These days, Austin Forsyth is best known as Joy-Anna’s husband as the couple continues to process Josh Duggar’s crimes.
But his time on reality television began long before he was a father, or even part of the Duggar family.
Austin suffered a childhood that we wouldn’t wish on a war criminal, and was featured on TV at the time.
Social media users are stunned by Austin’s past appearance, and you can see why.
In a Reddit post, in a subreddit dedicated to roasting the extended Duggar family as they deserve, one redditor dug up old footage of Austin.
When he was just 15 years old, he and his family were featured on a show called World’s Strictest Parents.
Sadly, the show was not an undercover sting designed to rescue children from these environments, but rather to document their lives for “entertainment.”
The blast from the past clip includes Terry Forsyth, Austin’s father, explaining their lives.
In his mind, his authority as a father makes him second only to God.
Decidedly after him in the hierarchy is his wife, Roxanne.
He describes Roxanne as a woman with a “servant’s heart.”
That may sound like a Countess Bathory reference, but it’s clear that Terry means it as a compliment.
Together, the fundamentalist parents raise their children, 15-year-old Austin and 17-year-old Meagan.
Viewers get only a glimpse at Austin and Meagan’s sad life of perpetual isolation.
Robbed of personhood just like Austin’s future wife and in-laws, their lives are defined solely by their father’s interpretation of the bible.
That means that their work is endless, and the family is never apart.
But what really struck social media users on Reddit (and elsewhere) is the faces of the family.
They more or less all have the same face.
While similarities are certainly common among families, Austin’s sister looks like him in a (bad) wig.
Commenters observed that striking similarity and more in the replies to the original Reddit post.
“How did Austin look like an old man even back then?” one asked.
Another observed: “The Forsyth genes are so strong that they frighten me the whole family looks exactly the same.”
“Man they all FOUR have the same nose!” declared another.
The same redditor asked: “Like does joys baby get their nose from grandma or grandpa?”
The comment concluded: “And seriously Austin’s sister looks like him wearing a wig.”
“The mom brought some strong genes,” a redditor pointed out.
Another joked: “They’re all secretly Austin in various wigs.”
An additional commenter wrote: “One of the YT comments is: ‘Why do they all have the same face?!'”
Certainly, Austin has changed a great deal since his foray into the world of television at the tender age of 15.
While he arguably never had an actual childhood, as evidenced by his own father’s description of their lives of toil and restriction, he certainly grew up.
He has become an adult, a husband, and a father.
Some of the commentary on Austin and his family’s features may come across as mean-spirited.
In a sense, it is.
After all, unlike Terry and Roxanne’s decisions that made them bad parents and bad people, nobody chooses their facial features.
But while some of the observations were neutral, some of the commentary on their faces was, well, deliberately snarky.
All of these people are adults now, and some people find it cathartic to roast people for strange aspects of their looks instead of the heart of why they are disliked.
Is it right to slam someone’s looks instead of their actions? No. But we’ve seen worse.
It is sort of pitiful to see this glimpse at Austin’s youth and be reminded that he never had a chance to have a normal life or be his own person.
We are reminded of this often with the Duggar children, though their time on reality TV tried to frame their captivity within a cult in a more positive light.
It’s probably healthier to focus upon sympathy for those wronged by parents and cults than upon who has whose nose, but the latter must have felt like a welcome distraction.
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