“Hey! Little Girl/Comb your hair, fix your makeup/Soon he will open the door/Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger/You needn’t try anymore,” warns crooner Jack Jones in his 1963 song Wives And Lovers, a sickening ode to domestic servitude.
The song is a relic, an ancient fossil dug out from a time when women were shackled to the home and expected to paint on a smile of acquiescence while they dutifully cleaned the oven.
But in the not so dark corners of the internet, Jones’s sentiment is making a comeback, with the emergence of so-called trad wives – a growing movement of women who are putting their careers on hold to proudly tend to husband and home.
In the past few weeks self-professed trad wives have appeared in various media outlets to defend their choices, which, to be fair, are their prerogative.
But across the pond the trad wife movement is taking a more disturbing turn. Last week the Sunday Times featured a report on “Red Pill Women” – a female anti-feminist community that advocates the return to traditional gender roles, with subordination considered to be the key to femininity.
The Red Pill ideology considers a woman’s “sexual market value” as her most important asset, and it’s not just online where the Red Pill army is making its toxic voice heard. Republican candidate DeAnna Lorraine, currently running to unseat Nancy Pelosi, is an out and proud advocate of more “traditional” ways of life. In her book Making Love Great Again!, Lorraine claims modern women are lonely, overworked and less happy than women of 50 years ago, a time when women were interested in relationships that stretched “beyond a fling”. Lorraine also offers YouTube coaching sessions for men who want to “redpill” their girlfriends, convincing men that modern women have been brainwashed, and encouraging them to treat their girlfriends in the same way they would treat someone who has a mental illness.
This is a dangerous movement. This is Serena Joy rising from the pages of The Handmaid’s Tale and standing at the end of your bed holding a mop, a copy of the Old Testament and a scold’s bridle.
It’s a movement that has the power to change the narrative of what it means to be a feminist, putting perfect, prim housewifery on a pedestal, while women who chase careers are cast as detrimental to the fight for a civil, wholesome Christian society.
Trad wives cannot be allowed to become the voice for women whose aspirations are to get married, have children and run a home. The trad wife movement can’t be the only place for women to turn when they realise that actually, they don’t want to go to university, or that staying at home to raise a family is more appealing than applying for a promotion. Feminists need to tell women that that’s OK, that it’s fine not to want to climb up the career ladder, that their choices are valid and their role is important.
The antifeminist movement is creating an us and them, pitting women against women and creating two camps – one for homemakers and one for career women – when the truth is that women can and should be able to do both.