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Nara Smith and the rise of the tradwife

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio for Pexels.com

Over the past few months, Nara Smith has become one of the most talked about influencers and amassed over 6.2 million followers on TikTok. Smith, wife of Mormon model Lucky Blue Smith, shares videos of herself cooking elaborate meals while dressed in designer outfits. 

Her presence is soothing – Nara narrates her TikToks in a slow gentle manner which is reflected in her movements. There is never any rushing, some of her recipes take over 5 hours, especially if she is making things like Oreos or cornflakes from scratch. 

Nara and many other content creators are said to be part of a growing trend on social media – the tradwife, or traditional wife. They often depict a slower, calmer lifestyle of a stay-at-home wife and mother, taking care of the children and making elaborate recipes. 

Nara’s fans are dedicated; a comment by user @chirstinemwila4 on Nara’s most recent video of herself making cornflakes states “I’ll never skip a nara smith video”. The comment itself has over 3,420 likes and Nara’s video has over 8.2 million views and 1.1 million likes even though it was posted just 19 hours ago. 

Nara recently received criticism that her videos and online presence are an attempt to perpetuate Mormonism, due to the fact that her husband Lucky Blue Smith comes from a well-known Mormon family. Nara has denied such allegations and often reiterates that she is still figuring out her religion. 

Others are not so convinced by Nara’s seemingly effortless lifestyle and point out that this type of life is usually only made possible by wealth and having an established status. A comment by @rhiamusic on Nara’s most recent video states “I rlly (sic) wanted to take a nap yesterday so I went outside, cut down a tree, and made my bed from scratch”. This echoes what many are thinking – this type of lifestyle is not possible for most, especially people who have to work full-time. 

Another important aspect to consider when viewing Nara’s TikToks is the part of the content that we do not see. While she shares some of her recipes on her Substack for a monthly fee, there is no transparency regarding recipe development or testing. It seems Nara is able to make highly technical meals without so much as breaking a sweat. 

TikTok by Nara Aziza Smith

While most viewers will be aware that Nara’s videos are carefully curated snippets of her day, the younger audience members might not yet have the media literacy skills required to understand which parts of her videos are exaggerations. In one video Nara states that her kids requested yogurt for breakfast and she proceeded to make the yogurt, a process that easily takes a few hours, it is important to note that hungry toddlers are not known to patiently wait hours for a fresh bowl of yogurt. Most of her videos start with a request from a family member, however it is likely that this is all pre-planned and her recipes are decided far in advance. Some even say that Nara understands that people are aware of the unrealistic lifestyle she represents and is using the media attention to further push people into Mormonism. 

There is much to discuss when looking at Nara’s content, but one key theme that stands out is the need for media literacy in our increasingly online-based lives. It is important to be able to critically analyse the content we are presented with, even something as simple as a cooking video by a wealthy stay-at-home mom.

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