Embracing the Paradox: The Unique Freedom of Tradwife Tiktok

A willowy blonde woman works in a rustic bedroom. Her gathered hair drapes over her shoulder, long enough to touch her pregnant stomach. She paces with contractions, her hands on her lower back. She smiles and remains calm despite having given birth before, while her other six children come in and out of the room. The video shows her naked in a bathtub with the water turning pink. Her final push is visible, and the newborn’s first cry echoes in the room. She lies back, visibly fatigued but triumphant. A man is also present in the background, though he quietly observes. This is a video from Hannah Neeleman, a Mormon who runs the social media account “Ballerina Farm”. It is typical of her content, showing the birth of her children in intimate detail to her millions of followers. Neeleman’s lifestyle is described as tradwife, which represents married women who adhere to traditional gender norms. Although she doesn’t explicitly refer to herself as a tradwife, her content is an ideal example of the subculture. The tradwife community on the internet is diverse, and not all tradwives share the same beliefs. Some are religious, while others appear to embrace tradwife aesthetics without necessarily aligning with the ideology. The common thread that binds tradwives is their opposition to feminist ideals of career and financial independence. The emergence of the tradwife phenomenon can be linked to the digital age, particularly the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Tradwife content surged in popularity as people found themselves spending more time at home due to lockdowns. The tradwife lifestyle speaks to a nostalgic and romanticized ideal of American life, appealing to those seeking a simpler and self-sufficient alternative to modern career-driven ambitions. This viewpoint has faced criticism, with some commentators labeling it as authoritarian and sexist. However, the tradwife community continues to grow and attract followers who are drawn to its anti-establishment essence and idealized portrayal of domestic life.