Obsessed with ‘Breaking Amish’
I know Honey Boo Boo is getting a lot of attention lately due to the pint-sized pageant queen’s show beating political convention coverage and the family getting significant raises for season two. However, I think there is another TLC reality show that deserves attention.
They say the first step to getting help for a problem is admitting you have one, so here it goes. My name is Natasha and I am obsessed with ‘Breaking Amish.’ The show is based around four Amish and one Mennonite. They are uprooted from their humble homes and brought to New York City and put up in a swanky hotel. They get to see the bright lights of Times Square, they enjoy a night of theatre at ‘Stomp’, they get the honor of seeing drunk strangers on the street, and they experience other churches. It is basically Rumspringa on steroids. Rumspringa, for those who don’t know, is a time in Amish adolescence when they get a chance to experience the outside world and decide to stay Amish or leave. There has been some speculation as to whether or not the cast members’ histories are what they say they are. I don’t care. I think the show is fascinating.
I didn’t grow up in a very conservative household. We didn’t go to church regularly and we didn’t pray before meals. Due to this upbringing I find organized religions, especially ones as strict as the Amish very interesting. As a TV loving, movie loving, music loving, internet loving, smart phone loving, indoor plumbing loving kind of person I couldn’t imagine being Amish. But beyond the differences between the English, as they call us, and the Amish I find some of the similarities even more intriguing. The five of them have the same kind of relationship problems anybody in any relationship have. A lot of what they argue about are the same things anyone and their friends argue about like being talked about behind their back, who likes who and who doesn’t like who back, can you believe what he or she said or wore or did? Gossip is everywhere, even in the Amish community.
The group experience a lot of firsts together. They all experience bar life together and their first taste of alcohol. Party on. They decide to try sushi for the first time. I’ve never tried sushi. They are braver than I. The girls branch out and decide to go to a spa for some pampering, including waxing and I mean waxing. *wink wink* Kudos ladies. I mean who doesn’t want to feel pretty every once in awhile? I’m sure TLC is footing the bill for a lot of their escapades, but I think they are still learning how expensive the world can be, especially in NYC.
One of the biggest shockers of the show was the revelation that one of the Amish girls, Rebecca, has false teeth because at around the age of 13 the Amish ‘dentists’ pulled all her teeth out. These ‘dentists,’ according to her, were not schooled or trained in any way on proper teeth extraction. The teeth pulling, according to the show, is common in the Amish community because they don’t have the money or the doctors to keep up with proper dental hygiene so instead of waiting for someone to need a root canal or a cavity filled, they pull all their teeth. Also, due to their views on vanity they don’t believe it should matter what you look like with or without teeth. Due to Rebecca’s teeth being pulled she got hand me down dentures that don’t fit properly and give her blisters and sores in her mouth. This whole idea freaks me out. Anyone who knows me even remotely well knows how important teeth are to me. I had braces for almost 5 years, oral surgeries, eight teeth pulled, wisdom teeth extracted, and so on. However, I would have rather gone through all that and kept my teeth than have some old men pull all my teeth out as a teenager.
Then there are the Amish’s views on education and the roles of men and women. Most Amish children only go to school until about eighth grade and then they go to work in construction or farming. If they do decide to leave the Amish it will be very hard to find a job without a proper diploma. The schooling is done by other Amish so I wonder how universal their curriculum is. If their schooling is all Bible based, do they have a unit on Dinosaurs or Evolution or World Religions or Shakespeare? Not to mention, in my opinion, the most important education of all: popular culture. Do they know the awesomeness that is Michael Jackson or Harry Potter? Will they ever know who Zack Morris is? Or understand the true love that is Cory and Topanga?
One of the long running arguments on the show are two guys’ different views on women’s roles. Jeremiah thinks because Amish women were raised doing household chores and helping raise children that’s all they will ever do. He thinks any woman, Amish or otherwise, will do whatever he says. Abe is willing to do his own laundry and dishes and Jeremiah calls his manhood into question for doing so. I think most women watching the show would much rather have a guy like Abe in their life so Jeremiah will have a pretty rude awakening out in the real world. I consider myself somewhat of a feminist so this idea of women only being good for breeding and doing laundry is asinine.
Even with all this other stuff going on, at the core of the show are five young people trying to find their place in this world and who hasn’t felt that way before?