tradwife tt
Andrea Austria / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

STUDY: Tradwife influencers are quietly spreading far-right conspiracy theories

A Media Matters analysis found interacting with tradwife videos on TikTok led to a deluge of conspiratorial content

TikTok’s “For You” page recommendation algorithm propels users who interact with “tradwife” content — which promotes “traditional values” and rigid gender roles — down far-right conspiracy theory rabbit holes.

Media Matters coded and analyzed 327 recommended videos after exclusively interacting with tradwife content and documented what happened. We found TikTok’s recommendation algorithm rapidly populated our FYP with conspiracy theory content and fearmongering, which made up nearly one-third of all videos served to the FYP.

  • Background

  • In recent years, the “tradwife” movement has shifted from far-right internet subculture to mainstream social media trend, becoming particularly popular among young people. Not every popular homemaking creator is a “tradwife,” though; tradwife influencers specifically preach the gospel of rigid gender roles and biblical submissiveness, glamorizing a 1950s housewife aesthetic while calling for some variation of a “return to tradition.”

    To be considered a “tradwife influencer” according to our criteria, a creator had to have a minimum of 20,000 followers, self-identify as a “tradwife,” explicitly promote traditional gender roles, and primarily dedicate their account to promoting homemaking and “traditional values.” Media Matters identified 7 accounts that fulfilled this criteria, then “liked” and watched each account’s 10 most recent videos.

  • Key findings

    • After we interacted with tradwife content, TikTok’s recommendation algorithm began flooding our FYP with right-wing conspiracy theory content.

    • Our FYP also began displaying medical misinformation and anti-government content, specifically fearmongering about the need to prepare for an impending “civil war.”

    • Of the 327 videos served to the “For You” page in Media Matters’ analysis, 100 (or 30.6%) contained conspiracy theories or apocalyptic fearmongering.

  • Trends in TikTok's "For You" page narratives following engagement with tradwife content

    Citation Molly Butler / Media Matters

  • Context

  • To those unfamiliar with the tradwife influencer ecosystem, these may be unexpected or confusing results.

    Why would interacting with tradwife content, which is often filled with beautiful imagery of gardening and baking, funnel a user down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole?

    Well, we discovered that many popular “tradwife” creators are quietly couching far-right conspiracy theories between videos of bread baking and milkmaid dresses.

    Nearly every tradwife influencer we identified pushed baseless right-wing conspiracy theories and right-wing talking points, often focusing on a general distrust of the government and modern medicine. These messages were positioned between soft visuals of baking, gardening, and modest fashion.

    Tradwife influencer Jasmine Dinis typifies this phenomenon. In one TikTok video, we see Dinis drinking coffee on her porch with overlaid text reading, “Being a real rebel in 2024 is….” Several baking and gardening clips follow under more superimposed text that answers, “Taking sovereignty over your own health & food sources and not relying on the government for either.”

  • Dinis, being a rebel in 2024 TikTok
  • Dinis has uploaded a number of videos with similar messaging, using hashtags such as “#conspiracy,” “#rawmilk,” and “#offgrid."

    Her account on X (formerly Twitter) is more overtly extreme, with posts suggesting that the sun does not cause skin cancer, defending Andrew Tate (a self-proclaimed misogynist on trial in Romania for human trafficking, rape, and forming a criminal group to sexually exploit women) and blaming his arrest on “the matrix,” and describing a worldwide pride festival as “full of mentally ill people and groomers.”

    A social media landing page linked to Dinis’ TikTok directs users to PragerU Kids — an offshoot of right-wing propaganda organization PragerU.

    Another tradwife influencer, “Gwen the Milkmaid,” follows a similar video formula, posting imagery of prairie dresses, bows, and baking overlaid with text pushing conspiracy theories and right-wing talking points.

    In one recent video, Gwen prepares homemade pasta with overlaid text reading, “Trad-wives have been getting a lot of hate recently… And is it really a surprise? The elites have been working for decades to destroy femininity, masculinity, healthy marriages, and families.”

  • Gwen - trad tt 'the elites'
  • She captioned the video with a lengthy elaboration of this claim, asserting that these so-called “elites” use “the same playbook with trad-wives, as they do with every other truth that can’t be discredited,” which includes using “the media to spread lies.”

    “Everything the trad-wife movement stands for goes against the establishment elite’s agenda,” Gwen wrote. It’s a movement “that knows how much our children need us, instead of letting them be manipulated by culture and government schools.”

    She concluded the video caption by writing, “Just my latest conspiracy theory. What do you think about this?”

    Right-wing media have also embraced one of TikTok’s most popular tradwife influencers, Estee Williams, who has appeared on Fox News, OAN, and The Daily Wire to lament about the “attack on traditional values."

