Jill Duggar has been testing the waters of a less-strict lifestyle for few years now — and with one of her latest Instagram posts, she seems to be jumping into with two feet.
The 29-year-old former reality TV star shared a sponsored post for the modest swimwear brand ModLi on July 22, modeling several of the company’s covered-up swimsuits herself.
In a series of photos, the mother-of-two — whose siblings have been known to swim in long dresses — showed off several swimming outfits, including skirts and figure-hugging tank tops.
Jill showed off her haul of new swimwear on Instagram a week ago, going through the items in her stories and posting several photos after she tried them on.
‘Are you spending a lot of extra time in the water this year?’ she wrote. ‘Pools might not be open yet, but we are enjoying lots of quality family time in the backyard with water play!
‘I was so excited to find @modlifashion. All of their swimwear is UPF50 and they have so many cute swim & sport clothing options everyone will love!’
Her new swim outfits included a a tight blue swim T-shirt and matching skirt — which hit about mid-thigh, showing quite a lot of skin for a Duggar.
She also showed off a tight blue tank top and swim pants that look like leggings, and a pink tank top with swim shorts.
While her swimwear is certainly a far cry from a bikini — or even a one-piece, for that matter — it’s also a huge departure from what she was brought up to believe was appropriate.
Her parents preach incredibly strict modesty standards, and the family generally avoids going to beaches and pools where women might be dressed ‘immodestly.’
‘We typically don’t go to the beach in the summertime,’ Michelle once told TLC. ‘And in general we don’t do a lot of swimming events where swimming suits are worn because it’s just too hard for the guys to try to keep their eyes averted in those situations.’
Partly because of that, some of the Duggar children don’t even know how to swim. In fact, in a recent episode of Counting On, Jinger, 26, admitted that she never learned.
On occasions the Duggars have gone to the beach and ventured into the water, they tend to be fully clothed. Photos taken of her younger sisters in the ocean show them in dresses that covered there shoulders and hit below their knees.
A widely-circulated photo of Jessa, 28, taken when she was pregnant with her son Spurgeon, shows her at a pool wearing an oversized T-shirt and what appear to bel long shorts.
The rules governing how much girls and women can show of their bodies were enacted after mom Michelle, 54, spent her teenage years in bikinis.
‘I mowed the lawn in a bikini and had no idea what I was doing to my neighbor’s husband across the street. No wonder the woman hated our family — you know?’ she told PopSugar in 2015.
‘And, I think I had no clue as far as the responsibility I had in that the way I dressed caused men to have struggles.’
Jill hasn’t quite made that leap to skimpy two-pieces, but she has been showing much more skin than she was raised to, and is frequently pictured in pants, shorts that hit mid-tight, and tank tops.
One can only guess how Michelle and dad Jim Bob feel about that, and only Jill’s sisters Jana and Jessa liked her swimwear photos on Instagram.
But embracing swimsuit season is just one of many ways that Jill is breaking away from her family’s uber-strict evangelical Christian teachings.
Earlier this month, she and her husband Derick Dillard, 31, stopped by Wellington’s in Springdale, Arkansas, a whiskey and cigar lounge owned by her cousin Amy’s husband Dillon King.
And while Jill wasn’t actually photographed partaking in either vice, Derick did thank the other couple for treating them to ‘good food, drinks, and company.’
Jill, Derick, Amy, and Dillon all posed inside the lounge, Jill dressed in a jumpsuit she’d previously picked up from Amy’s store.
Amy shared the photo on Instagram this weekend, taking a dig at Jill’s parents and her restrictive upbringing in the caption.
‘Our new favorite word: Freedom!’ she wrote.
While Jill didn’t comment on the snarky caption, Derick did chime in, writing: ‘Thanks for treating us! We had a great time! Good food, drinks, and company (not necessarily in that order.)
Though the picture doesn’t show Jill or Derick actually drinking — or smoking cigars for that matter — Jill did post some snaps of the cheese and charcuterie plate they enjoyed — which seems to be a perfect pairing for a glass of wine.
