What is a tradwife? Viral TikTok trend explained

Alice Sjöberg
TikTok trad wives

TikTok’s latest “tradwife” and “stay-at-home girlfriend” trends show a lifestyle focused on what are considered to be traditional gender roles.

The tradwife trend has been present on social media for a few years, but it recently went viral after popular tradwife and TikToker Lilly Gaddis faced backlash after using a racial slur in one of her videos and then refusing to apologize.

This made Gaddis lose her TikTok account, and it’s had a negative impact on the views of TikTok tradwives. But what exactly is a tradwife?

What is the tradwife trend on TikTok?

Tradwives are women who value homemaking as a skill and lean into traditional gender roles, often by being subservient to their partners.

Over the last year, social media has seen the “tradwife trend” take off, amplifying their lifestyle as one that uplifts traditional gender roles and makes the home the woman’s domain.

There are different brands of tradwives on social media — some wear modest clothes and grow their own food, while others wear modern clothes and have perfectly set makeup.

A few popular tradwife influencers are Nara Smith, who has 7.6 million followers on the platform and often gets millions of views on her videos, and Estee Williams, who might not have as many followers, but often goes viral for her tradwife videos.

Despite all tradwifes being different, with some being more modern and some idealising the 1950s housewife, what they have in common is preaching idealized lives as “tradwifes” or stay-at-home girlfriends who are in charge of making their homes beautiful and keeping their children fed.

But why are people so interested in watching tradwifes sharing glimpses into their lives?

“The thing about tradwives is that it feels very different; it is an escape from a lot of people’s reality,” social media trend forecaster Casey Lewis told CNBC.

While many people enjoy watching the videos of tradwives doing their everyday home chores, the trend has also been a target for parody videos as well as called out for how toxic it can be.

TikToker lifetaketwo has grown her following by talking about life as an ex-tradwife and how it always looked better from the outside.

“My life was miserable,” she told Teen Vogue. “It looked so good on the outside. [But] for me, living it, every day I would struggle. A lot of my life was really lonely.”

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