I Don’t Feel Sorry For Trad Wives

They’re masterfully building their brand and aesthetic

Jae L

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Photo by Lance Reis on Unsplash

My writing on this platform typically involves deep introspection as I excavate parts of my life previously unexposed to light.

But now and again I’m inspired to write about something that has nothing to do with me or my life. I’m drawn not by the yearning to empty my soul but the appeal of simply playing with an idea.

It was in this spirt of fun that I read about 24-year-old Kelsey who considers herself a “trad woman.”

Note that she’s not yet identifying as a “trad wife” because that particular milestone hasn’t happened to her yet. It lives in the realm of the hypothetical. There’s not a lot that’s real about it.

She’s not so much building a life as building a brand based on a stylised 1950s aesthetic.

Nostalgia and role-playing can be fun

When I was Kelsey’s age, I lived down the road from a couple who liked to dress up in the 1950s Rockabilly style, her with her swirly skirts and him with his slicked-back Elvis hair.

At first, I envied the romance and magic they had managed to import into their everyday lives. Then I realised I couldn’t be bothered. After all, it was the era of grunge and there was more cred to be gained from dressing down than up before leaving the house.

I had no idea what went on behind the couple’s front door or the dynamics of their relationship. Perhaps they role-played a 1950s couple, mimicking the social mores of the time. Or perhaps they were just swept up in the aesthetics and counter-cultural appeal of a by-gone era.

Even if they were acting out traditional roles, does that necessarily make it more than an aesthetic choice? Does it say anything about where the power lies in the relationship and how it’s negotiated between them?

It’s fun to play with the idea of living in a different era when it’s about the music, fashion and glamour. It’s not the same as signing up to the grim reality that was life for most women in the 1950s.

Trad wifedom is no more than a glamourous aesthetic

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Jae L

Queer, neurodivergent and in the business of defying expectations. Doing my best to answer the questions I keep asking myself. diverge999@gmail.com