The #Tradwife Persona and the Rise of Radicalized Domesticity
The “momosphere”—a collection of parenting, relationship, cooking, and crafting blogs and social media—has seen exponential growth during the socially distant pandemic years. It has also seen the rise of a new domestic online persona: the “tradwife.” These #tradwives write blogs and social media posts that promote “traditional” gender roles and family life, wherein the man provides for and protects the family, and the woman has children and takes care of the needs of the family. To combat the obvious critiques of misogyny, many self-identified tradwives use feminist rhetoric to frame the movement as a choice they are making about how to live their own lives as empowered women. But the problematic nature of tradwife identity can go beyond issues of gender roles and into radical white supremacy. While these tradwives do not always identify as alt-right and/or white nationalists themselves (though some do), they are often accompanied by either overtly white supremacist content, hashtags that signal allegiance to white supremacist hate groups (e.g., #thirdposition, #14words, #1488), or through associated profiles of followers. Focusing on three well-known tradwife profiles, this article applies the five dimensions of online persona (Moore, Barbour, and Lee 2017), to unpack the construction of tradwife persona. As the profiles widen their networks to include multiple platforms and expanding lists of followers, they reveal different possible paths that the tradwife persona can take, and how online identities—public, mediatized, performative, collective, and intentional—can contribute to the process of extremist radicalization through their personas alone.
Andelin, H 2020, Fascinating Womanhood: How the Ideal Women Awakens a Man’s Deepest Love and Tenderness, 6th edition, Bantam, New York.
Anderson, B 1991, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Verso.
Austin, JL 1975, How To Do Things With Words: The William James Lectures delivered at Harvard University in 1955 Oxford, Online edition, Oxford Academic, <https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198245537.001.0001.>
Ayla Stewart Explains: Welcome Refugees?? I Blame Feminism, This Is Why, 2015, Ayla Wife, 14 September, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTp1Pq6koQs.>
Bhopal, K 2020, ‘Confronting White Privilege: The Importance of Intersectionality in the Sociology of Education.’, British Journal of Sociology of Education, vol. 41, no. 6, pp. 807–16, <https://doi.org/10.1080/01425692.2020.1755224.>
boyd, d 2014, It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, USA.
Being a #TradWife With Alena Kate Pettitt #14 | The Female Health Coach Podcast, 2021, video, Brandman, J, 15 July, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DUcZG6C3iY.>
Butler, J 1990, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Routledge, New York.
Certeau, M de 1984, The Practice of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven Rendall. University of California Press.
Christou, M 2020, ‘#TradWives: Sexism as Gateway to White Supremacy’, CARR—Center for Analysis of the Radical Right, blog, 23 March, retrieved 24 August 2022, <https://www.radicalrightanalysis.com/2020/03/23/tradwives-sexism-as-gateway-to-white-supremacy/.>
Collins, PH 2008, Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment, Routledge, New York.
Crenshaw, K 1991, ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color’, Stanford Law Review, vol. 43, no. 6, pp. 1241–99, <https://doi.org/10.2307/1229039.>
Ferguson, ML 2010, ‘Choice Feminism and the Fear of Politics’, Perspectives on Politics, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 247–53, <https://doi.org/10.1017/S1537592709992830.>
Freeman, H 2020, ‘“Tradwives”: The New Trend for Submissive Women Has a Dark Heart and History”, The Guardian, 27 January, retrieved 2 September 2022, <https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2020/jan/27/tradwives-new-trend-submissive-women-dark-heart-history.>
Friedan, B 1963 The Femine Mystique. Norton.
Gaztambide-Fernández, R & Angod, L 2019, ‘Approximating Whiteness: Race, Class, and Empire in the Making of Modern Elite/White Subjects’, Educational Theory, vol. 69, no. 6, pp. 719–43, <https://doi.org/10.1111/edth.12397.>
Goffman, E 1959, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Anchor, Garden City, N.Y.
