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Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

Mounds View High School's student news site.

The Viewer

[OPINION] Tradwife trends exclude women of color

%5BOPINION%5D+Tradwife+trends+exclude+women+of+color
Lale Baylar

Until I was 10 years old, I attended a Mennonite school and lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the largest Amish settlement in the United States. Although my family was not Amish, we regularly passed Amish farms with their dozens of cows and horses, watching as they moved along roads in their horse-drawn buggies and went on field trips to learn Amish practices like churning butter by hand.

I remember learning about the pleasant parts of Amish life, but nobody taught us how traditional values prevalent in Amish society affect their daily lives. Amish society is patriarchal, meaning that men dominate and control the society, while the women raise their children and labor within the home.

You might have heard the term “tradwife” (traditional housewife) used on social media to describe women who follow outdated gender norms by staying home and caring for their families instead of pursuing their careers. Tradwife influencers make their lives look perfect and simple on TikTok, but motherhood is anything but simple. The tradwife movement poorly attempts to shame and push insecurity onto women who do not sacrifice their whole lives for the interests of men.

A typical housewife might choose to stay home to care for her family, but tradwives usually take it a step further by following practices like modern homesteading, where they attempt to live without modern medicine or processed foods. 

The beliefs associated with the movement result from decades of a society dominated by white men. Yet, men are not depicted as a part of the movement. This is because the tradwife movement attempts to appear as a form of empowerment for women. In reality, the movement only exists to further the interests of their husbands and sons, and tradwife influencers who enjoy this lifestyle have a safety net to fall back on: a wealthy husband.

I have many issues with the narrative tradwives push on social media, but the most significant is the exclusivity present in the movement. The idea of a traditional housewife originates from white supremacy and gender inequality, especially for women of color. Many tradwives look to gender roles of the 1950s for inspiration, when women staying home was seen as a sign of affluence. However, most women working for wages at this time were women of color, barring them from gaining any social status. This quality of exclusivity is also present in most Amish communities whose populations rarely include people of color.

The current tradwife trend unsurprisingly consists of mainly white women. In the past, not only did white women possess more rights and privileges, but they often participated in acts of violence against people of color. This is no new story; many times throughout history, one oppressed group will oppress another group to feel a sense of superiority or belonging. In the ‘50s, white women often put down Black women to preserve some of their own limited power.

While most women who identify with this movement are white, some women of color seem to be part of the movement. One of the most known is Nara Smith, a Black woman who has recently gone viral on TikTok and Instagram for cooking complicated meals for her family, all from scratch. She has been grouped in with other tradwife influencers but doesn’t call herself a tradwife, most likely because of the historical context of the movement, which is based on age-old ideas of white supremacy.

Overall, I believe the tradwife movement causes much more harm than good. Although the movement masks itself as an appealing lifestyle that allows women to dedicate their lives to caring for their families, it confines women and attempts to force them back into a box that they fought for decades to be free from. Even worse, it perpetuates incredibly outdated ideas of male and white superiority. 

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About the Contributors
Sinim Dhuguma
Sinim Dhuguma, Staff Reporter
Sinim is a junior staff reporter, and this year is her first year on The Viewer. Awards: Best of SNO - Prince of Peace Church combats homelessness with tiny home settlement
Lale Baylar
Lale Baylar, Opinions Editor
Hi! My name is Lale, and I'm the Opinions editor and illustrator for the The Viewer 2023-24. I like to draw & paint as well as watch thrillers in my free time. I also enjoy trying new restaurants or baking new recipes at home. I'm in MV's Orchestra, Mustang Mentors and love volunteering at Kinderberry Hills and the Bell Museum. You can reach me by email: [email protected] :)
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