The Appeal of #TradWife Life Can’t Be Ignored.

I Should Know. I Grew Up With Them.

M.B.

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The Ladies’ home journal, 1948, Wikimedia Commons

Amy sends me another video of her new obsession. The Instagram reel shows a gorgeous woman, heavily filtered, making tea, baking bread, pulling weeds from her garden, hugging her three kids, and kissing her husband when he got home. Amy loves these videos. Wants those domestic comforts more than anything. She’s 23.

She’s not alone.

Popular tradwife influencers, including Estee Williams on Instagram and Rachel Joy on TikTok, are abundant. If you scroll on social media long enough, you’ll probably see more than a few of these cheerful, white women sharing gardening tips, baking sourdough bread and making broth, ironing aprons, or telling you how to make your husband happy by catering to his every sexual whim.

The #tradwife trend appeals to a growing group of girls and young women. It’s a weirdly wholesome fantasy. Polka-dot dresses, red lipstick, and cuddly, chubby children. Why be concerned? Tupperware and gardening ain’t exactly drugs and alcohol. A life where your most pressing concern is making sure a hot meal is on the table at 6pm-what’s not to love? After all, the romanticization of post-war Americana is nothing new.

Between the cooking videos and cute aprons, I catch flashes of my childhood. I grew up around and with white, conservative Christians. I went to a tiny, 99.98% white fundamentalist-Christian university. I’m intimately familiar with the simple world in these videos.

My siblings and I used to joke we grew up in “the olden days” which, for us, was around the 1940’s. Home-schooling with little tv and no computers were everyday affairs. Happy homemakers cooked three meals a day and swapped fresh eggs and garden veggies from ice boxes. They were praised for having and raising (many) children and called the backbone of the world.

We played with our friends after church. We didn’t read Harry Potter or watch Nickelodeon. We read the Bible and “clean novels” while humming songs from wholesome musicals. I still know them by heart.

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