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Vice belatedly joins liberal media in denouncing 'Tradwife' trend in which young women embrace monogamy, motherhood, and homemaking
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Vice belatedly joins liberal media in denouncing 'Tradwife' trend in which young women embrace monogamy, motherhood, and homemaking

Although leftists now strain to define what a woman is, they nevertheless appear confident detailing what behaviors biological females with two X chromosomes should avoid in this day and age.

Among the lifestyles dogmatists in the liberal media have determined is unacceptable is that of the homemaker or "traditional wife" — she who regards monogamy, motherhood, and homemaking as personally enriching and civilization-stabilizing goods, not backward constrictions of a bygone era.

Vice has joined the Guardian, NBC's "Today," CNN, and other liberal outfits in denouncing the "tradwife" trend, amplifying the claims of so-called experts that the multiracial pursuit of stronger families and sexual complementarity "has sinister connections with right-wing extremism" and racism.

Tradwife backgrounder

There is a growing subculture to which many young women now belong called "tradwives."

While some adherents glamorize and glorify feminine aesthetics and pop culture idealizations of post-World War II nuclear families, the movement — greatly amplified on TikTok and on other social media platforms in recent months — largely consists of individual efforts to reassert matriarchal dominion over the domestic realm.

In an article in the Guardian subtitled, "The new trend for submissive women has a dark heart and history," columnist Hadley Freeman sardonically suggested the movement was "as seismic as the New Look was in '40s fashion, or the emergence of Mediterranean cooking in '90s Britain," adding that tradwives should "tone it down a notch."

Freeman claimed that "a 'tradwife' is a woman who doesn’t work so as to look after their children, their husband, their home and then talk non-stop about how great this is on social media," intimating that domestic labor doesn't register as real work.

According to CNN's "culture writer" Harmeet Kaur, the young women who have chosen this lifestyle long denigrated in the media "sneer at what they consider to be modern-day feminism, with its girlbosses and its ungratifying grind, and wax lyrical about the value of traditional gender roles ... sometimes evoking fundamentalist Christian principles in their beliefs."

"As tradwives showcase their idyllic, domesticated lives on social media, implicit is the message that today’s women and girls are being 'red pilled' by the feminist movements that promise to liberate them – and that true security and fulfillment can be achieved by reverting to certain norms of the past," added Kaur.

Estee Williams is among the proponents of this trend. Williams, a popular 25-year-old TikTok creator, told NBC's "Today," "It's 2023 and this is my choice."

While in Williams' case, there appears to be a strong fashion component, this lifestyle decision is not economical or material but rather philosophical. For Williams, the decision was informed, in part, by memories of growing up in a broken family with a "struggling single mom."

"I saw the stress and burnout and I always knew that I did not want that," said Williams.

Noam Shpancer, a psychology professor at Otterbein University in Ohio, told "Today" that while many adherents are antipathetic to leftism, the Tradwife movement is ideologically diverse, unified chiefly in its pursuit of order amid chaos.

While the movement — and the term "tradwife" — gained steam in 2020, it has been around for years, reported CNN.

Although some tradwives may be deferential on certain issues to their husbands, British author Alena Kate Pettitt indicated that in a no way is the tradwife "considered of lesser importance to him."

Tradwifery advocate Pettitt told the Telegraph that there was "no difference between her service in the household and her husband’s service to her in going out to work — adding that he submitted to her over matters of the home."

Catherine Rottenberg, an associate professor at the University of Nottingham, told CNN, "Precisely at a time when normative gender roles and dominant notions of sexuality have been challenged and in flux – while work life feels overwhelming – these ‘traditional’ values might seem like a refuge."

"Against a world that feels completely out of control, defining strict gender roles might feel empowering for some women," added Rottenberg.

Open society heresy

Vice suggested that the tradwife movement shows signs of having been "co-opted by those with more nefarious aims."

So-called expert Noelle Cook, who has spent much of her recent time looking into female Jan. 6 defendants, told Vice, "The most scary to me is the tradwife groups. ... They are the younger ones, the homesteaders, the self-sufficiency crowd."

Noelle intimated that the use of hashtags like #revoltagainstthemodernworld on Instagram and TikTok alongside #homemaker, #housewife, and #traditionalwife are surefire signs of radicalism.

Despite Williams' insistence that she does not support white supremacy and would never want to be "associated with anything like that," Vice nevertheless tried to insinuate a link between the trad lifestyle and both Italian and German fascists as well as the Unabomber.

Vice is hardly the first publication to insinuate something rotten at the heart of feminine celebrations of hearth and home.

CNN, which described tradwives as "a fringe group," platformed the claim by Annie Kelly, a so-called expert in far-right digital cultures, that the movement is stained by extremism.

"If you’re a White influencer who’s espousing these things, there will be a quite pleasing overlap with how many White supremacists configure gender politics, because it coincides with lots of the alt right theories about what has gone wrong in the West," said Kelly.

Mariel Cooksey, "mentee" at the leftist Institute for Research on Male Supremacism, claimed that "while not all tradwives associate with White supremacist politics — and not all are Christian fundamentalists — the movement offers an elegant solution for women seeking acceptance in White nationalist factions."

Cooksey further suggested that modest outfits, Bible quotations, and aspirations of tradwifery among young women online are signs of radicalization.

These apparent radicals are left "dreaming of a perfect marriage in a culturally conservative world, untouched by queerness, immigration, and progressivism. In these fantasies they are adored homemakers, respected and cared for, financially and emotionally, by traditionally masculine men — men who are wealthy, fertile, handsome, and strong, but also tender, kind, and cognizant of their needs."

First Things editor Rusty Reno noted in an essay that presaged a book entitled "Return of the Strong Gods: Nationalism, Populism, and the Future of the West" that after the Second World War, there was a concerted effort among liberals, libertarians, and others to "disenchant and desacralize public life" in order to produce an open society, with the understanding that doing so would preclude the dark loves they believed to have brought about race-linked nationalism, fascism, and totalitarianism.

To achieve this end, they sought by way of policy and propaganda to water down these dark loves. However, in so doing (e.g., as in the case of the so-called sexual revolution), Reno suggested they also watered down the strong loves that hold Western civilization together, such as family.

Reno suggested that populist movements in recent years have been a reaction to the postwar generation's successful efforts at generating an open society full of atomized and listless people.

"The disenchantment and weakening that define the postwar era liberate the talented and powerful to move fluidly through an increasingly global system," wrote Reno. "But ordinary people end up unmoored, adrift, and abandoned, so much so that they are fueling an anti-establishment rebellion that demands the return of something solid, trustworthy, and enduring."

Jordan B. Cooper, an adjunct professor of systematic theology at Cornell University, suggested that the traditional wife movement is a response to a comparable form of disenchantment experienced by young men who "feel very worthless ... like they can't contribute anything. They're confused about who they are. They're confused about what their place in the world is. They're confused about exactly how they offer something valuable to the world."

Among the institutions and things Reno suggested may serve as a stabilizing force amid this populist upheaval will be marriage: "The covenant of marriage anchors ordinary lives in something transcendent. It serves as our most intimate and reliable experience of 'home,' and thus provides us with the metaphysical ballast needed to endure the greater fluidity, heterogeneity, and change in modern civic life governed by the social norms we rightly seek to protect and preserve."

While Vice and other publications may regard tradwifery as a Trojan horse for extremism, if Reno is right, it could very well be a defense against it.

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Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon

Joseph MacKinnon is a staff writer for Blaze News.
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