  • Estee on RW media
  • Williams used her since-nuked Twitter account to spread anti-trans bigotry, opposition to sending women to college at 18, and disturbing messages like “any wife who denies her husband intimacy is acting against her marriage.”

    Notably, Williams’ sister is Rudy Giuliani’s former spokesperson and, according to her X bio, Turning Point USA ambassador Christianné Allen. TPUSA hosts a Young Women’s Leadership Summit that pushes high school and college-age girls to give up their career ambitions and instead become mothers and wives.

  • Discussion of research findings

  • Our research findings suggest that interacting with tradwife content can catapult users down potentially dangerous conspiracy theory rabbit holes. TikTok’s recommendation algorithm radicalized our research account at a rapid pace, almost entirely saturating our “For You” page with conspiracy theory content within an afternoon.

    Of the 327 videos assessed,100 or (30.6%) contained conspiracy theories, which ranged from seemingly innocent speculation about UFO sightings to extremist claims about elites eating children

    Some of the most notable and repeated conspiracy theories fed to our account’s FYP included:

    • The earth is flat.
  • "Astrology proves the earth is flat"
    • The U.S. government is going to institute martial law.
  • Martial law, TT
    • Obama is the Antichrist.
  • Obama is the antichrist, TT
    • There is a demonic agenda behind household products.
  • Video file
    • There is going to be a civil war.
  • Video file
    • We are living in a matrix.
  • "American people are living in a matrix"
  • Other significant findings within the 327 videos included 19 videos featuring extremist right-wing media figures, 13 anti-government videos, and 7 videos peddling medical misinformation.

  • Methodology

  • Media Matters created a new TikTok account and engaged exclusively with tradwife content from tradwife influencers.

    To be considered a tradwife influencer, a creator had to meet the following criteria: 

    • Their account must primarily be dedicated to promoting homemaking and explicitly promote “traditional values,” such as traditional gender roles, modesty, or biblical submissiveness.
    • They must have a minimum of 20,000 followers.
    • They must self-identify as a “traditional wife”/“tradwife” somewhere on their account (in videos, video descriptions, profile bio) OR use similar language with the same implication.

    We identified and followed 7 tradwife accounts, watching and “liking” each account’s 10 most recent videos.

    We then navigated to our “For You” page and began scrolling, eventually requesting a record of the account's watch history. From that data, we evaluated all 327 videos served to the account's “For You” page (not counting the 10 videos we initially watched from each of the 7 tradwife accounts in order to train the algorithm).

    We then sorted each video into one of 12 categories: conspiracy theory/apocalyptic fearmongering, far-right figures/talking points, anti-government, homesteading, medical misinformation, misogynistic content, racism/white supremacy, Christian nationalism, general tradwife content, “other" TikTok videos, sponsored content, and “video unavailable.” A majority of three researchers had to agree on a code after a blind review, choosing the category that fit best.

    We defined “conspiracy theory and apocalyptic fearmongering” posts as those that claim the existence of a secret manipulation of events, people, or situations by powerful forces; or that oppose mainstream agreement among experts qualified to evaluate the claim’s accuracy;  or claim that we are nearing “end times” or “rapture.”

    We defined “homesteading” posts as those that promote self-sufficiency in the form of agriculture, clothing, craft work, and food preservation. Homesteading videos often spotlight the purchase of land to grow food and raise animals.

    We defined “general tradwife” posts as posts that promote traditional gender roles/traditional values/biblical submissiveness, “return to tradition” videos — particularly those glamorizing the 1950s housewife aesthetic — or those that include any variation of “trad,” ”traditional,” or “tradwife” in the video description, username/display name, or video.

    We defined “medical misinformation” posts as those that spread medical information or advice counter to mainstream agreement among medical professionals. These posts often spread false information about vaccines, the pharmaceutical industry, or modern medicine.

    We defined “anti-government” posts as those that promote distrust in the government — for example, those that encourage audiences to prepare for vague future existential crises either carried out by the government or resulting from government action.

    We defined “extremist right-wing media figures” posts as those that contain video or audio from prominent far-right media figures such as Ben Shapiro, Alex Jones, Paul Joseph Watson, Steven Crowder, Paul Nicholas Miller, and Nick Fuentes.”

    We defined “racist/white supremacist” posts as those that attack, degrade, or mock a particular race or ethnic group or support white supremacy by using white supremacist talking points such as “white pride” or “white lives matter.”

    We defined “sponsored” posts as any video that is fed directly to the FYP by TikTok and is labeled as sponsored content.

    We defined “video unavailable” posts as those that became unavailable some time after we viewed them on the FYP.

    We defined “other” posts as any that did not fall into any of the aforementioned categories. (105 videos were coded as “Other.”)