The Reality of Gen Z's Stay At Home Girlfriend trend.
Spend any number of minutes on TikTok and you’ll see hot twenty-something after twenty-something claiming they have the answer to all of women’s issues—just become a Stay-At-Home Girlfriend and/or Wife. If they’re trad, they dream of cottage-core barn houses barefoot and pregnant, breeding beyond the replacement rate (cough). For the more libertine, there’s heaux feminism and dark femininity coaches. Books like Hoe Tactics and the Power of the P teach young women how to leverage their sexuality to find fiscally generous partners. Megan Thee Stallion, The City Girls, and Cardi B make rap anthems for the sugar baby generation. But is kept womanhood really the secret that twenty-year-olds just happen to figure out?
The Girl Boss is dead, and Gen Z killed her. What’s replaced Girl Boss culture is difficult and problematic in its own way. But it’s important that we consider this in a nuanced way and teach young women how to mitigate harm.
A few years ago, at a San Francisco co-living space I lived in, I mentioned the concept of hypergamy. I was twenty-three, autistic, wet behind the ears on having conversations with other humans—there are certain things you’re just not supposed to say out loud. A woman about ten years older than me set me aside and told me: “Be your own rich white man.”
I understood her sentiment, but I will never be a white man. Nor do I necessarily long to be.
This experience also encapsulated just the sheer difference in attitude of Gen Z from our millennial predecessors. While my views have slightly changed since I was twenty-three, I find myself frustrated with the lack of nuance (and reality) on both sides of this argument.
Female separatism and Andrea Dworkin inspired Radical Feminism have become increasingly popular with Gen Z. The other larger portion of this generation has fully embraced OnlyFans, Sugar Babying, and Heaux culture.
Some say this is due to the pornification of society due to high-tech streaming capabilities gaining popularity in Gen Z’s formative years. Rad Fems reject it, and Heaux femmes accept it. This may have had some influence, but this analysis isn’t really scratching the surface. Right-wing reactionaries will blame both Radical Feminism and Heaux-feminism on fatherless homes which, perhaps, is an argument to be made. The truth is—these expressions of Gen Z girldom are closely tied to post-2008 financial crisis austerity.
Bimbollectual👙 is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Gen Z saw our Boomer and Gen X mothers struggle to play mommy and juggle a full-time career while the world was crashing in. Our millennial sisters and friends fought tooth and nail to be their own rich white men, only to get chewed out by the machine, realizing that no amount of grit or grind would earn them the respect of “rich white men.” Nor would it make them happy. Was working like a man really having it all? For Gen Z, it’s been a complete shift towards how men are perceived. Utilitarian purposes, as providers to bring home the erm, avocado toast. Or for total rejection for those who just had enough. We don’t strive to become men or take their place but rather disengage from society’s cascading crises altogether.
So, Gen Z has splintered in a few different directions. Heaux-feminism, Radical Feminism, Trad Wifery were birthed as perfect solutions, wedged in ideology, for complex problems.
This is why I really appreciated the recent video by Chelsea Fagan, the creator of The Financial Diet. I’d been wanting to write about this topic for a while, and Chelsea’s video gave me the confidence to do so.
Chelsea is in her mid-thirties and gives great financial advice to young women. I have been a long-time fan of her content. While I initially assumed the worst, I found her insights to be valuable and non-judgmental. She, of course, pointed out that relying solely on your partner's income could be risky and that building financial stability, such as having an emergency fund and good credit, is critical.
How To Be a Stay At Home Girlfriend/Wife
One piece of advice that Chelsea gives is to not quit your job without an emergency fund. Have 3-6 months of independent savings set aside in an account accessible solely by yourself. In places like San Francisco or New York City, this is especially important as housing is expensive, and you don’t want to be stuck in a relationship solely for housing, which would make you a hobosexual.
Next, build your credit. If you need to leave or just open your own line of credit, you should build towards being able to do that without your partner. There are ways to slowly build your credit, with your partner’s help, that don’t make you totally beholden to them. Look into authorized users on card accounts.
I’m also happy she mentioned having a cohabitation agreement, something too few people know about. This is essentially a prenuptial agreement for unmarried couples and can provide security for the non-earning partner as well. It would also be wise to get something in writing about your rights as a tenant, as well as assistance in moving if you decide to leave your partner’s home.
An important note is that stay at home girlfriends have none of the privileges of marriage such as legal security but have the expected responsibilities of a wife(cleaning, cooking, whatever). This isn’t the move. Since the 1960’s housewives have fought for wages for their labor. If you are not married(and many cases even if you are lol) I would really advise you not to take on any domestic labor for someone other than yourself. With that said, if you insist on it I would look into legal protections like I listed above such as cohabitation agreements and whatnot.
One last point that I’ll make is to have a purpose and utilize your newfound privilege for something meaningful. If you don’t have kids or other major responsibilities, this could be a great chance to improve your skills. A few years ago, my childhood friend married a financially successful thirty-five-year-old. We were in our very early twenties. He worked for Michigan’s only unicorn start-up and gave her hundreds of dollars in spending money for brunch dates out. Her closet was full of Louboutin shoes, and she asked for nothing, a stay-at-home girlfriend. My cousin and I told her she should work part-time to keep her skills up, take classes at a community college, or use the financial safety to start a small business. Not only as a “just in case,” but because luxury goods aren’t enough to keep anyone happy. Despite what others may say, seeking a provider partner isn’t a necessary crutch. You can be fully autonomous and independent by developing your own skills while still having the love and support of your partner. No matter the road you decide to go on, whether it be a corporate job or a homemaker, you have to realize that you define who you are, not your relationship, status as a mother, nor your job. Only then may you find real happiness.