While the rest of her siblings have rebelled against Jim Bob in various ways, Jana Duggar has mostly toed the line and abided by the insanely strict rules that her parents set out for her.
Sure, she hasn’t started popping out an army of kids yet, but like a nun who’s taken a vow of celibacy, Jana is serving her father in a different way.
While her brothers and sisters have gotten married and left the nest, Jana has remained at home to help care for her younger siblings.
It’s a selfless decision, and we’re sure her help around the house is greatly appreciated.
But still, there must be mornings when Jana wakes up in the bedroom she shares with her four youngest sisters and feels tempted to join the rebellion.
Those feelings might be especially strong these days, amid rumors that Jana’s best friend, Laura DeMasie, was sent away by Jim Bob, who felt the women’s relationship was inappropriately close.
We say all of this merely to explain why so many fans are eagerly seeking out signs that Jana is ready t break free from her overbearing parents.
And many believe they’ve found what they’ve been looking for in a photo of Jana that appeared on her brother Jed’s Instagram page this week:
At first glance, the pic appears thoroughly unremarkable.
It’s just Jed (who is running for the Arkansas State House of Representatives, hence the shirt) and Jana enjoying a summer bike ride.
“Enjoyed a beautiful bike ride through Springdale!” Jed captioned the pic.
“So much fun!” Jana commented.
But many commenters believe the pic was strategically cropped to conceal a bold sartorial choice on Jana’s part.
“Is Jana wearing pants??! She looks great!” one fan wrote.
Another cut straight to the point and commented simply, “Pants!!”
Now, wearing pants instead of a skirt on a bike ride might sound like a common sense choice.
But if Jana is indeed wearing pants, it would not be a decision she arrived at lightly.
If you’re a longtime fan of the family, then you’re no doubt familiar with the Duggar dress code.
It stipulates that as long as Jim Bob’s daughters are single and living at home, they’re to dress “modestly” at all times.
This means no tight clothing, no bare shoulders, and most of all, long skirts instead of pants at all times.
Jana already violated one of those rules earlier this summer, and now, fans believe she’s flipping the bird to her parents by rocking athletic wear on a bike ride instead of a denim skirt.
If Jana were to marry and move out, it would be up to her husband to decide what she’s allowed to wear and when.
But in her current situation, she’s under Jim Bob’s thumb, so it makes sense that Jed would strategically crop the photo in this fashion.
“When our kids get, you know, 18 or older … they have the ability to move out or the freedom to do that,” Jim Bob said on a recent episode of Counting On.
“Most of them have realized, ‘Hey, staying here at mom and dad’s house until I get married, I can save up a lot of money.’”
As with the bike riding photo, that comment seems unremarkable at first, but there’s a lot going on just under the surface.
He suggests that Jana is free to move out of the house and rent an apartment as a single woman — but that’s almost certainly not the case.
Until she finds the right ma — and as the Laura incident reminds us, it must be a man — she’s required to remain at home and abide by her family’s rules.
Which is why the ban on pants is less about concerns over “immodest” attire, and more about control.