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Tradwife Life: How This Alt-Right Label Has Mistakenly Taken Over The ‘Momosphere’

Tradwife Life: How This Alt-Right Label Has Mistakenly Taken Over The ‘Momosphere’

Taking center stage online in recent months is the “Momosphere”— a corner of the internet where mothers post cooking, relationship, and parenting content. Here, thousands of women use the digital space to share their experiences of motherhood while exchanging various tips and tricks. Though the “Momosphere” boasts Mommy Vloggers galore, one type of creator is gaining traction in the space: The Tradwife.

The tradwife posts content about domestic life. She homesteads, cleans her house, and, of course, prepares meals for her children and husband (often entirely from scratch). While she posts her aesthetic vlogs, her husband is out providing for the family. And she loves it. 

In 2024, it’s not the norm for women to be entirely confined to domestic roles. However, the tradwife harks back to the mid-twentieth century, reveling in what she perceives as a “simpler” era when a woman’s primary domain was the home. The term itself really says it all, being a portmanteau combining the words “traditional” and “wife.” 

The label tradwife gained mainstream attention in 2020. In January of that year, the BBC released a documentary called “#TradWife: ‘Submitting to my husband like it’s 1959,” featuring a popular creator named Alena Kate Pettitt.  

The tradwife niche has grown exponentially since then. At the time of writing, #tradwife has 433 million views on TikTok, with other hashtags like #tradwifelife and #tradlife at 31.2 million and 98 million, respectively. 

Every once in a while, a trad creator breaks through the “Momosphere” and into the mainstream. Take Nara Smith, for example.

Over the past month, Nara has become TikTok’s newest obsession. 

Born Nara Pellman, she tied the knot with Tumblr icon and model Lucky Blue Smith in 2020. Together, they have welcomed two children, Rumble Honey and Slim Easy, and are now expecting their third.

While Nara has spent time in the public eye as a model, only recently has she secured her position in the influencer world. 

Nara captured TikTok’s attention after sharing videos of her preparing meals for her family. In one clip, she makes a breakfast of homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal. In another, she goes all out, making Lucky bagels and cream cheese from scratch to celebrate their fourth anniversary. She takes her followers along the process, offering instructions in the voiceover. 

As EJ Dickson writes for The Rolling Stone, “She makes the daily drudgery of motherhood and household labour look not just easy, but impossibly sexy.” 

Flicking through her comment section, TikTok users are in complete disbelief. Some wonder why she would bother to prepare these meals from scratch, while others doubt her children would be patient enough to even wait for an entire homemade meal.

“This woman can make scratch from scratch,” one user wrote. 

“Do you ever just give them a pop tart or something?” another added. 

Screenshot via TikTok

Aside from questions about how Nara possibly has the time, many internet users feel uncomfortable about her proximity to tradwifery. 

There is no question whether Nara promotes “traditional” values, especially the way she glamourises domestic labour. However, there is a whole belief system that comes with the tradwife lifestyle— one that is explicitly anti-feminist and implicitly religious. 


#stitch with @Caitlyn Browning This is one of the OG tradwife memes and it illustrates the dirty truth. #strugglecare #tradwife #tradwives

♬ original sound – Kc Davis

The tradwife lifestyle is inherently sexist and heteronormative.  

Tradwives, often entrusting their husbands with complete control over the family’s finances, are expected to “submit” to them entirely. While this may be the goal for these women, the tradwife lifestyle fundamentally contradicts the objectives of feminism.

“Tradwifery stands firmly against many feminist struggles over the past half-century: the right to work, the right to maintain one’s own finances, the right to bodily autonomy, the right to freedom from harassment,” Assistant Professor of Anthropology Devin Proctor explains.  

That being said, it is not inherently anti-feminist for a woman to value their role as a stay-at-home mother or a wife. The issue arises when these roles are weaponised to platform the alt-right—a political ideology shrouded in racism and white supremacy.

Tradwifery is associated with the far-right through domesticity and white nationalism. 

Tradwives romanticise femininity from an era where women had limited independence, and whiteness reigned supreme. As Assistant Professor Proctor continues, “framing these particular formations of gender roles and identities seen in the white middle-class United States of the 1950s as traditional, the tradwife persona reifies them into natural fact for all humans.” 

While this portrayal oversimplifies and distorts womanhood, the emphasis on a woman’s primary duty aligns with the messaging found within alt-right circles.

At its core, the alt-right is predominantly concerned with preserving “tradition.” This may be in terms of gender roles, but it is also society’s dominant cultural and racial identity.

