, a man whose views most definitely do not parallel a lot of contemporary beliefs or thoughts.

It is not that a Duggar daughter’s husband uses such a word freely.

To chalk his terminology up as benign strikes a sour note for many fans who are genuinely offended. The word is symbolic of all that women, as a gender and as a class of people, fought hard to liberate from women’s lives so that women could enjoy quality existence, not merely survive.

Of course, fans want Jill, and every other Duggar, to make the most of the one day a year when it truly belongs to her or to him.

A birthday is a special day, a day that merits recognition. The longer one lives, the more reason to celebrate and be thankful for life. Jill’s birthday message from Derick gave fans a talking point while making him relevant once more.

Fans care, even if Derick doesn’t care, about the point of TLC

Fans, despite the depth of support for couples’ pet names and terms of endearment extended within their relations, are ever-vigilant when it comes to the Duggars.

Let’s not forget: The Duggars invited people into their lives. The microscope lens was focused on the family by the decision to allow cameras from The Learning Channel (TLC) into their home and into their lives. That people have learned a lot should be a feel-good moment for TLC. The network has achieved its goal.

Many fans watch because they have grown to like the Duggar family, whether it is all of the family or specific family members. The aspect that conjures a great deal of scrutiny or voyeurism is when it comes to the daughters and how they are taught or trained to behave, depending on who is asked. Agreeable is a positive. Compliant, obliging a husband or pacifying his urges with sex, as family matriarch Michelle Duggar intimated in recent months, is not a nod at how far women may have come after decades.

Women, as a fact, are still trying to shatter the glass ceiling, such as the current situation with Gina Haspel undergoing the confirmation process to be at the helm of the CIA, the woman in charge of the agency possibly for the first time in history.

Fans also watch with wonder, and many viewers, with dismay, at how the family lives with conviction toward emotional conservatism in contemporary society. Whether the lifestyle is a marvel, a mystery, or a massive undertaking to go against the grain is something that sociologists may know definitively.

‘Wifey’ grabs attention due to history of repression

The term “wifey” as a charmer belies issues that fans intuit are not beneficial for all in the Duggar family, specifically the married Duggar daughters.

The changes reflected in their personal fashion since marrying and leaving home are symptomatic of young women who lived a life of repression. Fashion is, after all, a form of self-expression, a means to communicate something about oneself. Wearing pants, short-sleeve blouses, and leggings as married women are not suggestive of young women who were all-too-eager to have worn near-ankle length dresses and skirts and to have worn leggings while swimming.

Why does anyone even care what Derick says or does? Because… fans care about Jill and her children. Viewers want for Jill to be truly happy, to not function as her husband’s sideshow, to feel free to express herself on her own social media, and to say what she thinks free of reprisal or recrimination from her family.

The Duggar daughters are special and fans do feel protective. Not many young women grow up in today’s society as heavily cloistered from “norms” such as technology like the internet or Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Most young women have worn swimming suits (and, yes, there are ones that firmly handshake modesty). Many young women have goals that extend beyond making and delivering babies.

Wifey” is relative. Fans view it in context with who conveyed the term – while mindful of the values instilled in his wife. Is the term offensive? Many fans say: Yes. Consider the source.