The TRUTH About The Trad Wife Trend

Nara Smith, Lucky Blue Smith, and daughter Rumble Honey

Matthew Brookes / Oliver Peoples

Imagine this: you marry the man of your dreams. You have two beautiful children with another on the way. You spend your days cooking gorgeous, nutritious meals for your family.... from scratch. You get paid to share your daily life and meals with people around the world. But here’s the catch: half of those people hate you. They accuse you of being anti-feminist, regressive, and promoting a right-wing agenda… Are they right?

For Nara Aziza Smith, model turned stay-at-home mother and wife of Lucky Blue Smith, this is her reality. She and her husband appear to live an idyllic life…At least according to their social media presence. Nara documents the elaborate meals she cooks for her family — making everything from cereal to mozzarella from scratch.

But sharing something as simple as your meals can turn someone from a TikTok sensation into a villain in an instant in this fickle social media landscape. Just ask Emily Mariko and her $100 tote bags. The Nara Smith controversy has begun, and people are calling her a toxic TikTok tradwife.

Who Is Nara Smith?

Nara Smith TikTokNara Smith@NaraAzizaSmith via TikTok

Nada Aziza Smith is a model turned lifestyle influencer known for her cooking videos and marriage to model and Tumblr-era heartthrob, Lucky Blue Smith. Together they have two children (a girl named Rumble Honey Smith and a boy called Slim Easy Smith … yes, really) and another on the way.

@naraazizasmith comment your favorite names! #babynames #babynameideas #babygirl #babyboy #pregnancy ♬ original sound - Nara Smith

Nara began documenting her life, which mostly amounts to cooking for her family it seems, on TikTok and has garnered an obsessed cult of followers. From the intricacies of her dishes to the elaborate outfits and glam she wears to cook them, her life seems both simple and unattainable.

Before she was Lucky Blue Smith’s wife, Nara Smith was a model. Then known as Nara Pellman, she was just cutting her teeth in the industry when she met and married her now-husband. Over the past year, her videos have given her millions of followers across Instagram and TikTok. But even if their story is a fairytale, Nara’s content has become the face of the tradwife trend.

She’s known for making food from scratch — as in, making her own mozzarella and milk — and doing so in a full face of makeup in a gorgeous home with a gorgeous husband. But there’s way more to their story than meets the eye.

Lucky Blue Smith and Nara Smith’s Relationship

@naraazizasmith It’s been a while!🫶🏽 #whatieatinaday #fulldayofeating #husband #coupletok #homecooking #fypシ ♬ original sound - Nara Smith

Fellow model Lucky Blue Smith can never catch a break — his relationships and family life are always making headlines.

Before Lucky Blue Smith and Nara were married, he had a child named Gravity Blue with another model and current girlfriend of Joe Jonas, Stormi Henley. The controversy: they started dating when she was 26 and he was 18. Yikes.

But after being essentially groomed, Lucky found love with Nara. Nara is 22 or 23 (the internet isn’t sure), and Lucky is 25 — which is a less toxic age gap but also kind of scary. Like, she got married at 19/20 and had her first child at 20? In the words of many TikTok users, she should be at the club.

However, some people find this aspirational. And here lies the core of some of the Nara Smith controversy: is there a wrong and right way for a woman to act? Or are there certain pitfalls of youth that TikTok users are begging their younger counterparts not to fall into?

Is Nara Smith Mormon?

@naraazizasmith hi to everyone that‘s new or has been here since the beginning🫶🏽 #grwm #makeup #fypシ #chattygrwm #gettoknowme ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono - moshimo sound design

Another interesting facet of their relationship: the Mormonism. Lucky Blue Smith was raised Mormon in Utah. Therefore, people are asking: Is Nara Smith Mormon, too? The answer: yes! She converted to Mormonism when the pair got married in February 2020.

This adds another layer to the Nara Smith controversy. Mormon mommy bloggers come under fire all the time for the values promoted in their content. Their communities have been called cultish, toxic, and regressive. No surprise that many #TradTok influencers are advocates for TradTok. Their Mormonism isn’t the problem itself … mostly. It’s the correlation between their religion and their prescriptive definitions of gender roles. Specifically, that women should be submissive, servile, and focused on having and rearing children. At least, this is the dominant viewpoint on TikTok.

Beyond their religion, the agency of conservative, regressive values and Mormonism should give viewers pause for concern. At the very least, it should be a reminder that what works best for her life and her belief system might not be aspirational for all of us.