With a woman’s role centered around service— meaning that her purpose is to bear children for her husband and subsequently spend her life raising them— she assumes a key role in perpetuating whiteness and preserving her lineage.

Not all tradwife influencers identify with the alt-right, but many cater to this demographic by embodying the archetype of the “ideal” wife and mother. One notable tradwife creator, Ayla Steward, also known as Wife with a Purpose, even started the “white baby challenge,” encouraging her white followers to match (or even surpass) her number of children.

Many tradwife influencers, Ayla among them, subscribe to the Mormon faith.

The LDS Church places significant importance on family values, particularly valuing motherhood. Women are frequently encouraged to prioritise their roles as wives and mothers, emphasising nurturing and raising children following religious principles. Historically, the Church even frowned upon women pursuing full-time employment. 

While these values align with tradwifery, being Mormon does not make a tradwife. However, it is safe to say that there is a substantial crossover between the tradwife niche and the internet’s obsession with Mormon Mommy Vloggers. 

When exploring what constitutes tradwife content, @domesticblisters on TikTok go so far as to say that a creator must “be Christian religious… and must believe as a part of their Christian religion that wives are called to submit to their husbands.” 


Replying to @StacyNicole excellent question here’s a breakdown. #strugglecare#tradwife

♬ original sound – Kc Davis

It’s clear that tradwives adhere to a specific belief system. But as this niche expands online, many internet users are misusing the term.

Most recently, TikTok users have started calling creator Emily Mariko a tradwife. After gaining viral fame in 2021 for her iconic left-over salmon and rice bowls, Emily has become one of the go-to creators for cooking and lifestyle content. 

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Last year, Emily married her long-time boyfriend, Matt Rickard, and is expecting her first child. Her recent marriage and pregnancy, coupled with her domestic-based content, have led some TikTok users to call Emily a tradwife.

“Emily Mariko is the ultimate tradwife,” TikTok user @caroclairburkeee begins. “The performance of domestic labour on her account is impeccable. In terms of the fine print of patriarchy, she is a dream wife… [her audience] only know her as a woman who lives inside of a kitchen… she is pregnant, and she is silent.”

While her videos may align with the stereotypical content of a tradwife influencer, there is no evidence to suggest that she subscribes to the associated belief system. For instance, Emily is financially independent as a content creator and has previously worked “normal” jobs. Before becoming an influencer, she graduated with a neuroscience degree from Columbia University and later worked at L’Oréal and Facebook. 

With this in mind, Shannon of the FluentlyForward podcast made a TikTok, questioning whether the term is an accurate label for Emily. 

“Emily Mariko is not a tradwife because the whole trad thing is all about tradition,” Shannon says. “She’s not telling you to make things from scratch. She’s not telling you to get off your hormonal birth control. She’s not saying that you should have kids and why marriage and monogamy are the best.”

Through this, Shannon brings up a crucial point. When specific terms go viral on TikTok, they often transform as more people adopt them. While this phenomenon is common in the evolution of language, it becomes concerning when terms lose their sense of gravity. Tradwife is no exception. 

Instead of linking tradwifery to its underlying belief system, internet users often perceive it at a surface level, incorrectly associating stay-at-home moms with a more ominous agenda.

Of course, this isn’t the first time TikTok has undermined a word’s true meaning. “Nepo Baby” is another example. 

Following the publication of “The Year of the Nepo Baby” by Vulture in late 2022, the definition of the term completely changed. The piece delved into Hollywood nepotism across the entertainment industry, featuring infographics and family trees for numerous celebrities. 

But Vulture clearly had a broad definition of Nepo Baby, where celebrities like Phoebe Bridgers, the daughter of a set-builder, were perceived to benefit from nepotism. This misinterpretation has continued on TikTok, where many users conflate “nepo baby” with affluence.

All that to say, the misuse of “Nepo Baby” isn’t that serious. But how TikTok users incorrectly affix the tradwife label onto women poses a much greater threat, impacting both the creator and the audience. 

Not only are we imposing a belief system, often deemed problematic, on “regular” influencers, but we are also downplaying the influence this ideology wields. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the (seemingly) easy and fulfilling life of a tradwife through her aesthetic vlogs and cooking videos. But it is only a slippery slope to adopting the racist, anti-feminist, and conspiratorial beliefs that support the doctrine— it has been well-documented that embracing the trad life leads women down an alt-right path

With the rise of tradwife influencers across TikTok, it is more important than ever for users to effectively differentiate between the mommy vloggers sharing their lives, and tradwife creators peddling white supremacist propaganda.

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