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“Protect Yourself”: Gen X Woman Warns People Against The Tradwife Trend After Being One Herself
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“Protect Yourself”: Gen X Woman Warns People Against The Tradwife Trend After Being One Herself

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There are so many trends on social media nowadays, it can be hard to keep track of them all. But one of them has caused quite a buzz recently, as it seems to have split people into camps about it—it’s tradwife content.

An intuitive life coach, energy worker, and medium, Meredyth Willits, recently went viral for sharing her views on the topic in a TikTok video. By pointing out certain negative aspects of such a lifestyle, she started a debate as fellow netizens expressed varying opinions. Scroll down to find Meredyth’s video below, where you will also find her recent interview with Bored Panda.

The so-called tradwife content seems to be getting increasingly popular among internet users, many of whom are rather young

Image credits: meredyth_with_a_why

A representative of Gen X shared her views on the matter, pointing out some negative sides of said lifestyle

“Why is trad wife content suddenly blowing up? Because people my age that were traditional wives are getting divorced and realizing that they threw 20 years of optional, available, could-have-been energy into the workforce, into their future, they threw that away doing laundry and watching their kids.”

Image credits: meredyth_with_a_why

“Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade staying home with my children for anything. However, I would have insisted on some sort of investment into my future, either by way of a 401k, a home in my name, or I would have had to have some sort of side gig where I could have put that on a resume if anything happened to my husband or our marriage. And so people my age, women that are in their 40s and 50s that have raised their children, who have been traditional wives are coming forward and talking about the realities of that, because someone like my grandmother, who couldn’t have left her husband no matter what, because she went from high school and her parents into being a stay-at-home wife and mother, she could never have left. Ever.”

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Image credits: cottonbro studio/Pexels (not the actual photo)

“So I being 51, I am like one of the first or second generations of women being traditional stay-at-home wives who are coming out and saying, “Don’t do this to yourself.” Trad wife content is becoming super popular right now. Because what’s happening is the trad wife is glamorizing staying home, and being a homemaker, and a stay at home mother, which again, there’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you talk about the fact that if your husband dies, you’re screwed, like triple double screwed.

I have a family member that if her husband died or left her tomorrow, she would be a stay-at-home wife broke on her a** with four kids and no way to support herself. Or if he died, she’s completely screwed. And for all of you out there that say, “Just marry a really good man,” and that’s great and all, but what if you’re sick of this really great man? What if he dies? What if he becomes incapable of going to work? It’s not that ‘trad wife content is extremely popular right now, everyone is just being mean’, what’s happening is is that we are the second generation of women coming forward to say ‘quit being so goddamn stupid and protect yourself’.”

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Image credits: meredyth_with_a_why

“50% of marriages end in divorce. And while he’s making $100,000+ a year, you have no skills, no career, no resume, nothing except for kids and a dog and god knows what else. You will be living in an apartment while he’s got his new 20 something in his penthouse or the family home. So good luck. This content isn’t becoming popular because we’re mean, this content is becoming popular because you’re glamorizing a lifestyle that you have know nothing about. You know nothing about. You’re just the baby trad wife and that’s okay, too.”

Image credits: meredyth_with_a_why

“And by the way, I’m not angry or bitter. I own an island and a Porsche. I have an amazing husband, but don’t get it twisted. My kids were eating 99 cent pizzas when I was a single mom, we didn’t go on vacation, and we had no money to go to Burger King. It’s not bitterness, it’s reality. If you get traded in, that’s all there is to it. Your entire life is dependent on whether or not he still likes you. Good luck”

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Meredyth’s video was watched nearly 300k times on TikTok

@meredyth_with_a_why #stitch with @Estee #tradwife #tradwifecontroversy #tradwifelife #tradwifey #traditionalwife #sahm #sahwag ♬ original sound – Meredyth Willits

The tradwife lifestyle trend has boomed online over the last several years

Image credits: cottonbro studio/Pexels (not the actual photo)

Perfect hair, a kitchen setting, and clothing that seem in no way comfortable to cook in—these are just a few things that often accompany the so-called tradwife content online. Spreading like wildfire on social media, the tradwife lifestyle—often alarmingly similar to what one imagines when they think of the 1950s—is based on following traditional gender roles with the man being the provider for the family, while the woman tends to the home and kids, and, of course, takes care of the cooking.

