ELLECyclopedia: The Tradwife Discourse Is A Quicksand Situation Dabbling In Choice, Privilege, And Feminism


Another day, another internet buzzword dominates our collective digital footprint. This time, it’s ‘tradwife’. So, let’s dive into the discourse around it.

Dictionary.com defines a tradwife as ‘relating to a subculture of women who choose to be homemakers as a primary occupation and adhere to or embody traditional femininity and female gender roles, often associated with conservative or alt-right political values.’ Although a tradwife frequently advocates for a return to what they see to be more natural gender norms, this can occasionally be seen as retrogressive or at odds with contemporary feminist values.

Contrary to stay-at-home mothers, who might decide to do so for pragmatic reasons like child care or because they love running the household, a tradwife rigorously uphold traditional gender roles because they firmly believe in their value and necessity. Need, want, and desire are three separate things.


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While the word itself isn’t new, unlike its Gen Z counterparts, the credit for its resurgence in the internet spheres lies with Nara Smith, a fashion model married to Lucky Blue Smith, who is also a well-known model. The word was first hyped last year, but thanks to the merciless nature of the algorithm, lay down low until recently. About two weeks ago, on June 26th, Nara Smith posted a video in which her husband was seen making sunscreen from scratch at home. Neither of them are dermatologists or doctors. Now how did a homemade sunscreen video propel this conversation to the forefront?

To understand this, we need some context into Nara’s online presence. She is a culinary genius (of sorts), given her knack for baking and making Nutella from scratch. Oh, and that, too, while wearing the hottest pieces off the runway, not a fraying hair strand in sight. She was also pregnant last year and delivered a baby girl this April, at the peak of her internet fame. For all of this, I wish her good health, but what keeps striking me is the immense privilege of building this presence and making these decisions.

Now, I don’t mean to play spoilsport and tear down a woman who’s simply enjoying cooking, regardless of it being ascribed as a ‘woman’s job’ as per age-old gender roles. Because I know, there’s so much freedom in reclaiming your power from scratch, doing things you love despite the noisy clutter trying to force their two cents onto you. But there’s also a lot of privilege: the privilege to pursue her interests sans any ridicule. The freedom to later embrace the ‘slow life’ and let the professional aspect of her life take a backseat on her own terms. This hasn’t been a problem for Nara as she’s previously carved a niche in the fashion industry.


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As she proceeds to put up such videos, there’s a separate pool of select content creators / or ‘mom-fluencers’ aka the ‘tradwife’ brewing fresher ideas (or rather recycling old ideas in a brand new packaging) and promoting the silver lining of this concept. A legion of them (mostly from god-fearing, mid-western states of the US) have banked on this sentiment and have started talking about how they love being a stay-at-home wife and serving their husband. Yes, ‘serving’! This is where I went (uh oh) about the many years of undoing the work of gender roles.

These calming videos of sourdough bread baking used by the ‘tradwife’ to entice their fans end up supporting the tenets of supposedly traditional gender roles in marriage, inevitably erasing the hard-won victories of women’s rights advocates by influencing culture. Again, there’s nothing wrong in baking that bread, but pedestaling that lifestyle by throwing subtle shade at those who prefer not to that’s just not cool. And it sets us back, say, 100 years.


Amidst this spiral of cause and effect, the tradwife claims that she’s not trying to propagate a lifestyle and doesn’t have a goal in mind. That no one is pushing it. According to them, most of the time, people live this life and sometimes show off how they live. However, by glorifying these viewpoints, they fail to acknowledge the true effects of women’s submission and subordination to males, regardless of whether this is a voluntary decision. And if it’s just about people living their lives, in that case, I want apron-clad tradhubs, too! Now I’d pay to see that.

Also Read: ELLECyclopedia: Who Is Pookie? What Is Pookie? Why Is Pookie? We Have The Answers

- Digital Fashion Writer


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