A Quick Guide to the Tradwives Making Every Meal From Scratch & Getting Millions of Views

Let’s meet the major players at the helm of a disturbing online trend that has young women questioning whether feminism was worth the supposedly blissful life of taking four hours to make a PB&J.

A Quick Guide to the Tradwives Making Every Meal From Scratch & Getting Millions of Views

The For You Page is a new bi-weekly column by Alise Morales that will explore, inspect, traverse, sift through, and dive into internet culture. 

In case you haven’t heard, the 1950s are back–at least in some corners of TikTok. Much has been made of the rise of “tradwives” in recent years, which has been categorized as everything from a right-wing backlash to modern feminism to an innocent expression of so-called “traditional” homemaking skills. But the trend is pedaled primarily by perfectly-coiffed young housewives who spend their days making PB&Js from scratch and extolling the virtues of “traditional” womanhood. Sporting aprons, full skirts, and the occasional marabou robe, tradwife influencers offer their followers a look at the life they say modern feminism stole from us with its jobs, birth control, and no-fault divorces—though I have a sneaking suspicion they don’t mind the whole “being allowed to have a credit card in your own name” thing. 

The movement emerged—as so many right-wing movements do—from Reddit about six years ago but really started cooking in the algorithm in 2020. This was partly thanks to a woman named Alena Kate Pettit, a British influencer whose book, Ladies Like Us, and website, The Darling Academy, have become the Tradwife Bible. Petit was one of the first influencers to identify as a “tradwife” and to make idolization of the 1950s housewife the cornerstone of her online brand. According to Petit, she felt stifled by modern feminism and her life as a woman working in marketing, which she said led to exhaustion and issues in her marriage. As her story goes, once she gave all that up to be a housewife–including “submitting” to her husband as head of the house–her troubles melted away. Pettit left Instagram in March of 2023, citing “the vile messages, the hatred, [and] the passive aggressive comments” she received on her tradwife content as the reason for her departure. Now a newer, younger crop of tradwives have stepped up to take her apron. 

While only one of the influencers on this list publicly identifies as a tradwife (and another might be subtly making fun of them all), they’re all at the helm of a disturbing online trend—which has young women questioning whether or not the gains of feminism were worth the supposedly blissful life of floral dresses and baking that women “gave up” to achieve it. Let’s meet the major players so you know exactly what you’re seeing when their smiling faces inevitably make their way into your feed. 

Estee Williams: 179,000 Followers

Screenshot: TikTok

If anyone can be said to have brought the tradwife trend to TikTok, it’s 26-year-old Estee Williams, whose de-sexed Marilyn Monroe aesthetic has become synonymous with the tradwife image. Estee lives in Virginia with her husband and regularly reminds viewers she’s subservient to him. According to Estee, these “ultra-traditional” gender roles make her husband “the provider, the breadwinner,” while she stays at home, keeps house, and perhaps most importantly, maintains her beauty regimen because “men are designed to be visual and it’s a beautiful thing to embrace that as a wife.” Williams is probably most famous for her bleach blonde locks, closet full of 1950s-style dresses, and direct-to-camera videos laying out the tradwife ethos.

Estee’s talking head style videos and overt alignment with the term “tradwife” sets her apart from the others on this list, who tend to prefer a more manicured “day-in-the-life” style video. Where Estee posts videos with titles like “Biblically Submissive Wives” and “The West Aims To Devalue Tradwives,” the others exclude their personal views from their posts, with the “tradwife” being more implied. But despite this slight deviation from the norm, anyone looking for a crash course in tradwife pathology should start on Estee’s page. As I explored her page, I found myself on an emotional rollercoaster, sometimes finding myself sympathetic to Williams’ categorization as simply a housewife who wants to share her life with others who are interested in a similar lifestyle, and sometimes being horrified at the potential impact videos like “My Advice For High School Girls Who Aspire To Be A Traditional Wife” could have on the impressionable teens of TikTok. 

Hannah Neeleman aka Ballerina Farm: 6.9 million Followers

Photo: TikTok @ballerinafarm

At the intersection of tradwifery and the homesteader movement lives Hannah Neeleman, aka Ballerina Farm. Neeleman’s lore is the stuff of tradwife legend: a former Julliard-trained ballerina, she eschewed her New York City life and moved to Utah (yes, she’s Mormon), where she now lives with her husband and eight children in pastoral bliss. If her page is to be believed, Neeleman spends her day making sourdough in her vintage kitchen, tending to the family farm, and competing in beauty pageants (most recently just 10 weeks after giving birth). Neeleman has amassed a massive following on TikTok, where viewers gobble up her videos as ravenously as her children gobble up her from-scratch grilled cheese. 