Visiting any type of bar is a major departure from Jill’s upbringing in a strict evangelical Christian family, where she and her siblings were raised to stay away from alcohol.
For some fundamentalist Christians, even wine is off-limits — and they believe that references to wine in the Bible actually mean grape juice.
Jill, however, has been stepping away from a lot of her parents’ stricter teachings — and her husband has hinted before that they may not mind a drink here or there.
In 2018, when a Twitter user asked Derick why they didn’t drink wine, he seemed to deny it.
‘Where did you read that?’ he said. ‘I don’t think we’ve ever said that.’
Jill has ‘rebelled’ against her parents’ rules and teachings countless other ways, too, wearing pants and even shorts, cutting her once-long hair, planning to send her son Israel to public school, taking relatively openly about sex (within the confines of marriage, of course), piercing her nose, and — some fans speculate — using birth control (the couple has not confirmed this; though Derick did say that his own parents used birth control).
Unfortunately, some of this — and the couple’s refusal to film for the family’s TLC reality show anymore — has led to strained relationships with Jill’s parents.
Derick has claimed on numerous occasions that Jill’s father, Jim Bob, restricts her visits to their home — and that Jill has to ask permission to come over, especially if Jim Bob isn’t there.
Jill even reportedly had to get permission from Jim Bob to go do her sister Jessa’s house when she gave birth to daughter Ivy last year.
Derick has had some truly scathing words for his father-in-law, who doesn’t seem to place similar restrictions on older son Josh, who admitted molesting four of his younger sisters, including Jill, as well as a fourth child when he was a teenager.
Earlier this month, he even went so far as to compare Jim Bob, 55, to Jeffrey Epstein, accusing him of placing a higher importance on money than following Jesus.
‘[Counting On is]s still under his control. And he will attack the victims if they threaten his show.
‘We were humiliated and threatened when we first tried to not film,’ he added.
‘We have to break this culture, that cares more about money and ratings than protecting the most vulnerable.
‘Jeff Epstein already showed us that if you have enough money, power, and influence, you can get away with anything. Sadly, it doesn’t stop with him. There are many more stories in this world that are not too different, existing in a culture where it can still thrive.’
Meanwhile, cousin Amy has also been throwing shade at Jim Bob and company — though hers are much, much more subtle.
Earlier this month, Jill paid a visit to her clothing store, 3130 Clothing, where she did some light shopping with some help from her cousin.
The store was empty on the occasion, giving Jill and Amy a chance to walk around without masks and pick out clothes for Jill to take home. Jill also got to spend time with her aunt Deanna and Amy’s son Dax.
Before leaving, Jill posed for a photo with Amy, with the two smiling wide for the camera.
‘You smile just a bit brighter these days! So proud of you hippie chick!’ Amy wrote.
Amy had long been considered the ‘rebel’ of the very conservative Christian family. While her uncle Jim Bob and aunt Michelle had incredibly strict rules for Jill and her siblings — governing their dating, their clothes, and how they spent their time — Amy grew up more secular.
She even admitted to having sex before marriage, while her cousins all save their first kiss for their wedding day.
She also likes wearing bikinis and has shared several photos of herself at the beach.
Despite Jill’s strained relationship with her parents, she appears to be thriving in a more lax environment — and one that doesn’t include her childhood abuser, big brother Josh.
Her cousin Amy — and fans — have taken notice.
Several commented on Amy’s post, with one writing: ‘So proud of her and the hard work she is putting in to be authentic to herself and her husband and boys!’
‘She looks so much happier,’ observed another.
‘It seems like she is doing well making a lot of crucial changes away from that life, it’s good to see,’ said yet another.
On Reddit, commenters wondered at how Amy’s ‘post is clearly throwing shade at the Duggars,’ with several pointing out that Jill’s big sister Jana liked the post — seemingly missing the veiled criticism.
‘Her smile is finally reaching her eyes!’ wrote another. ‘Unlike a meek Michelle smile, this one is real and we’re all here for it! Go Jill! Screw your toxic family!’