The Housewives of White Supremacy

“You might not like that women have the right to vote, you might not like that anyone has the right to vote,” Mr. Follin conceded, “but it’s about winning a long-term political victory.”

.. Over the past few years, dozens of YouTube and social media accounts have sprung up showcasing soft-spoken young white women who extol the virtues of staying at home, submitting to male leadership and bearing lots of children — being “traditional wives.” These accounts pepper their messages with scrapbook-style collections of 1950s advertising images showing glamorous mothers in lipstick and heels with happy families and beautiful, opulent homes

.. But running alongside what could be mistaken for a peculiar style of mommy-vlogging is a virulent strain of white nationalism. One such advocate who calls herself “Wife With a Purpose” made international headlines last year when she issued something she titled “the white baby challenge.” Citing falling white birthrates in the West, she urged her followers to procreate. “I’ve made six!” she wrote. “Match or beat me!”

.. These accounts veer dizzyingly from Cosmo-style tips on pleasing your husband to racist musings about “ghetto music” to, on some occasions, calls to reassert their vision of the white race. The seemingly anachronistic way they dress is no accident. The deliberately hyperfeminine aesthetics are constructed precisely to mask the authoritarianism of their ideology.

.. But it is, like any other mass movement, also driven by a sense of dissatisfaction with modern life. Tradwives help us understand the sources of that dissatisfaction by revealing points of overlap between red-lipsticked mothers of six and the men who complain of being “kissless virgins.”

.. A frustrated yearning for a mythic past of material abundance, at a time when it is becoming increasingly difficult for young people to build careers and achieve financial security, is not gender-specific.

.. Young people face ever more obstacles, higher demands and continually dwindling returns in the form of work benefits, job security and pay. We shouldn’t underestimate how some young white women, when faced with this bleak economic landscape and then presented with a rosy image of 1950s domestic bliss, may look back to 1960s Friedan-era feminism as having cheated them out of a family and a luxurious lifestyle, all supported by a single income.

.. The men on the alt-right might point to diversity initiatives and mass immigration as having dismantled their career prospects; the women are furious that they have to consider career prospects at all.

..  Female fears of objectification and sexual violence remain as potent as ever; the tradwife subculture exploits them by blaming modernity for such phenomena, and then offers chastity, marriage and motherhood as an escape. As one such YouTube commentator, a teenager, told her audience, traditionalism does “what feminism is supposed to do” in preventing women from being made into “sexual objects” and treated “like a whore.”

.. At present, these shared dissatisfactions haven’t helped the alt-right recruit significant numbers of women because, quite simply, the men cannot keep their seething misogyny in check.


The woman who saved old New York

A massive freeway would have destroyed Greenwich Village and altered much of Lower Manhattan if not for one woman’s efforts. Jane Jacobs can teach us about what makes cities feel alive, writes Jonathan Glancey.

In 1939, Moses had been very much the muscle behind that year’s spectacular New York World’s Fair. A celebration of things to come, one of its many highlights was the Futurama pavilion. Designed by Norman Bel Geddes, a theatre and industrial designer with a flair for imagining convincing futures, and sponsored by General Motors, Futurama gave millions of visitors a ride, in moving chairs, around an enticing, post-Depression model of how New York might look in the near future. With streamlined cars racing along elevated freeways passing through science-fiction skyscrapers, it was an exciting, and highly polished vision of a city visitors to the exhibition knew to be grubby, crowded and chaotic, if charismatic, too.

.. For Jacobs, cities were more about people than buildings and grand designs. She celebrated the messy vitality of life on the street, of lively neighbourhoods where small businesses thrived, children played on sidewalks and people of different backgrounds rubbed shoulders.

.. “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

.. And when Jacobs gathered women to protest actively against Moses’s plans to drive an expressway through Washington Square Park and out to new suburbs, the grand planner dismissed the opposition as interfering “housewives”.

.. The Death and Life of Great American cities had sold more than 250,000 copies by 2005 when it was translated into Chinese for the first time, and as vast tracts of venerable Chinese cities were being demolished to make way for 1950s-style concrete blocks and freeways.