Is the term 'Tradwife' useful? - A reaction to Stacey Dooley 'Tradwife' Documentary

This week I watched the Stacey Dooley documentary about the 'Tradwife' movement.

I found it so interesting but at the same time, me and my partner were arguing a little with the TV at the portrayal of some of these women.

Stacey Dooley is a self proclaimed feminist and very passionate about womens rights. I felt she went into the documentary with a preconceived idea of tradwifes that they are oppressed and maybe struggled not to let that show.

At one point she indicated that one of the ladies was "brainwashed" - I find that absolutely insane. Yes, of course the lady was brainwashed... by the love of her children. Surely everyone knows that when you have children your whole world changes and you may want to stay home even if that was never in your life plan? We can't judge women for making that choice and by suggesting that every women that stays at home is brainwashed is absurd. It takes choice away from women and makes us feel judged for our life choices which is the exact opposite of what feminism should be about.

Anyway, I digress...

One of the first things I thought before watching the documentary was - isn't it really sad that this is even a topic for a TV documentary? It really isn't that mind blowing that some ladies want to stay at home and be a wife and mother over anything else.

So that got me thinking, is it because the term 'tradwife' attracts attention and makes these life choice appear more like a "cult-style" approach to life rather than just a normal and natural preference to living?

I've heard some great arguments for the use of the tradwife name - one being, it allows ladies who feel this way to use a tag name in order to unite and feel less alone in their world views. However, I can't help but feel it allows the media to sensationalise the views and make it seem like a fetish / crazy cult-like way of living.

I also feel like it allows topics that have nothing to do with women staying home to seep into the 'tradwife' space and allow it to be associated with those things too. This was shown in the documentary where topics were discussed that had no real relevance to the tradwife movement such as the harsh discipline of children, private details of couples sex life, homeschooling and even views on feminism. I'm sure every 'tradwife' has different views on this, just as most modern women do so it shouldn't be portrayed as part of the lifestyle.

I just feel it isn't that big of a deal that some women don't work for a company and work within the family instead. It really isn't news-worthy. So naturally, when media picks it up as a topic they have to embellish, twist and add little bits to the dynamic to get peoples interest. Hence, why those extra topics were added into the mix.

This is damaging for ladies who want to stay home and resonate a lot with the 'tradwife' movement but don't want to be associated with the extra topics.

I personally resonate a lot with a lot of the values of the tradwife movement but I wouldn't call myself one just because I don't believe in labelling yourself. Right now, I want to be a housewife and mother one day ... but I have no idea what is going to happen in my life and how I'm going to feel in the future. So, by labelling myself I could be setting myself up for a future crisis of identity.

So, in conclusion of this thought dump blog post....

I think the use of the word 'tradwife' can be damaging in the medias hands and I think we should avoid putting labels on ourselves to make sure we keep our freedom.

At the same time, I'm not against it and I think it does have a lot of benefits in uniting and making ladies who have these views feel they have friends who feel the same rather than just the whole world who is seemingly against them and saying they are oppressed.

I'm glad at the end of the documentary, Stacey did almost soften towards this movement and explain exactly what I've just done which is that it is about choice. I was a bit relieved actually because I really like Stacey (she did a fabulous documentary about mental health that was really powerful)!

That being said, I do think this is a tactic often used by the media where they portray a lifestyle as a certain extreme way, and then at the last minute they retract it and say it's about choice and they aren't judging etc. It's almost the same as lawyers do in the courtroom, they put an idea in the jurys head knowing their statement will be objected to and they will have to retract it, but it still stays in the jurys mind.

So, what do you think? Should ladies who feel this way keep using the term tradwife because of the personal benefits and just ignore the media? Or does it do more harm than good in terms of portraying the choices as extreme?

I genuinely can't make my mind up - too many thoughts!

I'm off for a cuppa tea now, have a lovely weekend everyone.

Hattie x

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