The problem isn’t Nara Smith or any of these other TradTok creators — it’s the ecosystem of influencers who promote a glamorized version of a lifestyle that, in practice for most people, is not just unattainable — but potentially dangerous.

The Problem with this “How to Be a Trad Wife” Content

Some might say there’s no problem with the uptick in TradWife content — and perhaps that could be true in a vacuum. However, things are pretty dire right now. Roe v Wade was overturned, leading to a ripple effect of dangerous policies, ignorant legislation, and disappearing protections for women. Add that to the recession and the fact that it’s harder for female entrepreneurs to make a living, and you get a less glamorous picture of girlhood than Barbie or the TradTok girls have shown you.

In this regressive landscape, the return to traditional values and gender roles has echoes of Trumpism and other conservative ideologies. So it’s no surprise — really — that it’s getting increasingly popular now.

At the heart of the Tradwife trend is a desire most of us can resonate with — not having to worry. It’s also why the Cottagecore and Old Money trends took off the way they did. People want to escape their pedestrian woes and either disappear to some remote farmland somewhere or fly away on a private jet, Succession style — or both.

Instead of juggling tasks and responsibilities, the Tradwife isn’t worried about the bills or working a boring job like the rest of us. According to her, she’s got it all figured out. But by ceding responsibility to some guy, the tradwife also often gives up her agency. Here are just a few of the reasons why the #Tradwife trend is so problematic.

It assumes housework is not work.

When you watch Nara Smith make her decadent dishes from scratch, you see an abbreviated version. What passes in 30 seconds on TikTok is the culmination of hours of cooking that we don’t see. Not to mention the cleaning up, the childcare, the general house maintenance, and family management. These things aren’t the peaceful life free of responsibility that TradTok is showing you. It’s a job. And the people you see on TikTok likely have hired or family help to make it all happen, and keep the house clean.

The cost of living crisis means most couples can’t live on a single salary

If you want to sell your soul for a traditional life, you have to do so with someone who can afford to support you and themselves. And, like many creators, some kids, too. To be able to support a full family and the assistance mentioned above, you would need a partner who makes a lot of money — and those are few and far between. Even so-called stable and lucrative jobs like tech and finance have been vanishing by the minute.

Plus, statistically, people are most likely to marry someone in their social class. That means that the men who can afford to support these lifestyles will likely end up with women who have money themselves, too. And if these are many of the women on TradTok, then you shouldn’t compare your lives to theirs. You’ll find yourself very disappointed.

It often leaves women with no security or safety net

Whether women come into these relationships with or without money of their own, the most dangerous facet of the TradWife trend is how it advocates women to control their money. Which is to say, it encourages women to give up control of their money. However, this is catastrophic for women who entrust a partner who mismanages their money or divorces them and leaves them without any resources. However you decide to treat your finances in your relationship, one person should not have complete visibility over them. You should know what’s going on in your bank accounts, and have a safety net set aside if nothing else.

The Tradwife vs Feminist Discourse

Of course, whenever you raise these concerns on TradTok, the comments will crucify you for being a bad feminist or elitist. “Not everyone wants to be a girlboss,” they say. And for Generation Z, that’s certainly true. While Millenials were raised with inflated expectations of themselves and the world around them, Gen Z inherited a very bleak career landscape. While many Millenials came of age during the 2009 financial crisis, shattering their lofty dreams, Gen Z started entering the workforce during the pandemic.

Now, Gen Z is more likely to have a side hustle or freelance to earn additional income. Yet, most of them do not feel hopeful about their financial future. This is because they are not going above and beyond for the sake of girlbossing — not for the most part, anyway. But rather, it’s become so hard to just get by that Gen Z have to supplement their own income just to survive.

Burnt out in their early twenties, of course this is a generation that dreams of lounging around the house with no responsibility. Of course, we never want to look at a bill again. But the TradTok solution of signing your life away to a man helps no one — not even yourself in the long run.

TradTok advocates say that real feminism is about letting women have choices — and say that if they do choose, women can choose to be traditional. While this is true, the type of lifestyle they advocate for strips women of their agency, which is the real cornerstone of feminism.

If women want to stay at home, bake like Nara Smith, perform housework, and do other non-career-related paths, let them eat cake! However, they should only do so if they have the security to plan for their future and financial visibility.

So yes, I’ll keep watching Nara Smith’s TikToks. But I do so hoping she has her own bank account. And I don’t wish I was her — if anything, I wish I was those kids!

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