The notion of Duggar family members “breaking free” has been a topic of discussion for quite some time inside fan circles.
But will it actually happen, and who will be the one to do it? Moreover, what does it even mean to break free in their case?
Below, THG staff writers break down who they believe is most likely to escape the cultural shackles of the famous TLC family.
Some of our selections and reasons behind them may surprise you … or in the case of one recently-married Duggar, probably not.
JILL DILLARD by Emily Trainham
When you think about which Duggar might be most likely to break free from the chains of that oppressive, creepy, molester-friendly family, Jill may not be the first person that comes to mind.
But if you just think about it for a minute, it’ll all come together.
For one, Jill’s been rebelling quite a bit against Duggar tradition lately. Like, the girl wore shorts this summer. Ones cut above the knee, even.
She’s also been photographed in an actual swimsuit instead of the traditional Duggar swimsack. She’s practically a stripper now by Jim Bob’s standards.
For two – and this is the real reason we see Jill breaking free – have you been keeping up with the shenanigans of Derick Dillard?
The way he’s going, we imagine he’ll be officially starting his own cult soon, and she’ll be too busy mindlessly supporting her husband and insisting everything is fine to remain an active member of the family.
This transition has already started, really, since Derick got himself and Jill fired from Counting On.
Since then, they’ve appeared to spend less and less time with the rest of the Duggars, for obvious reasons.
As such, it’s easy to imagine that soon they’ll cut ties completely.
After all, bashing transgender people, begging fans for money, and gallivanting around impoverished countries in an attempt to look like decent people doesn’t leave much time for extended family!
So will Jill leave the rest of the Duggars in some inspiring, badass way?
Nah. But trust, she’s on her way out.
JOSIAH DUGGAR by Tyler Johnson
When a young man gets married, folks often talk about him “settling down.”
But when Josiah Duggar married Lauren Swanson earlier this month, it may have been the beginning of his effort to break free from the constraints that have held him down so long.
For years, Josiah has been regarded as one of the most rebellious members of the Duggar clan.
As long as he was living under Jim Bob and Michelle’s roof, however, there were limits on how much he could flout their belief system.
But for the Duggars, getting married is second only to cranking out kids in terms of milestones that mark one’s passage into adulthood.
Certain freedoms are afforded to those who have carried have taken steps toward their God-given duty to sire a small army.
That’s why Jinger Duggar is allowed to wear pants and move to a different state, while her older sister Jana is forced to do her gardening in a floor-length denim skirt.
For the most part, acts of rebellion by married Duggars have been exceedingly mild.
But those who know Josiah best say he can’t wait to prove to the world that he’s his own man.
Our own Duggar insider has called Josiah “the most likely to break out” and defy his overbearing father.
My guess is that now that Josiah has found himself a wife, it won’t be long before he begins to assert his independence.
He’ll probably start with something rather subtle, a small tattoo of his favorite Bible verse, but even that will be enough to give Jim Bob conniptions. And I’m sure it will all be incredibly fun to watch.
JINGER VUOLO by Free Britney
Sometimes, the most obvious answer isn’t the best. Sometimes conventional wisdom needs to be challenged and paradigms reexamined.
Not here. It’s always been Jinger and always will be.
Card-carrying members of Duggar Nation have known this for years. She’s been the family rebel since the concept was a mere pipe dream.
Sensing her independent streak, fans started an online movement, Free Jinger. (Our only regret is that there is no sister site Free Jana.)
Jinger hasn’t and will probably never throw two middle fingers in Jim Bob’s face or flaunt her freedom in ways that will disrespect him.
But make no mistake, she is her own woman. By design or serendipity, she has taken heed – with an assist from her husband, Jeremy.
Let Jinger Be Jinger. That might as well be Jeremy’s mantra, as he’s helped her push back against Duggar norms from the day they met.
Vuolo is former pro soccer player from the Northeast, and a pastor with less stringent lifestyle views (and a Calvinist, to Jim Bob’s dismay).
Our point? The proof is in the pudding, honestly.
Since marrying him, Jinger Duggar moved out of state, waited over a year to get pregnant, and started wearing whatever she wants.
JASON DUGGAR by Simon Delott
If you’re only a casual Duggars fan, you might be shuffling through the different Duggar offspring in your mind, trying to remember which one is Jason.
Jason, folks, only turned 18 in April. He is not yet married.
As of early 2017, he co-owns a house with his father (though he is of course not allowed to live there, as an adult living independently might make independent choices).
He also wants to be a videographer. This is why I’m just optimistic enough to say that Jason has a shot at breaking free.
If he’s serious about this calling, the Duggars might actually let him receive a real education in the matter.
Even if they don’t send him off to college (where he might encounter different people and new ideas, the horror!), there is reason for hope.
Just the process of learning videography in any setting aside from a tech room at a megachurch could broaden his horizons.
If he’s really passionate about this, then once he’s married, he and his obedient, Jim Bob-approved Handmaid’s Tale reenactor of a wife could move anywhere to pursue his career.
And even if Jason focuses exclusively on Christian organizations and Christian video projects, he could still realize that there’s more to the world than the ideological prison in which Jim Bob and Michelle kept him for the first two decades of his life.
Be free, Jason. Be free.