I OBSERVED International Women's Day last week through the lens of my sick bed and my phone screen.

As I scrolled through Instagram reels and Twitter #IWD hashtags, I wondered if it shouldn’t be changed to IWFOD… that’s International Women F***** Off Day because none of the women I saw thought we’d come very far at all.

The women on my social media are a broad spectrum – they work, they’re creative, they get fillers and botox or, conversely, never wear a scrap of make-up.

Some are #bossbitches others own stickers bought on Etsy that congratulate them for brushing their teeth as an act of self-care. Many raise children and throughout the year post pictures of sensory play, wholesome plates of food portioned on plates shaped like animal heads, Easter egg hunts, pumpkin patches and Elf on the Shelf.

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Alongside this, they nearly all post, with alarming regularity, pictures of themselves in tears or haggard with exhaustion talking about how overwhelmed they are by the sheer mental, physical, emotional and financial load they are bearing on a daily basis.

So much is expected of them and there is simply not enough of them to fulfill society’s expectations.

On my tour through social media’s understandably aggrieved and exhausted woman, I came across the TradWife hashtag. When I first saw the video, a beautiful young woman in a floral tea dress with soft curls around her face, happily loading laundry, doing some grocery shopping, baking pasta for her husband and then doing yet more chores, I thought it was a spoof created for International Women's Day.

So imagine my utter shock when I discovered that, in fact, the #TradWife movement, along with the ‘stay at home girlfriend’ trend, is being pushed in earnest as an alternative way of living for young women.

And by young, I mean women in their twenties, who eschew the trappings of modern feminism and instead decide to serve their husbands, become homemakers, allow their husband to be the dominant decision maker in all things and look pretty for him while doing it.

One #TradWife video says men want three things to keep them happy, ‘Sex, Silence and a Sandwich’, another shows a woman blissfully washing the dishes with a caption that says, ‘In a world full of Girlboss bitches, I chose not to be one…and I've never been happier.’

And perhaps that is the crux of this madness.

In a world where women simply cannot win, where there’s not enough of them to meet every expected role, simplifying life must be very tempting indeed.

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This movement is literally reductive to women but I’ve got to say, for a moment, quietly doing the washing up did look enticingly uncomplicated.

It’s not surprising, younger generations of women are facing even greater challenges than we did growing up in the 1980s and 90s.

Thanks to social media and greater availability of injectables, fillers and plastic surgery, the expected aesthetic for women today is literally unachievable without medical intervention.

Besides this, there is still the gender pay gap of 14.9% less for women than for men. Sexual violence rose by 10% between 2018 and 2022. And, as a friend said to me recently, we’re expected to do our job like we aren’t mothers and be mothers like we don't have jobs.

HeraldScotland: The trad wife trend has proliferated on social media... but it also teaches dangerous and regressive behavioursThe trad wife trend has proliferated on social media... but it also teaches dangerous and regressive behaviours (Image: Newsquest)

We are tired. And I can absolutely see why some young women, thinking they cannot have it all, simply decide to hand over a specified range of duties to their partner.

But there are very real dangers of being wholly financially dependent on another person.

The danger of coercion in those situations, the loss of agency and, most of all, the loss of their own potential.

That young woman in her busty floral dresses, with her perfect 1950s eyeliner flicks might be peaceful but even watching her four-minute ‘a day in the life…’ film bored me to my bones.

She is not challenged. She seems clever and capable and I wonder what she could be doing if all her energies didn’t go into enriching her husband’s existence.

I was particularly interested in the #TradWife movement because I suppose I have a #TradWife of my own – my husband.

When I got sick a year ago, we made the mutual decision that my husband would quit his office job in cyber security and stay home to look after our one-year-old.

This seems perhaps counterintuitive, but anyone can tell you that looking after a one-year-old as a stay at home mum is far, far more intensive than writing down your thoughts for a living.

Besides this, I was lucky enough to have a job where I could pick and choose how much work I took, could work from bed and build in rest periods.

While it made sense for us as a family, initially it was no picnic.

The fridge was always empty, the laundry piled up, doctors' appointments were missed and we ate the same ‘pasta and sauce’ meals for weeks at a time.

I had assumed that our roles and tasks had automatically switched but, in fact, it took us a long time to negotiate that passing of mental load from me and onto my husband. But a year later he is a pro, a better wife than I ever was.

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In September our son will qualify for free nursery places and my husband will resume his career. He's excited for it but he’s also loved seeing his son grow up and being at home with us.

He tells me all the time that he appreciates never worrying about money or dealing with the everyday stresses of work. For us, it’s been a huge success and has made our marriage better to boot.

So perhaps the answer is not that the world needs more #TradWives but instead we need partners, male and female, to step entirely out of the expectations of their gender and look at what works best for them as a family.

We do need more marital equity but not in the binary driven gendered sense. And then perhaps we will have an International Woman's Day where we actually see women celebrating being women in all its challenging, exciting, satisfying glory.