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The Rise of “Tradwife” Subculture and Return to Conservatism on Social Media

In real Japan, on average, more than 130,000 desperate housewives write their most sincere curses on the “Death to Husband” (danna-shine.com) website every month;

The high-scoring American drama “Women” directly puts the question of “why women kill” in front of the audience, kicking off atypical feminism;

The movie “Barbie” criticized the patriarchy and incidentally made Ken a joke of the times;

The perfect couple is full of lies, and the romantic story will also turn into a thriller…

The trend of overseas theaters has changed a long time ago, and the heroines are trying to change from the original “desperate housewives” to “fatal women”.

However, on the short video platform, a retro style is coming –

Women, should they all go back to being housewives? !

Return to tradition?

She has short blond curly hair, exquisite makeup, a floral dress, a lace apron…

I saw such a “Barbie” showing her life in front of the camera:

She lives in a small retro building with mahogany cabinets, exquisite chandeliers, and purple-patterned dining room wallpaper…

The table is filled with exquisite food, and flowers and ornaments are essential decorations…

These trivial daily tasks have long become her job, and making her husband’s life better seems to be her lifelong pursuit.

Judging from the pictures, she is very happy with her “work”.

In the video, she focuses on makeup, festivals, and outfits every day, like an exquisite housewife.

She also offers housework advice to other housewives, shares a variety of beautiful aprons, and gives reasons why you need to dress up like a beautiful wife:

Make life more romantic and happier;

Let your husband truly appreciate the efforts he puts in every day;

Ensure the quality of marriage…

Blogger Estee Williams portrays herself as an elegant, gentle housewife who takes care of her family in an orderly manner. She is proud of this identity and has hundreds of thousands of fans on overseas social platforms.

In a video that has been viewed over a million times, she said: “We encourage men to go to work and women to take care of the housework, and we hope that women will serve their husbands… But this does not mean that we are less important than men, it is just our division of labor. different.”

In her concept, a wife should submit to her husband in everything; as a woman, her first priority should be to be a wife and mother.

She even believed that going to college would put women in debt and prevent them from becoming homemakers.

Marrying a husband and raising children, not working outside the home, opposing feminism, sometimes including fundamentalist Christians and white supremacist racism…

You read that right, a re-enactment of the mainstream housewife life of the 1950s is indeed happening on the Internet in the 21st century.

Coincidentally, the words and actions of Australian internet celebrity blogger Jasmine Dinis went even further –

She no longer cares about politics and is proud and secretly happy to let her husband tell her how to think in everything;

She encouraged women who were torn between family and career to choose to return to family because “your boss can replace you at any time, but you only have one child”;

She believes that a truly independent woman does not work in a company, but takes care of her children and cooks at home;

She even educated her young daughter to do housework from an early age and learn how to be a traditional wife like her mother. “I am teaching my daughter to live a slow life, so that she can look forward to having a husband and a beautiful family every day. Serve them…”

There are a few netizens in the comment area who yearn for Estee’s views:

I also want to be a housewife;

However, most netizens still chose to ridicule openly and implicitly, and strike hard:

Traditional women don’t know how to use Instagram, so get out of here;

This is both financial and psychological abuse, stop promoting this nonsense.

Netizens were even more furious about Jasmine’s toxic teachings to their children. “Are you okay?” means a thousand words…

After all, in modern times, Western culture has been advocating feminism with independence as its core, which seems to have nothing to do with the word “beautiful wife”.

Why is it that today in the 21st century, a group of women suddenly appeared on the Internet and began to rely on their husbands to support themselves?

So much so that major overseas mainstream media have noticed this phenomenon——

American Public Radio specially interviewed a cultural columnist to analyze how the tradwife wave will affect feminism: “It will divide women.”

At the beginning of this year, “Times” published a column stating that the popular image of “soft girls” on the Internet has led to an increase in stay-at-home girlfriends and traditional wives (or “traditional wives” created by the Internet), and the emergence of this gender role , purely to “escape reality”;

Even as early as four years ago, the Guardian noticed the rise of traditional wives and bluntly pointed out in the article that some housewives were using social media to share details of their struggle with feminism…

Why has North America reversed history in recent years?

This wife is not that wife

First of all, it needs to be made clear that this wife is not that wife.

In the Chinese context, the term “beautiful wife” refers to a beautiful and young wife. In the current Internet environment, she is even more “love-brained” and has no brains to support her boyfriend or husband;

In the North American context, “beautiful wife” refers to Tradwife, which is the abbreviation of Traditional Wife.

Traditional wives in North America are not so relaxed. Not only do they have to properly arrange the food, clothing, housing and transportation of the whole family, but they also have to take care of the management of the manor and farm. It is not an exaggeration to say that they are “literate and capable of military affairs”.

Another typical case, Ballerina Farm, has 8.91 million followers on Instagram, which vividly explains what it means to be “good in the living room and good in the kitchen”.

Hannah, the operator of this account, studied ballet at a top school in the United States and was a beauty queen in New York City and Utah.

However, she chose to get married and have children before graduating from college. Just because her husband liked farm life, she gave up her dancing career and became a full-time wife.

It is not difficult to see from her videos that Hannah takes care of housework in daily life, takes care of 7 children of similar ages, prepares fruits and vegetables, etc., and relies entirely on the farm to be self-sufficient.

