What Is a Trad Wife? The Culture Is Trending on TikTok

“At bottom, trad-wife culture has implicitly or explicitly in it a distrust of the modern social order,” says historian Kathleen Belew.

Brandon Charles - Author

Apr. 22 2024, Published 11:13 a.m. ET

A trad wife holding a duster
Source: Getty Images

The idea of a traditional wife is nothing new. But the way the term is becoming more well known is. Short for traditional wives, trad wives are stay-at-home moms, housewives, and brides-to-be who are typically subservient to their husbands.

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The trend has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise of TikTok, and like any trend, there are influencers. While not all tradwives look the same, most of the influencers tend to be white, blonde, and in their 20s and 30s.

A 1950s housewife vacuuming
Source: Getty Images
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The current trad wives are striving for a time that didn't exist.

On March 29, 2024, The New Yorker ran the piece, “The Rise and Fall of the Trad Wife.” The piece traces the history of the past few years of the trend but the main takeaway may come from historian Kathleen Belew. “At bottom, trad-wife culture has implicitly or explicitly in it a distrust of the modern social order.” The trend isn’t so much about making anything great again, it’s more of a pushback on progress.

A July 14, 2023, piece in USA Today, “What is a 'trad wife'? These controversial women are drawing attention — and opinions,” also acknowledges the trend's false premise. Journalist and author Jo Piazza said, "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.”

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A woman dressed up as a more old school traditional housewife
Source: Getty Images

On Jan. 28, 2024, on NPR ran “'Trad wives' are trending. What does that say about feminism today?” The Cut Columnist Kathryn Jezer-Morton said. “The subtext — is that someone is providing for you financially, and you're in charge of the home. I think that the fact that it makes everything look beautiful might be really the most kind of frustrating and confusing thing about this content because those of us who have done a lot of caregiving know that, like, it's not pretty most of the time.”

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If you’d like to follow some tradwives, who aren't actually traditional, there are quite a few popular options.

Source: TikTok @esteecwilliams

The tradwife you probably see most often looks exactly what you think a tradwife might look like. Estee Williams has 120K followers on Instagram and 189.3K TikTok.

Source: Instagram @ballerinafarm

The tradwife who might actually make the most money from this trend is Hannah Neeleman. The winner of Mrs. American 2023 is the mother of eight, a former Juilliard ballerina, and the reason why her family's farm is named "Ballerina Farm." With 8.9 million Instagram followers, 7 million TikTok followers, and 1.44 million YouTube followers, she has figured out a way to increase the sales for products her family produces.

Source: @jasminedinis

Not every tradwife is American. Jasmine Dinis consistently brings her belief system into her social media posts targeted to get her 147K followers on Instagram and 52.4K on TikTok to click through her affiliate links and to encourage her flock to buy a book on how to grow an Instagram account.

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