But it’s not all gingham and sourdough starter for Neeleman. On TikTok, Ballerina Farm has been the subject of increased controversy after it was revealed that her husband is, in fact, the son of airline entrepreneur David Neeleman and has a networth of roughly $400 million. As many on TikTok have already pointed out, it’s a lot easier to be a stay-at-home mom with eight kids and a farm when you’ve got a couple hundred ‘mil in the bank. 

Nara Smith: 5 Million Followers

Photo: TikTok

Perhaps the most discourse-inducing tradwife of all is Nara Smith, another twenty-something Mormon housewife and purveyor of from-scratch cooking. Nara is the wife of model Lucky Blue Smith and mother to two (soon to be three) children, Rumble Honey Smith and Slim Easy Smith. Nara has made waves in the tradwife space as its only prominent woman of color and for popularizing what is now considered the quintessential tradwife video formula. Her videos typically begin with her informing us that her children requested some stereotypical children’s food, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which she then gets started “right away” making wholly from scratch. In perfect lighting, a full beat, and a black marabou robe that perfectly emphasizes her growing pregnant belly, Nara walks us through the hours-long process of making one of the world’s most easily attainable sandwiches.

With their spotless kitchen, quirky names, and perfectly symmetrical faces, the Smiths have become the standard for Mormon tradwifery and her videos regularly make the jump from TikTok to Twitter, sparking endless debates about her (never explicitly stated) politics, lifestyle, and the efficacy of making a toddler wait 3 hours for a PB&J. 

Alexia Delarosa aka “Weird Neck Lady”: 363,000 Followers

Photo: TikTok @lex.delarosa

And now we come to the curious case of Alexia Delarosa, sometimes known as “Weird Neck Lady,” whose serene smile and strangely elongated neck have set off their own round of fierce debate in comment sections far and wide as to whether or not her videos are “real” or satire. 

@lex.delarosa pov: you’re too lazy to go to the store to buy paper #sahm #ditl #homemaker #homemaking #makingpaper #momsoftoktok ♬ original sound – Alexia

On the one hand, Delarosa’s videos are so over-the-top that it’s hard to imagine they are anything but a pitch-perfect impression of the “from scratch” tradwife videos popularized by Smith and Ballerina Farm. On the other hand, Delarosa is actually a stay-at-home mom with a wardrobe full of floral dresses and satin bows who really can make—and does!—a lot of stuff from scratch.

When directly asked about her tradwife status—both on the Tamron Hall show and on Jo Piazza’s Under the Influence Podcast—Delarosa has been somewhat elusive. While she’s clarified that she doesn’t identify with the term “tradwife” for herself, she doesn’t condemn it either, telling Piazza her trademark smile-and-long-neck combo came from a genuine frustration over how people responded to her “very mild and wholesome content.” So it doesn’t really seem like she’s trying to wink at viewers that her videos are merely a subtle rebuke of the #tradlyf.

“If I’m having my normal resting face people say I look miserable, if I’m smiling people say that looks weird, so I just do what I think is going to look nice,” she told Piazza. In fact, the only people Delarosa will concede to be making fun of are her haters, which she says led to videos like this one, in which she makes an enormous cake to celebrate her child’s “42nd month” birthday:

@lex.delarosa he’ll be 48 months old before i know it 😭 #homemaker #homemaking #momsoftiktok #sahm #birthday #birthdaycake #toddlerbirthday ♬ Do You Believe in Magic – The Lovin’ Spoonful

Or this one where she reminds the haters who they’re really being mean to with a homemade “burnaway cake” (something I’d never heard of until just now): 

@lex.delarosa a gentle reminder 🎀✨💕🌼 #burnawaycake #homemaker #homemaking #romanticaesthetic #cake ♬ som original – erick ୨ৎ

Regardless of the actual target of Delarosa’s videos, this writer will concede that she finds them pretty funny. 

And there you have it, a non-exhaustive list of some of the tradwife movement’s most blemish-less, symmetrical, and always-smiling faces. After watching so many of these videos myself, it was hard not to see the appeal of what the tradwives are selling. The smooth voiceovers, calming background music, and aesthetically pleasing kitchens are intoxicating to watch, subtly selling the viewer a dream life where all your worries are taken care of by an off-screen male protector. It’s almost enough to make you forget that the dream they’re selling is actually a nightmare our ancestors ran screaming from less than 100 years ago.

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