Unlike a full-time housewife who lives in a city apartment, villas and farms give her more space to perform. She also needs to maintain the yard of the house, take care of livestock, crops or pets.

Making bread and cheese starts from the most basic raw materials such as flour, eggs, milk, etc., and vividly stages the process of producing “purely natural, no additives” healthy food.

Even when working, Hannah had to carry one child on her back and another on her side. What others may see as a busy and hard life, she “enjoys it”.

The Tradwives Club (a community for traditional wives) has also appeared on the overseas social platform Instagram, and its audience is modern housewives with traditional concepts.

In other words, how the American nuclear family lived in the 1950s, how the current Tradwife recreates such a life.

These traditional wives not only perform the roles of wives and mothers, but also cooks, drivers, doctors, teachers, gardeners, housekeepers…

Without patience, skills and physical strength, I really can’t do so many tasks.

In Europe, there are even anti-feminists who actively preach about “never marrying and not having children”, aiming to shatter the illusion of female independence and encourage women to return to the family.

From this point of view, Tradlife’s life is not just a show, but also a subtle way to convey ideas.

This Tradlife trend is of course still a very niche subculture at the moment, but it began to rise on the Internet in 2020. Until the past three years, combined with the popularity of short video platforms, it has begun to become more and more popular, and it has accepted more and more “believers” “.

Unveiling the veil of Tradwife on the social media platform, one after another sweet “pink traps” come into view.

Unlike obscure articles, short videos blur the boundaries of knowledge levels, giving this trend of thought a wider influence among different classes of society.

Beautiful Internet celebrity bloggers can make money at home by creating a Tradlife image in short videos. They even say that through this feasible economic model (rewards, bringing goods), they can attract other people to join this lifestyle.

And when an ideological movement becomes a way to make money, it will spread like a virus.

More and more young women such as full-time girlfriends and softgirls are joining related topics.

People who are “involved” may be just because it is profitable, but they have subtly changed their own thinking and that of more audiences, and ultimately achieved the purpose of “ideological invasion.”

Return to the glory days

Just as the Japanese miss and praise the Showa era, and the Chinese yearn for and hope for the 1990s, the emergence and rise of the Tradwife phenomenon is largely due to the disappointment of young people in Europe and America with the present.

On a deeper level, the retro trend of traditional wives is actually a microcosm of the current political and economic situation.

The 2022 Gallup Global Sentiment Report found that people’s unhappiness index reached a record high;

In the 2023 Youth Barometer report, only 40% of the 32,000 respondents worldwide believed that they would have a better life in the next five years. This number dropped by 10 percentage points compared with 2019.

A long economic crisis, ups and downs of political conflicts, frequent wars and strange climate changes…

As people’s patience continues to wear thin, women’s situation becomes even more difficult.

Although women are encouraged to enter the workforce, they are still required to perform housework and motherhood. At the same time, the workplace ecology in most regions has not reversed the status quo that is unfriendly to women——

Being single without children or being married without children has become the reason for elimination in interviews;

Unequal pay for equal work;

career ceiling;

No guaranteed paid parental leave…

In the words of the movie “Mrs. America”: Push women into the workplace, and women will find themselves working two full-time jobs.

Even a donkey cannot control the wheels turning 24 hours a day. It’s no wonder that many people begin to miss the glorious days——

The 1950s, the golden age of the United States, the only superpower in the world.

At that time, even an ordinary assembly line worker could support a couple and two children under an 8-hour work system, and could own a single-family villa and a small garden of his own. There is no need to rely on the wealth foundation of the parents. This is the true “one person works, the whole family is not hungry.”

When the young Generation Z is faced with 97 optional fluid gender roles and identities, as well as various harsh realities in society, too much confusion has caused the pendulum to begin to swing.

One observer pointed out, “It transcends gender and is a search for spiritual relief within the binary structure.” In other words, when binary oppositions are dissolved in all aspects of life (including gender), People tend to think of “tradwife” as a form of stability.

Under extremely conservative gender concepts, women do not expect to fight for their own rights and find their own value. It seems more comfortable to live according to the established gender division of labor.

Under this trend of thought, conservatism is on the rise, and the rhetoric of “white supremacy” is rampant.

Some netizens couldn’t help but ask in the comment area of ​​blogger Estee’s video: Are there any traditional wife bloggers like you who are black women?

The answer is yes, but after all, they are still a very small number.

Currently, all the influential Tradwives on the Internet are white, and some even shouted the slogan “Make White Great Again.”

Among them, Ayla Stewart, a blogger with the account Wife with a Purpose, firmly believes in “replacement theory”. She believes that white people are gradually being replaced by non-white immigrants. As a result, she strongly encouraged white people to have lots of babies, even launching the “White Baby Challenge”—I’ve had six! Either catch up with me or surpass me!

Although her remarks were deleted after being severely criticized by the media, her bizarre arguments do represent the thoughts of some far-right people.

The existence of supply also proves the existence of demand. The Tradlife lifestyle is not only a fantasy created by some “privileged classes”, but also a utopian expectation for people who are struggling to survive.

It is undeniable that the Tradwife movement seems to have become a movement based on a short video platform, somewhere between a money-making activity and a movement with political and religious overtones.

As for when this farce will end?

Perhaps, only when people once again usher in an era full of hope and prosperity, will they stop remembering the past and stop reversing the course of history.

We look forward to that moment.