The “mom-osphere”—a collection of parenting, relationship, cooking, and crafting blogs and social media—saw exponential growth during the years of pandemic and social distancing. Smuggled within this genre arose a new domestic online persona: the “Tradwife.” Often framed within a pastoral, back-to-nature, homesteading aesthetic (#cottagecore), these #tradwives write blogs and social media posts that promote “traditional” gender roles and family life (#tradlife), wherein the man provides for and protects the family, and the woman has children and takes care of the needs of the family.
The men and women involved in the promotion of these hashtags embody them through purportedly traditional and wholesome yet independent and democratic personas: 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 tradlife/wife identity often goes 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., #whitelivesmatter, #14words), or associated memes like Pepe the frog.
Through online ethnographic and archival study, this research follows users, platforms, and groups that embody and support the tradwife persona, noting changes as users and hashtags move into other contexts and platforms such as Twitter (large general audience, less content), Gab (more extreme content, large alt-right audience), and personal blogs (heavy on content, small niche audience), and asks: how do these online identities—public, mediatized, performative, collective, and intentional—contribute to the process of extremist radicalization through their personas alone?
So far, he research has led to a conference presentation, a workshop, and the article: The #Tradwife Persona and the Rise of Radicalized White Domesticity.
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