The Duggar family has faced down just about every kind of scandal imaginable over the past few years, but we don’t think anyone could’ve predicted their latest controversy.
It all started back in March, when Jinger Duggar wore pants in a photo posted on her Instagram page.
If you’re only passingly familiar with Jinger’s family, you might be wondering what the big deal is.
The Duggars have strict rules about … well, about everything, really, but they’re particularly uncompromising when it comes to their dress code.
According to rules devised by parents Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, women are to wear long skirts or dresses at all times, even when playing in sports or engaging in other physical activities.
So Jinger wearing shorts, pants, and above-the-knee skirts is more than just a fashion statement–it’s an act of rebellion.
Jim Bob and Michelle had no choice but to accept her decision, as once Duggar women are married off, it’s their husbands, not their parents who decide what they’re allowed to wear.
For months, it looked like Jinger would be alone in freeing her legs from their floor-length denim shackles, but now, Jim Bob and Michelle’s worst fears seem to be coming true:
Yes, Jinger’s older sister Jill Duggar is wearing pants, too.
Again, the decision to wear pants might not seem like an earth-shattering act of defiance.
In fact, putting on pants one leg at a time is such a commonplace activity that it’s become an idiomatic expression used to convey normalcy.
But imagine engaging in that activity for the first time as a 26-year-old mother of two.
As The Ashley’s Reality Roundup points out, no one in the Duggar clan has been more devoted to the family’s code of conduct than Jill.
As the first of her sisters to marry and start a family, Jill seemed to believe it was her responsibility to set an example by carrying on her parents’ ideals.
She’s spoken proudly of her family’s belief in “modest dress” and has gone to great pains to adhere to Jim Bob and Michelle’s guidelines.
When Jill worked as a volunteer firefighter, she even went so far as to modify her uniform, altering the pants into a sort of flame-retardant skirt.
Technically, the Duggar women are within the parameters of the family dress code if they keep the area from their neck to their knees covered, so as not to inspire any impure thoughts in the men in their lives.
But the floor-length skirt has long served as a symbol of female subservience and commitment to traditional gender roles for Jill and her sisters.
So opting for a pair of Levi’s is a simple act that sends an unmistakable message.
Sources close to the family say Jim Bob has been butting heads with his sons-in-law over their more progressive views, and he’s likely to take Jill’s decision to wear pants as another sign that he’s fighting a losing battle.
Jill was no doubt aware of how her latest pic would be interpreted before she posted it, which is why Jim Bob’s many detractors are singing her praises today.
Like taking a knee before a football game, sometimes a move as seemingly simple as wearing a pair of pants can serve as a powerful act of protest.
Watch Counting On online for more reality TV’s most controversial family.