Google Trends 2022, ‘tradwife’, Google Trends, retrieved 12 September 2022, <https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=tradwife.>
Habermas, J 1991, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry Into a Category of Bourgeois Society, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Higginbotham, EB 1992, ‘African-American Women’s History and the Metalanguage of Race’, Signs, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 251–74 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3174464.>
Hobsbawm, E 1992, The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge University Press.
hooks, b 1981, Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism, South End Press.
Huber, C 2019, ‘20 ‘Things’ I Recommend’, Mrs. Midwest, blog, 5 July, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.mrsmidwest.com/post/20-things-i-recommend.>
— 2020, ‘ABOUT | .Mrs. Midwest’, Mrs. Midwest, blog, retrieved 5 September 2022, <https://www.mrsmidwest.com/about.>
— 2022, “Mrs Midwest - YouTube.” 2022. <https://www.youtube.com/c/MrsMidwest/videos?view=0&sort=p&flow=grid.>
Hutchby, I 2001, ‘Technologies, Texts and Affordances’, Sociology, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 441–56, <https://doi.org/10.1177/S0038038501000219.>
Kelly, A 2018, ‘The Housewives of White Supremacy’, The New York Times, 1 June, Opinion, <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/01/opinion/sunday/tradwives-women-alt-right.html.>
Kitty_Burglar 2020, ‘How Do They Not Understand That Mrs. Midwest Is Baiting Them!?’ r/FundieSnarkUncensored, Reddit Post, 15 December, retrieved 12 September 2022,
Kosoff, M 2021, ‘Help, I’m Obsessed With Trad Wife Influencers!’ Medium, blog, 22 January, retrieved 27 December 2022, <https://kosoff.medium.com/help-im-obsessed-with-trad-wife-influencers-75286510ac31.>
Lang, S 2022, ‘The Rise of the TradWife - Inside the Growing Movement’, Capsule NZ, 19 November 19, retrieved 27 December 2022 <https://capsulenz.com/be/tradwife/.>
Lorde, A 2007, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Reprint edition. Crossing Press, Berkeley, California.
Marshall, PD & Barbour, K 2015, ‘Making Intellectual Room for Persona Studies: A New Consciousness and a Shifted Perspective’, Persona Studies, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 1-12, <https://doi.org/10.21153/ps2015vol1no1art464.>
Mattheis, A 2021, ‘#TradCulture: Reproducing Whiteness and Neo-Fascism through Gendered Discourse Online’, in S Hunter & C van der Westhuizen (eds), Routledge Handbook of Critical Studies in Whiteness, Routledge, pp. 91–101.
McRae, S 2017, ‘“Get Off My Internets”: How Anti-Fans Deconstruct Lifestyle Bloggers’ Authenticity Work.’ Persona Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 13–27, <https://doi.org/10.21153/ps2017vol3no1art640.>
Milkman, R 2016, On Gender, Labor, and Inequality. University of Illinois Press, Urbana.
Moon, DG & Holling, MA 2020, ‘“White Supremacy in Heels”: (White) Feminism, White Supremacy, and Discursive Violence’, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 253–60, <https://doi.org/10.1080/14791420.2020.1770819.>
Moore, C, Barbour, K & Lee, K 2017, ‘Five Dimensions of Online Persona’, Persona Studies, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1–12, <https://doi.org/10.21153/ps2017vol3no1art658>
Marshall, PD, Moore, C & Barbour, K 2020, Persona Studies: An Introduction. Wiley Blackwell, Hoboken, NJ.
