TikTok, why the new trend of housewife girlfriends that went viral is wrong

TikTok, why the new trend of housewife girlfriends that went viral is wrong


For about a month, a new trend has been circulating on TikTok: that of the housewife girlfriend, or stay-at-home-girlfriend. These viral videos show young white women with no children, no paid jobs and high social backgrounds staying at home while their partner goes to work. Apparently nothing strange, but behind yoga and walking, the new trend promotes harmful stereotypes, including the devaluation of the invisible work done by women in the domestic sphere, portrayed as less burdensome and less important than the paid activities of men.

In these TikToks, girls are shown as formally unemployed and not employed in hard labor. Their duties seem to involve only light household chores, such as making the bed or loading the dishwasher, to then spend the rest of the time taking care of their boyfriends, preparing meals, or carrying out activities related to body care and physical appearance. such as facials and pilates. Furthermore, in many videos stay-at-home-girlfriends are seen receiving a kind of pocket money and some gifts from their partners, showing a lifestyle completely dependent on men contested by many because it is exclusive and fictitious.

“Upper middle class or upper class people are typically shown. In a very heterosexual, very heteronormative, very white portrayal,” Lilian Wright, a UCLA law professor, told Business Insider. Furthermore, Wright goes on to point out how the videos would show a cultural phenomenon in which "white women romanticize the idea of ​​being able to give up jobs they consider as delegable to low-income, non-white people".

According to Hajar Yazdiha, a sociologist at the University of Southern California, this is one of the reasons that explain why there are no stay-at-home-girlfriend videos of Afro-descendant origin or non-Caucasian and white ethnicity anyway . In this way, the new trend also reinforces deeply rooted racist stereotypes in US society, in which white women who do not work are perceived as mothers or good wives, while non-white women who are housewives are accused of welfare parasitism or as "lazy".

"Research shows that these traditional notions of femininity and white feminism are really ingrained among many white people, especially on the far right," Yazdiha told Business Insider. Cultural aftermath that has roots in slavery, but which they remained institutionalized until the 1960s, when Afro-descendant or other ethnic women still had no right to receive state subsidies for stay-at-home mothers, while white women were already granted since 1935 .

The harmful message, therefore, it does not lie in being able to choose to be a housewife and work only at home, if one has the possibility and the will, but in replicating racist stereotypes, in presenting a glossy and exclusive reality as normal, in portraying domestic work as less heavy and less important than men's paid activities and, finally, in showing women's financial independence as not important .

In particular, this last point underestimates how having limited financial means to support oneself is one of the main causes of financial abuse and, consequently, also of domestic abuse, as demonstrated during the coronavirus pandemic which has brought a increase in domestic violence. Glorifying this lifestyle, therefore, distorts the importance of financial independence for women.