If you’ve been following Joy-Anna Duggar’s Instagram for updates on her baby bump, you may have noticed a subtle shift recently.
Jim Bob has a huge rule for his family … and it’s a rule that Joy has quietly begun to break.
Joy-Anna is a grown woman. She’s a mom.
In fact, she is pregnant with her second child — after suffering a tragic miscarriage last year.
But in the eyes of Jim Bob and the fringe cult to which Joy’s entire family belongs, there is one thing that she cannot be trusted to do.
That is: have her very own Instagram account.
WIth rare, special exceptions, the Duggars are not allowed to have social media until they get married.
Even when they are married, they are expected to have creepy, joint accounts with their spouses — though not all of them do.
For years, Joy and Austin have shared an Instagram account, speaking with one voice on social media.
Now, that is in the process of changing.
As you can see, their Instagram handle remains the same, reflecting both of their names.
But as Joy mentions in her bio, Austin has his own Instagram these days.
Joy even refers to being "married to" him — indicating that this Instagram account is solely hers.
Short of scrubbing Austin’s name from their Instagram handle, this is about as clear as they can make it that this is Joy’s IG.
To be fair, it has been apparent for a while that it was Joy who was making these posts.
But most of us had suspected that Joy and Austin were going to continue sharing the account for the foreseeable future.
There are benefits to living your life in a way that Jim Bob approves.
It has long been suspected that the controlling family patriarch uses his wealth to keep a tight leash on his adult children — even the married ones.
This break doesn’t necessarily signal that Joy-Anna is distancing herself from her family.
It may be the result of Jim Bob appearing to soften on some previously rigid rules.
For example, Jana — the still unmarried eldest — has her own Instagram.
And when Jedidiah Duggar announced that he was running for office, he suddenly had a new home address and his own Instagram account.
Our guess is that Jed was allowed these adulthood staples to make him look like less of a child and like less of a cult member.
Jana may have earned a special degree of trust from her parents, but we cannot say for sure that she has sole access to her account.
In any case, the reason for these social media restrictions has always been the result of two things.
Jim Bob does not believe in privacy, and he believes that temptations can only be avoided by averting one’s gaze.
Plenty of us thirst-follow a bunch of people on Instagram and it’s not a problem at all.
But in a family where the girls are expected to say "Nike" if a human woman walks by so tha their brothers can look at their shoes, that’s different.
Jim Bob and Michelle believe all sorts of toxic things when it comes to sexual atraction.
As you can imagine, the people who think that wearing normal pants shows off too much of a woman’s curves are opposed to Instagram thirst traps.
Contrary to Jim Bob’s beliefs and those of the controversial cult to which he belongs, Joy and Austin getting seperate Instagrams isn’t a prelude to cheating.
Instead, it just means that they can post to social media with their own voices and interact with fans accordingly.
The Duggars aren’t the only ones who do those joint husband-wife accounts, and they’re just plain creepy.
Congratulations to Joy and Austin on taking one tiny step closer to normal, non-fringe society.