Morgan, J 2020, ‘Inside The World Of The Real #TradWives Of The UK’, 27 January, retrieved 27 December 2022, <https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/tradwife-movement-uk.>
I’m a Mum of 2 Now! || Chatting on Life Lately & The Future of My Channel, 2022, video, Mrs. Midwest, 8 February, retrieved 14 September 2022, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Avxxpr9gz7c.>
Nicholas, S 2020, ‘How Tradwives Sacrifice Their Own Careers to Satisfy Their Husbands’, Mail Online, 24 January, 12 September2022 , <https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7926581/How-Tradwives-sacrifice-careers-satisfy-husbands-whim.html>
Occidental Sovereignty, 2018, Ayla Wife, 8 March, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d__moP0a2Qs.>
Pettitt, AK 2022a, ‘The Darling Academy • Home of the Traditional Housewife • #tradwife’, The Darling Academy Etiquette Books, retrieved 4 September2022, <https://www.thedarlingacademy.com>
— 2022b, ‘The Darling Academy with Alena Kate Pettitt - YouTube.” 2022. <https://www.youtube.com/c/TheDarlingAcademy/videos>
Radio 3Fourteen 2018, Is A Traditional Housewife The Ideal Woman? 27 February, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://redice.tv/radio-3fourteen/is-a-traditional-housewife-the-ideal-woman>
— 2022, ‘Radio 3Fourteen | Ayla,’ retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://redice.tv/search?s=ayla.>
Rottenberg, C & Orgad, S 2020, ‘Tradwives: The Women Looking for a Simpler Past but Grounded in the Neoliberal Present’, The Conversation, 7 February, retrieved 2 September 2022, <http://theconversation.com/tradwives-the-women-looking-for-a-simpler-past-but-grounded-in-the-neoliberal-present-130968.>
Shahar, S 2003, The Fourth Estate: A History of Women in the Middle Ages, 2nd edition, Routledge, London, New York.
Sitler-Elbel, FH 2021, ‘From Swiffers to Swastikas: How the #tradwife Movement of Conventional Gender Roles Became Synonymous with White Supremacy’, Thesis, Division of Social Sciences, Annadale-on-Hudson, New York: Bard College. <https://digitalcommons.bard.edu/senproj_s2021/131.>
SPLC 2022, ‘Stefan Molyneux’, Southern Poverty Law Center, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/individual/stefan-molyneux.>
Stewart, A 2015, ‘Hi, new member here’, adorableayla, Stormfront.org, 6 November, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t1129159/.>
— 2017. Wife with a Purpose (@APURPOSEFULWlFE). Twitter. Retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://twitter.com/APURPOSEFULWlFE.>
— 2018, ‘About Ayla Stewart and Wife With A Purpose – Wife With A Purpose’, 22 October, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://web.archive.org/web/20181022072420/https://wifewithapurpose.com/about/.>
— 2019a, ‘Wifewithapurpose | Home’, retrieved 5 September 2022, <http://wifewithapurpose.com/.>
— 2019b, ‘Wifewithapurpose | Old Website’, retrieved 5 September 2022, <http://wifewithapurpose.com/Old-Website/.>
— 2019c, ‘A Wife’s Purpose: 2019 Update’, A Wife’s Purpose, blog, September 18, 2019, retrieved 5 September 2022, <http://awifespurpose.blogspot.com/2019/09/update.html.>
Stormfront, 2015, ‘Pro-White Woman On Youtube Gives Her Take On Muslim Migrants – Stormfront’, Stormfront.Org. 14 September, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.stormfront.org/forum/t1120729/.>
Submitting to My Husband like It’s 1959’: Why I Became a TradWife, 2020, video, BBC Stories, 17 January, ‘BBC Stories. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwT-zYo4-OM>.
Warner, M 2002, ‘Publics and Counterpublics’, Public Culture, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 49–90, <https://doi.org/10.1215/08992363-14-1-49.>
Western Aesthetics 2021, ‘What Is Traditionalism? – Western Aesthetics’, 4 November, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.westernaesthetics.org/what-is-traditionalism/.>
worth_fighting_for 2021, ‘Remember your heritage!’, Traditional Aesthetics (@worth__fighting__for), Instagram, 15 May 202, retrieved 11 September 2022, <https://www.instagram.com/p/CO5N_-xtvT9/.>
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2023 Devin Proctor
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.