I spend a great deal of time on TikTok. I am up to date on all the trends, know all the sounds and have post notifications turned on for my favorite stars. One thing that has frequently made its way onto my For You page these past few months has been the “Stay at Home Girlfriend” trend. If you haven’t come across this internet phenomenon yet, it, according to Vogue, “showcases a ‘day in the life’ of mostly young — approximately 20-something-year-old — child-free females who stay at home while their partner goes to work.” These women present a carefree lifestyle where they spend their days going on hot girl walks, doing reformative Pilates and doing wholesome housework. One influencer, @asshliciouss, started video showing off the money that her boyfriend left in order to pay off her cards. Another video started with a girl saying, “I got all my household duties done nice and early so he decided to take me out today.” Another influencer, @septoctnov, has made her whole brand the stay-at-home-fiancé lifestyle. While this may seem like the perfect life, it may also be a sign of a dangerous turn of events. The “Stay at Home Girlfriend” trend is a concerning trend that threatens women’s financial independence and romanticizes rigid gender roles.
There are many reasons why these videos are concerning. First, many of these women are constructing their entire lives around their boyfriends. Their daily goal is to perfect their home and appearance in a way that always seems to cater to their male partner. According to Distractify, “In many of these videos, the girlfriend’s routine will consist of waking up, making coffee, drinking some type of green juice, tidying up the bedroom, journaling, doing laundry, working out, etc. It seems their main daily goal is to take care of their appearance while completing minimal housework/running small errands for their man.” In other words, their only day-to-day goal is to be a caregiver to their partner. Many of these women may lack satisfaction and fulfillment in their careers and have little to no social schedule outside of their boyfriends. As someone who has always been interested in the fight for women’s equality, this is a concerning concept. These influencers’ lives may seem beautiful online, but they could be filled with emptiness and subservience. The trend may also impact younger generations. These videos have millions of views, and these creators have thousands of followers, many of whom are at a very impressionable age. Adolescents may see these videos and think this is the lifestyle they should pursue. They could also inevitably find themselves in a world of emptiness and subservience, all due to a TikTok trend that showcases women as trophies.
Furthermore, this trend may make women vulnerable to abusive situations. Financial independence has been historically impossible for women. In fact, women couldn’t even open their own credit cards until 1974. With women reverting back to situations where they don’t have their own jobs or their own credit, we may see an increase in women who become trapped in abusive situations.
When women are financially dependent on men, they can become unable to escape abusive situations due to financial dependency. There may also be an increase in financial abuse, which entails men not allowing women to have the resources or things they need. This is very reminiscent of a time before women could achieve independence and were trapped in these dangerous relationships. The world can become an even scarier place for women if we romanticize this abuse and dependence.
If a couple decides that one of them should stay home because it works best for their lifestyle, that is okay as long as there are still forms of independence and equality. Scheduling times in the day to go out of the home to spend time with friends and family, having an at-home virtual business or keeping separate bank accounts would help with this imbalance. There is nothing wrong with staying at home, but making it a trend and ignoring the dangers and history of women’s dependence allows for misinformation that hinders the fight for women’s rights.
Nicolette Cavallaro is a senior majoring in psychology.