“The trad wife movement is an international movement of women who advocate a return to traditional gender norms through submitting to their husbands and promoting domesticity,” a researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Cécile Simmons told Euronews Culture, adding that the origins of the movement can be traced back to Reddit, where it emerged roughly six years ago. Since then, they have surfaced in other mainstream social media platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok, just to name a couple.

Taking the internet by storm in recent years, the tradwife lifestyle arguably falls under the same umbrella as being a homemaker or a stay-at-home-girlfriend—as some influencers present themselves—as they are all home-centered and typically entails being more or less fully dependent on the man of the household.

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“I think it’s important to mention that many of these content creators are not technically stay at home moms because they can be making a living from content creation, brand deals, or coaching. They are merely showing the lifestyle and not saying how much money they are earning from being a content creator,” the person behind the TikTok video, Meredyth, told Bored Panda. “You cannot say you are a stay at home mom and also be earning six figures. That is not the same thing just because you’re working from home.”

Some people believe following such a lifestyle can lead to certain dangers

In the OP’s eyes, the financial benefits are likely to be one of the main reasons why tradwife content has become so popular online. “From the perspective of the tradwife, there’s money in it. They get a ton of views and as a content creator, there’s money in creating the content that people are eating up. Also, if they get brand deals, they can make money from that as well.”

Some of the social media accounts promoting such a type of lifestyle—including the one Meredyth was replying to in her video, an account run by a popular tradwife Estee Williams—have gathered massive audiences, with tens or hundreds of thousands of followers online.

According to Estee, for instance, a tradwife is a “woman who prefers to take a traditional or ultra-traditional role in marriage, including the beliefs that a woman’s place is in the home”. While some people don’t mind a female choosing such a path in life, others deem it a slippery slope to certain dangerous outcomes.

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Some of the worries people opposing the glamorizing of such a lifestyle have are based on the seemingly ever-present what if. What if the head of the household—the man of the family—is no longer able to work and support his loved ones? What if the relationship does not last and the woman is suddenly left with no ground to stand on or a safety net to fall back on?

“The danger is that it puts women in a position of not being able to take care of themselves. It makes them weakened by putting all of their eggs in one basket, it being their partnership,” Meredyth said.

Moreover, she pointed out that being a trad wife often means that at the end of the day, the year, or the decade, you have nothing to put on a résumé. “So if something were to happen to your partner who is bringing in the conventional income to the family, you are stuck with no way to earn a living; it leaves you at the mercy of their income and if they want to keep you around or not, as well as if you want to stay with them yourself.

“Unfortunately, influencers focused on tradwife content do not show the woman asking for money each week to pay for things, midnight feedings for newborns, or the aftermath of not protecting oneself with a prenup, IRA, or some other financial investment,” Meredyth added.

According to Cécile Simmons, there’s also the danger that the submissiveness to one’s husband that tradwifes are known for entails, as it can lead to normalizing abusive relationships.

The popular online trend might not be representative of the reality

Image credits: cottonbro studio/Pexels (not the actual photo)

While Estee emphasized that such a lifestyle is based on a choice and that no one is pushing it on other women, the extent to how popular the content portraying it has become in itself can be enough to affect people’s views, especially those of young women. Covering the topic of “Tradwives, stay-at-home girlfriends and the dream of feminine leisure”, The Washington Post brought attention to a case of a 16-year-old, who, formerly a go-getter, was now a firm believer in patriarchy, ready “for someone to come and take care of her”; and it’s likely not to be the only example of a young woman choosing a similar path influenced by what she has seen on social media.

While it’s true that young people are exposed to all sorts of content online on a daily basis—which means that the problem lies more in what they might have access to, choose to believe or follow rather than what is uploaded on the internet—those following tradwife accounts might not be aware of the less charming aspects such a lifestyle entails.

American journalist and author Jo Piazza pointed out that the tradwife aesthetic can be harmful to young women as the ‘50s-inspired lifestyle is based on false nostalgia. “It’s a false nostalgia for a time that didn’t exist for the majority of the population, and for a time that was incredibly demeaning, condescending and difficult for women,” USA Today reports her saying. However, it’s important to note that, according to the journalist, the trend becomes somewhat dangerous when it is presented as the only right way to go about life.

