Free Jinger started its life in 2005 as a thread on the (now defunct) Television Without Pity forums. While TWOP never officially recapped any of the Duggar Specials, there was a thread devoted to them on their Reality TV forum. That thread existed for several years, through several closures due to going off topic, and was eventually permanently closed at 200+ pages.
The people who frequented the TWOP thread frequently started interesting conversations about fundamentalism, Gothardism, feminism, and similar topics, but the rules of TWOP didn't allow for those conversations, so one of the regulars on that thread, TheSilverGirl, started an offsite message board at EZBoards (later Yuku) called Free Jinger, and the off-topic conversations about fundamentalism, in general, moved to that site.
Over the years, that forum grew and expanded, and began to be noticed by some of the fundamentalists we snark on. In 2011, one of those people contacted Yuku and complained, and Yuku deleted a thread from our forum with no notice or recourse. Given that we no longer felt Yuku could be trusted, a vote to move
to our own domain was taken, and one of our members at the time, Alecto, built a PHPBB board hosted on our own domain, freejinger.org. This event is commonly referred to by our members as the Rapture, and we celebrate Raptureversary every June to honor the move to our own domain.
Free Jinger has come a long way from its roots of a Duggar discussion board. We encompass religious fundamentalism in all its forms, bloggers, television, hobbies, and even have an Ask Me Anything forum for our members to share their knowledge.
Q: Page One? Where did this forum originate?
A: This is a spinoff forum. We originated on a discussion thread at Television Without Pity (listed under "Candid Reality"). The thread was 268 pages... PAGES... long, when it finally sunk in that the moderators were getting just a *little* tired of us talking about welfare, feminism, religion, homeschooling, and more instead of the topic. Page One, November 6, 2004: (edit by Curious 6.16.14) Sadly, TWOP closed their forums, but I managed to snag a screenshot of our beginnings before that happened.
A: No kidding. But to truly appreciate Free Jinger, you should read at least part of this thread.
Q: What the hell was the topic supposed to be?
A: You may want to watch "14 Children and Pregnant Again!" when it comes on the Discovery Channel. It's a cheery little documentary about a family in Arkansas with a freakish litter of children. (The 16th slithered out of the uterus in October 2005 and as of January 2013 they had 19 children.) The kids all have names starting with J, and the parents are named JimBob and Michelle Duggar. No, really. The show itself has happy music, syrupy voice overs, and marvels at the family's organizing skills.
A little Googling and the thread denizens discovered that the family is part of the Quiverfull movement and all that implies. Before you could say "every sperm is sacred," the thread was up to 268 pages.
Q: I went to the mothership thread, but I can't post!
A: Despite us off topic queens moving over here to chat, the thread just raised too many interesting ideas to stay on the strict topic of the show, and after 272 pages, the little thread that Dree began was locked. Requiescat in pace.
Q: "Free Jinger"?
A: Someone terribly clever started tagging her posts with this somewhere in the first fifty pages.
Jinger is one of the middle Duggar daughters, and the only one who shows a spark of life. If anyone is going to break out of the Duggar Borg, our money is on Jinger. One theory is that she resents her name being misspelled just so her family could keep their J streak going.
Q: So what happened after you left TWoP?
A: We moved to EZ Boards, which was bought out by Yuku. We were there for six years before we became big enough and controversial enough to move to our own home after Yuku started deleting threads when fundies complained and Yuku failed to notify our admin team or respond to their requests for clarification. So, with the hard work of many of our members, we migrated here, to our own space.
Q: Why aren't you talking about the Duggars?
We do talk about the Duggars, but over time the community has evolved to encompass several different topics. However, if there is a specific topic you'd like to discuss regarding the Duggars, feel free to jump in.
Q. There are people cursing, talking about sex, saying things I don't like!
A: Welcome to a free speech zone. We don't censor except for a few rare occasions that have more to do with protecting individual privacy rights, or keeping this website so the average viewer can look at it with the kiddos in the room.
Q: Why are you so mean, gossiping, etc?
A: What you call gossip, we call keeping our eyes on a dangerous religious movement. We believe that criticism, snark and laughter is the best way to call attention to some serious problems such as child abuse, rape, oppression of women, loss of rights, and the groups who perpetrate these things. We are shining a light because it burns away the darkness.
Keep your flame lit, and you will never feel darkness. ~J. Parker