‘The way it should be’
In the days of “woke” progressivism, these traditionalists are ingrained in old-school ways.
Regressed gender roles are being ushered in by way of the “tradwife” trend – “traditional wives” who are more apt to be homemakers and reject modern feminism.
The TikTok hashtag #TradWife has garnered 110.6 million views, as younger women post in support or in jest at the seemingly antiquated, fringe lifestyle.
“I’ve never believed that women should work full-time if a woman is married or has children,” 25-year-old Estee Williams, who has more than 35,000 followers on TikTok, told The Post. “We as women have realized we CAN compete with men. Yes, but at what cost?”
“I see women moving away from their roots to compete with men,” the Virginia-based tradwife added. “That’s not the way it should be. We are women and we need to embrace that.”
The concept of “tradwifery” was also linked to the values held in the traditionalist Catholic church, according to an article by the Political Research Associates, a social justice research group.
“In some circles, being a tradwife — short for ‘traditional wife’ — also means being a fundamentalist Christian, and accepting that women shouldn’t work, shouldn’t have the right to vote, and should fully submit to their husbands and their faith to live a happy life of homemaking,” the organization wrote.
For Williams, that especially rings true in her household.
“The Bible speaks of wives submitting and serving their husbands and being their husband’s helping mate,” said Williams, who touts the nuclear family as a guiding model. “The Bible talks specifically about gender roles, and I completely support traditional gender roles.”
A “misconception” about the tradwife movement is that the women who model the lifestyle are not choosing to be homemakers and are also attempting to impose it on others, TikToker Williams said in a video with over 660,000 views.
“Nobody’s pushing it; people are typically just living it,” she said in the video.
“Tradwives also believe that they should submit to their husbands and serve their husbands and family, and that triggers people because the words ‘submit’ and ‘serve’ – it makes women think that we’re saying we’re less than a man,” she continued in the clip. “That’s not what we’re saying.”
Instead, she insisted tradwives are just willing homemakers who hold “traditional values.” While she told The Post that both the traditional and “modern” woman – the latter of whom she describes as “career-oriented” and a “boss babe” – can coexist, maintaining a career and being a homemaker is just too difficult in her eyes.
“Being a traditional wife means disregarding society standards of women being career oriented and choosing to focus completely on your own family and their needs,” said Williams, who supports “traditional gender roles.”
Self-proclaimed tradwife Alexia Delarosa, 29, told the Daily Mail that her husband “doesn’t have any duties assigned to him,” and instead she completes the household chores alone. She said she was particularly drawn to the “’50s style family life” and wanted to model her own home similarly.
“Matthew loves to be at work, and I love to be at home taking care of things,” the San Diego mama said of her husband. “We both thrive in our roles and this arrangement works perfectly for us.”
Despite people’s insults that she’s “turning the clock back 50 years,” Delarosa said her job as a housewife is both “important” and “invaluable.”
“It is so important to have a parent in the home that is consistently there for the kids. I used to be a nanny and I was there for so many special and cute moments with the kids I was nannying for,” she said. “They were such special times and it made me realize that I wanted to be there for all of these moments when I had my own kids.”
But this niche, online subculture is developing a more sinister connotation.
One former tradwife – who expressed that she still holds “traditional values” but has abandoned the formal title – said the “extremists” prompted her to distance herself. In a TikTok clip, she claimed some in the tradwife movement began to condone “white supremacy” and bigotry to which she does ascribe.
While it’s evident that tradwives and far-right politics can be mutually exclusive for some, for others the ideologies go hand-in-hand.
“One of the key concerns with the tradwife movement when it’s affiliated with the far-right is that [it provides] a soft face for saying quite extreme things, quite dangerous things; things that are quite divisive and that demonize parts of our own society,” Kristy Campion, an expert on extremism and terrorism, told ABC News Australia.
One TikToker compared the tradwife ideology to the slogan “Make America Great Again,” claiming that the gender role-assuming movement has “white supremacist undertones.”
The content creator, who goes simply by Lisa online, slammed the women for “harkening back to a time when women were supposed to be subservient.” Lisa, a homemaker herself, said her household dynamic only works due to the emotional intelligence of her partner, who she said works with her like a “team.”
It’s possible that some tradwives feel left out of modern feminist movements, as one TikToker named Bernadine criticized feminism for insulting women who choose to be homemakers.
Another creator named Madison, who built her social media following around her traditionalist lifestyle, also condemned feminism for only benefiting “corporate America” because it supposedly pushed women into the workforce as a way to tax more people and generate more revenue.
Journalist and researcher Annie Kelly recently told CNN that the so-called movement is enticing young people to abandon widely held, mainstream beliefs due to social climate “conditions” that are “quite bad.”
Such a grim outlook “pushes young people into a tendency to look back at the past with rose-tinted glasses,” she added.
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