Whether or not such a lifestyle is eagerly advocated by influencers on social media, it’s no secret that the online world is not always representative of reality, meaning that the tradwife lifestyle might be not much more than an act, too. “They make it look so lovely, this 19th-century drudgery,” a freelance writer Emma Beddington pointed out in The Guardian. “The reality of homesteading is precarious and not pretty <…> You can know tradwife life is fantasy – a Little House on the Prairie performance piece (after all, social-media content, not cattle, often pays the bills) – and still enjoy it. But the gorgeous aesthetics can also lull you into not noticing, what – apart from sourdough starter kit – it’s selling.”

While clearly not everyone is a fan of the trend currently blooming on social media, there are people siding with the tradwifes, too. Some of the latter believe that as long as each woman can choose what’s best for her, who’s to say that being a homemaker, a stay-at-home-girlfriend, or a tradwife is worse than any other path they decide to take.

It started a discussion online, fellow netizens shared their views on the topic

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suuspuusje avatar
Susie Elle
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The biggest mistake people make is to assume that they never change, that the other person will never change, or that situations that seemed rock-solid once will never change. Anything can change, that doesn't mean that you can never trust someone or something, what it means is that you always have to be able to cope with the alternative of what you were hoping for or trusting on, to the best of your ability. Don't become a doomsday prepper, just be smart. Prepare yourself for a future you didn't plan for.

tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, exactly this. Even assuming you're partnered with a stable, loving, honest man, as age comes for you both, you're looking at an increase in possibility for heart attacks and stroke that can easily destroy that single income you've both been relying on.

Load More Replies...
weimcentral avatar
Weim Central
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Poverty in older women who where tradwives is real. Especially in the US where your health insurance is tied to your employment. Tradwife is not a job title.

sarah_a_tate avatar
Upstaged75
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thankfully my dad has provided well for my mom in case anything happens to him. She's been a housewife most of her life and lets him handle everything else. She's never lived alone as an adult or had to pay for/manage everything that entails. I personally can't imagine that, but I think a lot of 70's/80's housewives are going to be in the same situation.

Load More Replies...
moyamcbride avatar
MoMcB
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Even if you're very happily married, things can go wrong. My Mum and Dad were devoted to each other. My Dad died at 52 from a massive heart attack, very suddenly. Even though he left a decent amount of money from insurances and pensions, my mum still had to work. She had always worked part time, but if she hadn't? Having no skills or experience at over 50 is not good news when looking for work.

Load More Comments
suuspuusje avatar
Susie Elle
Community Member
1 month ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

The biggest mistake people make is to assume that they never change, that the other person will never change, or that situations that seemed rock-solid once will never change. Anything can change, that doesn't mean that you can never trust someone or something, what it means is that you always have to be able to cope with the alternative of what you were hoping for or trusting on, to the best of your ability. Don't become a doomsday prepper, just be smart. Prepare yourself for a future you didn't plan for.

tamrastiffler avatar
Tamra
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, exactly this. Even assuming you're partnered with a stable, loving, honest man, as age comes for you both, you're looking at an increase in possibility for heart attacks and stroke that can easily destroy that single income you've both been relying on.

Load More Replies...
weimcentral avatar
Weim Central
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Poverty in older women who where tradwives is real. Especially in the US where your health insurance is tied to your employment. Tradwife is not a job title.

sarah_a_tate avatar
Upstaged75
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Thankfully my dad has provided well for my mom in case anything happens to him. She's been a housewife most of her life and lets him handle everything else. She's never lived alone as an adult or had to pay for/manage everything that entails. I personally can't imagine that, but I think a lot of 70's/80's housewives are going to be in the same situation.

Load More Replies...
moyamcbride avatar
MoMcB
Community Member
1 month ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Even if you're very happily married, things can go wrong. My Mum and Dad were devoted to each other. My Dad died at 52 from a massive heart attack, very suddenly. Even though he left a decent amount of money from insurances and pensions, my mum still had to work. She had always worked part time, but if she hadn't? Having no skills or experience at over 50 is not good news when looking for work.

Load More Comments
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