Millennials and Gen Zs were raised to believe that hard work would bring success and stability, says Rachel O’Dwyer in UnHerd. But with the volatile 21st-century economy proving that to be false, some women are choosing to “retreat to a time when things felt more secure: the Fifties”. TikTok influencer “Gwen the Milkmaid” is a self-proclaimed “trad wife”, who stays at home to let her man make all the money. “I don’t want to be a boss babe. I want to be a frolicking mama,” she writes in the caption to a video of her “frying up all-American comfort food”. In another, she “smiles beatifically” at her nearly 50,000 followers as she lovingly bakes a fresh sourdough loaf.
There are “stay-at-home girlfriends”, too, who don’t even have the domestic work of motherhood to contend with. Kendel Kay, who has more than 500,000 followers on TikTok, takes viewers through her typical day: yoga in tight-fitting gym kit, followed by “various forms of superior hydration”, including iced waters, green smoothies, and matcha teas, and “inconsequential” jobs like refilling ice trays and lighting candles. Of course, these influencers may advocate financial dependence, but they are really hustling themselves: Kay, for example, advertises a green juice brand. Still, watching these videos amid my own frantic routine, balancing school drop-offs with work meetings, is strangely soothing. “I understand that I am being sold a lie, but I don’t want to think. I want to vibe.”