Amy Duggar King responded to backlash on her social media timeline this weekend, telling followers that she’s sick of being compared to her cousins, and that she shouldn’t be judged by the standards Jim Bob Duggar has set for his family. In the process, she hinted that she may have once felt ashamed for living differently than the rest of the family, but doesn’t now.
On Saturday, Amy Duggar King shared a photo on Instagram. In it, Amy is kissing her husband, Dillon, and he has his arm loosely around her, with his hand on her body. It’s not a photo that would be shocking from most celebrities or reality stars, but with the Duggar name and regular appearances on their reality show, 19 Kids & Counting, there are certain expectations.
It’s pretty clear that some viewers that are familiar with the strict “modesty” rules that Jim Bob Duggar’s daughters are required to live by are startled or even annoyed that Amy lives in a more mainstream way. While she’s still conservative by many standards, Amy dated (something her Duggar cousins weren’t allowed to do, instead following the practice of “courtship”), kissed her husband before marrying him (while her cousins saved their first kisses for their wedding days), and wears jeans, shorts, and bikinis.
Sometimes, Duggar fans comment that they’re glad Amy makes her own choices and that she doesn’t adhere to the Duggar family’s ideals. Others, like one who left negative comments (now deleted) on Amy King’s Instagram this weekend, are more harsh.
Amy and Dillon King haven’t exactly shied away from the publicity associated with the name. For example, they joined the cast of Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars, in which their claim to the “reality star” title was Amy’s regular appearances on 19 Kids & Counting before the release of police reports pertaining to Josh Duggar resulted in the cancellation of that show.
However, they’ve also worked hard to disassociate their lives and beliefs from those of the larger Duggar family. For instance, Dillon King once responded to a viewer calling the pair “grifters” by saying, “I married into the Duggar family; that doesn’t mean I don’t have a job.”
At another point, Amy King made an online comment comparing herself to her cousins, and suggesting that she couldn’t enjoy the kind of entertainment that some people associate with the Duggar family.
“Oh you know staying home & sewing skirts and memorizing the whole Bible in a day is definitely my lifestyle.”
Now, however, a follower on Amy’s Instagram had some harsh comments about her photo, suggesting that the way her husband is touching her in it is inappropriate in public. Amy King responded several times, to assert the appropriateness of the touch, express her thoughts on internet strangers judging her choices, and call out comparisons to the conservative Duggar family.
“I call it flirting, besides nobody was around! He doesn’t just grab my butt walking through Wal-Mart ha! And besides that’s not even a grab it’s simply placed there…heck we are married! Call me trashy or whatever but we are keeping our love alive!”
Amy King did not mention whether the photo was taken by timer, or by someone holding the camera. She also said that her response to such comments has changed.
“I use to get all concerned about what people thought and all the comments I have received that made me feel negative about myself but now that has all changed.”
In the longest comment, by far, Amy addressed comparisons to her cousins. Portions of that are reproduced below; the full comment is on Amy’s Instagram here.
“I’m so tired of being compared to my cousins and that side of the family. Stop being so judgemental. People…write comments to me about wearing a bathing suit in the pool. Lol I mean I’m not going to wear scuba gear, or shorts and a t-shirt to swim in that’s ridiculous in my mind.
“I listen to music, I’ll have a glass of wine with my girls, I dance, I wear bikinis, and I love Jesus. I’m don’t feel ashamed anymore.”
Though Amy King expresses that she doesn’t feel it’s appropriate for others to question her choice of swimwear, the statement that wearing shorts and T-shirt to swim is “ridiculous” stands out, considering this photo on her cousin, Jessa Seewald’s, Instagram.
Jessa was also criticized at the time for wearing shorts and T-shirt to the pool. Jessa had previously been seen, along with her sisters Jana, Joy, and Jill, on 19 Kids & Counting, before the show was canceled, wearing very modest swimwear that included a knee-length skirt.
The Duggar Family Blog says that the Duggar ladies swim in clothing from Wholesome Wear, a company that makes swimwear that essentially consists of a short wetsuit with a dress over it — perhaps eliciting Amy’s comment about “scuba gear.”
Though Amy Duggar King said she’s no longer bothered by invasive social media commentary on her clothing and lifestyle choices, she also tweeted to declare, “Nobody types faster than a ticked off female!”
[Featured Image by Amy Duggar King/Instagram]