Trad-wives in digital age challenge progressive ideas

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The trad-wife movement brings traditional domesticity to the forefront, contrasting sharply with evolving feminist critiques and societal norms

Trad-wives in digital age challenge progressive ideas

In a digital age dominated by progressive ideas, a counter-movement has emerged, stirring both intrigue and controversy.

In recent years, the internet has witnessed the emergence of a distinct movement known as "trad-wives," a term that shortens "traditional wife." This social media-driven trend increased in popularity during the pandemic and is characterized by women advocating for a return to 1950s-style gender norms and domestic roles.

Sparked by an anti-feminist Reddit thread called "Red Pill" around six years ago, the increasingly visible trad-wife movement online suggests a potential cultural shift.

"Searches exploded during the pandemic," Cecile Simmons of the Institute for Strategic Dialogue said, as reported by Euronews. Initially an American phenomenon, it quickly found resonance in the U.K., though it remains less visible in mainland Europe.

This movement encompasses a wide range of political views, from conservative to far-right. One of its core tenets is the emphasis on a traditional gender role dynamic within marriage, where the wife is expected to be submissive to the husband.

Supporters of trad-wife movement

Some figures associated with the trad-wife movement have leveraged social media to promote their views.

Estee Williams, a 26-year-old Virginian, is a prominent figure in the social media movement. With over 100,000 followers, she posts pictures and videos showcasing her style, often featuring A-line dresses and cultivating an image of a picture-perfect home life.

In one of her Instagram captions, Williams says, "Biblical Submission does not mean the wife is of less value than the husband, and nowhere in the Bible does it say that. Tradwives encourage Biblical Submission because the Bible speaks of this, and unfortunately, this word has gotten twisted around and into a 'fetish.'"

She adds, "Ephesians makes it clear that a man does have responsibility for leadership in his home. But again, it’s only as a leader that his wife submits to him - not as a tyrant or her superior. The umbrella of authority has Christ at the top, followed by the husband, then the wife and the children, and this 'umbrella' protects the family unit from Satan."

In stark contrast, Ayla Stewart represents a more extreme facet of the movement. Describing herself as a "former college liberal who saw the light," Stewart is a Mormon who became notorious for her 'white baby challenge,' through which she urged her followers to have as many white babies as possible. This controversial stance caught significant media attention, signaling the movement's potential overlap with white nationalist ideologies.

Those against trad-wife movement

The trad-wife ideal is not universally embraced, even among those who have lived it.

In her personal account, Vogue UK's Monica Ainley expressed skepticism about the movement's patriarchal underpinnings. Ainley's experiment of living as a trad-wife for a week led her to question the choice of subordination inherent in this lifestyle. She wonders, "What woman - what person, for that matter - would choose to play second fiddle to their partner if given another option?"

On the other hand, Enitza Templeton's account sheds light on the darker aspects of the trad-wife experience. Adhering to the trad-wife lifestyle for a decade, she recounted her journey of disenchantment and eventual divorce while speaking to CNN.

She shared the grueling reality of her days, starting at 4 a.m., dedicated to making bread and preparing meals from scratch while also managing all household chores.

Templeton is now an advocate for women seeking independence from oppressive dynamics and reflects on her experience, "Social media can make everything look really pretty because it’s a 30-second clip, but 30 seconds out of 10 years really omits a lot of the ugliness in those relationships."

It is also important to note that while some proponents view feminism as a threat to traditional values, others argue that feminism's core principle is the freedom of choice – which includes the choice to embrace a homemaker role.

Feminism's take on trad-wife lifestyle

The emergence of the trad-wife movement has brought a critical feminist discourse to the forefront. Feminism, which fundamentally advocates for women's autonomy and the dismantling of patriarchal structures, finds itself at an ideological crossroads with the trad-wife philosophy.

The movement's critics question the authenticity of choice within the trad-wife narrative. They argue that societal pressures and deeply ingrained patriarchal norms may unduly influence women to adopt these traditional roles, mistaking conformity for choice.

As the trad-wife movement continues to gain attention, it reflects a broader societal conversation about gender roles, choice, and autonomy.

While some view the movement as a meaningful return to traditional values, others see it as a step backward in the ongoing struggle for gender equality.

This ongoing debate is not just about the choices women make but also about the societal structures that shape these choices. As such, the trad-wife phenomenon seems to play a significant role in the tapestry of modern gender discourse.


Source: Newsroom

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