Rah Eleh, Tradwife,
Digital Video Montage from online sources, 00:03:38, 2023-2024

During the TempFiles residency period, I scoured social media and remixed video portraits of Tradwife influencers—a portmanteau that merges traditional and wife. With this work, I want to underscore the many contradictions of this movement. The most obvious paradox lies in the simultaneous protest of women's roles in the workforce and public sphere, their demand for a return to domestic duty and traditional roles, while they actively participate in public political discourse as influencers and generate income for their online work in a public domain. Further, these tradwives and their families somehow manage to survive on a single-family income exposing the elitist nature of lifestyle. Today, many families require a dual family income and cannot afford to return to traditional roles and gendered labour, even if this is a desirable lifestyle for them.

Another contradiction is their shared hostility towards the feminist resistance movement, to the extent that they blame feminism for female degeneracy. They are misinformed about feminist history and the many waves they have benefited from feminists. First-wave feminists fought for their education and literacy, which these women have benefited from. Later waves of feminism fought for shelters and survivors of domestic and sexual violence, the right to initiate a divorce, reproductive agency, and equal pay in the workforce. Little do they know that the wifi they need to access the web in which they earn an income influencing culture is the early invention of a working and educated woman.

To add my bafflement, in many of these clips, we see MAGA hats, national flags, and religious and conservative iconography that belongs to the far-right movement and this exposes the ideologies, complexities and intricacies of this movement. Finally, I inserted my character in the work to unsettle this narrative and to illustrate that domestic labour is still hard work. It is not glamorous sweeping or cleaning toilettes and domestic work continues to be unpaid labour.

Temp. Files: Season 3: TRANSFORMATION is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC).

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