NEWS… BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT
I miss the good old days of the video sharing platform.
Robotic dance routines to infuriating earworms, make-up tutorials, pets falling off furniture.
But now a new trend has emerged on the app, a trend that harks back to the not-so-good-old-days where women were expected to submit to their husband, cook his dinner, do his laundry and serve his every need.
That’s right ladies, according to the ‘submissive wives’ of TikTok, it’s time to dump your financial independence and don your apron because feminism is soooo 2017.
‘Submissive wife’ content creators are bragging online about the joy of quitting their jobs and devoting their time and attention to their other halves. They claim they’re ditching feminism in favour of ‘femininity’ and are taking on the more traditional role of submissive housewife.
But I need these women to know that feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive; nor does waiting on a man equate to what womanhood means.
In one clip, one such wife is asked what a submissive woman does for her man. Her answer? ‘Everything’.
‘You know, like, packing his bag, unpacking his bag. I pretty much just read his mind. I know you and I study you, like I know how you are in the morning, I know how you are about midday, I know when you’re in this mood, what you need. Before you can ever ask me for something, I’m already on it.’
You’d be forgiven for thinking she’s talking about a baby, or a Chihuahua, or a baby Chihuahua, but no, this is a grown-up adult human male she’s running around after.
Despite my tone, I’m not here to judge another woman’s lifestyle choice; if it works for her – great! But to be promoting a lifestyle that revolves around submission and subservience on a platform viewed by young female users? Troubling. And it does little to address the issues inherent within co-dependence.
Not all women are lucky enough – and it is so often down to luck – to be in a relationship with a man who can provide financial support without exploiting the situation or his partner by dictating her role and what she can and cannot do.
Speaking of which, some TikTok users are bragging about their financial dependence on their husbands, with one saying she’s awarded an allowance and, if she budgets well, she’s allowed to keep the leftovers for herself.
I despair that women on social media are advocating becoming subservient
If women are fortunate enough to have a partner who earns enough money to fund both their lifestyles, then good for them. It’s simply a division of labour.
Perhaps submissive – or trad – wives are simply responding to the fact that, as things stand, women who work are also tasked with the majority of housework.
According to a 2019 study, 45% of female breadwinners do the majority of household tasks, compared to just 12% of male breadwinners. The average female breadwinner spends an extra 7.5 hours a week looking after the house on top of their full-time job – that’s the equivalent of a full working day.
So instead of having to juggle work with the gendered expectation of housework, have these women simply taken a job in their own home where they’re paid to do the latter by their husbands?
I can see the logic but surely the way to address this gender imbalance is by encouraging men to get off their arses, rather than encouraging women to sacrifice their independence, as shown in this trend?
Feminism is not an ideology that seeks to restrict a woman’s lifestyle choices, but rather one that seeks to give as many options as their male counterparts.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this trend stems from women getting one over on men. Instead, it appears to derive from orthodox Christian traditions and beliefs, with one wife posting paraphrased bible quotes to her followers, including: ‘Let him make the decisions and lead you,’ ‘serve his needs sexually/physically’ and ‘have a gentle and quiet spirit’.
I despair that women on social media are advocating becoming subservient.
In response to the obvious outrage over submissive wife content, many of them have gone on to post explainer videos in an attempt to clear up what they presume to be a misunderstanding about the lifestyle.
‘Some people think submission means, if my husband asks me to pick up a piece of trash off the ground, I need to pick it up,’ says D’Audrea Smith, before going on to clarify what she thinks it really means.
‘Being a submissive woman is being a woman that is under her husband’s leadership and allowing him to lead. You do not wear the pants in your marriage. Your husband is the man of God. He is the head of the household’.
Don’t know about you, but I’m outraged.
I worry that this trend is supportive of – and gives credence to – the Andrew Tate school of TikTok philosophy that peddles misogynistic tropes and prizes both alpha males and submissive females over non-dominant men and independent women.
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No one in society is lesser than anyone else, but with women positioning themselves as such, it gives ammo to men who brand sexism as legitimate. It sends a message that a woman’s role is to serve her partner – and I hate the thought of young men and women consuming this viewpoint.
Femininity should not be defined as submissive to masculinity, but as equal to it. Femininity exists within feminism. The two are not mutually exclusive, unlike mine and my other half’s bank accounts.
In the year 2022, you’d think social media content would be encouraging women to fight the patriarchy, not do its laundry.
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