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The Red Flags Of The Homestead Influencer

The romantic promises of the homestead life are challenged by nativist, anti-feminist, and conspiracist ideology.

A father and child overlooking cattle on a farm
Credit: Shutterstock/Yuri A

Trigger/Content warning: This article includes brief descriptions of racism, gun violence, and child abuse.

Chicken coops, vegetable gardens, embroidered aprons, and freshly baked bread. There has always been an appeal to the “simple” life in the country with just enough land for yourself and your family and/or a dog or two.

On social media there are remnants of this tendency. Posts and accounts center on the simple pleasures of plants and baking. While many of these are made in harmless fun, over-romanticization often has its dangers. One elephant in the room is the concerning prevalence of extreme-right ideology on “homesteading” accounts on Instagram and TikTok. While their pages may be decorated with green foliage and warm homes, a concerning number promote — implicitly or explicitly — harmfully nativist, anti-feminist, and anti-science or conspiracist views.

What is Homesteading?

Homesteading is usually defined simply as a family home and farm. Kamron Sanders specifies this as meaning “a self-sufficient lifestyle, particularly one that takes place in a family home.” It represents quaint, bucolic family life.

Today, some in the U.S. take issue with the term because of its connection to the Homestead Act of 1892. The act incentivized settlement of about 270 acres of U.S. land and was a detriment to the Indigenous people, who were excluded despite having already been living on the land. There continues to be a disturbing undercurrent of ignorance and intolerance within the homestead community.

The Appeal

In some ways, it’s not hard to understand the appeal of homesteading.

It owes part of its attractiveness to a long history of pastoral art and literature, where romanticized images of the countryside and farmers have been used as a symbol of relief from the stresses of urban life.

Much of the appeal of homesteading hinges on the perception of social systems as corrupt or broken.

Scrolling through the homesteading tag on Instagram or TikTok and perusing the comments section, it is easy to find people who turn to the lifestyle because they feel disillusioned with the systems they have grown up into. Exhausting working conditions, skyrocketing housing prices, climate change, realization of atrocities occurring at home and around the world.

Younger people, especially, may be in the process of becoming (or have already been) disillusioned with modern, capitalistic life. Homesteading may offer a place for refuge and the beauty of nature and independence. 


How did we all end up here? 😆 Tag *that* friend 📸 creator: @morethangardening (via Instagram) PS ❤️ and 📬 share this post with a fellow grandma/grandpa hobby friend! Follow @bestofhomesteading for tips, inspiration, and stories from the homesteading community. 🐓 🐄 @bestofhomesteading 🐄 @bestofhomesteading 🐄 @bestofhomesteading The copyright of this post doesn’t belong to @bestofhomesteading, nor do we intend to monetize this content. It is edited and shared for purpose of awareness, if the content OWNER (visual/audio) of this post has any issue, we request you to directly message this page, thus we sort out the outcome. #SustainableLiving #BackyardFarm #ModernHomesteading #UrbanHomesteading #FarmLife #SimpleLiving #Permaculture #GardenToTable #HomesteadLife #OffGridLiving #CountryLiving #HobbyFarm #RuralLife #Farmstead #NaturalLiving #GreenLiving #Homegrown #farmlife #garden #growyourownfood #homesteadhacks #homeschooling #homeschool #SelfSufficiency #foodsecurity #cookingfromscratch #oldschoolskills

♬ original sound – Best of Homesteading

But, of course, social media is often deceptive, and the romantic promises of the homesteader life face challenges of its own.

Homesteading, Bigotry, and Conspiracy

For many homesteaders, the lifestyle is based on a degree of isolation from society, which sometimes coincides with exclusionary ideology and distrust.

Homesteading content can unfortunately be a place of conspiracy theories and anti-science rhetoric.

One subsection of homesteaders are dedicated to doomsday prepping.

In an article from Business Insider, Evan Malmgren explores the rise of prepping behaviors in the U.S. Recent crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain shortages, wars, and technological alienation, have made the security of homesteading appealing.

“More people are asking: Am I better off being hyperdependent on the global industrial economy? Would it be safer to grow my own food, store my own water, and not depend on complex systems I don’t understand?”

Evan Malmgren, Business Insider

In addition, homesteading creators sometimes vocally espouse racist and nativist beliefs.

A report from March 2024 by Justin Horowitz on Media Matters presents examples of homestead-based creators who have openly voiced far-right views. In particular, Horowitz features creators promoting nativist, anti-immigrant sentiment.

A screenshot of the YouTube channel "The Prepared Homestead"
A screenshot of the homepage for “The Prepared Homestead,” a homesteading YouTube channel mentioned in Horowitz’s report

This appeals to the “Great Replacement” theory, which claims that immigrant policies are part of a deliberate plot to displace the power and culture of White people in Western nations in favor of non-White immigrants.

Risk and Warnings

The explicit promotion of this theory and similar beliefs poses concrete concerns for public safety. In May 2022, the “Great Replacement” theory was investigated as a motivator in the Buffalo mass shooting, all of whose victims were Black Americans. The gunman, then-18-year-old Payton S. Gendron, had written a manifesto in support of the theory, crying out a supposed White genocide.

Sometimes racist and conspiracy ideology may often be easy to spot, such as in the blatant, anti-immigrant rants posted by the creators in Horowitz’s article.

Some other details to look out for might be:

  • Tabloid-like thumbnails and titles: exclamations, all caps, etc.
  • Us vs Them: a creator may claim that the viewer (you) are purposely being targeted, will be affected negatively by something, usually the government
  • Inducing panic: a creator may claim to warn about impending disaster or a social revolt, may urge viewer/reader to take action; usually these claims are backed not by factual evidence but by vague claims and pathos

“Tradwives” And The Oppression Of The Housewife

Another, arguably more common yet more discreet form of conservatism among homestead influencers is anti-feminist ideology, often in the form of the “tradwife” lifestyle.

Like homesteading as a whole, the tradwife lifestyle can be appealing to those exhausted with current systems. Instead of slaving away in an office or retail job all day, the tradwife delegates all the responsibilities to her husband in favor of baking, gardening, and frolicking all day. If it means freedom from work, submitting to a husband may sound fair.

Tradwife content may feature straw man arguments in posts and/or comments. For instance, you may see users praising tradwife influencers of homestead TikTok, expressing their relief at seeing a woman baking, cooking, raising children, etc. This may come with a bemoaning of how one is “not allowed” to be a housewife in today’s society because it has seemingly been devalued by feminism.

Tradwife homesteaders also tend to be overwhelmingly Christian, with Christian beliefs sometimes being directly cited as support for the lifestyle. Though no religious practicioners are a monolith, this can make the space seem unwelcoming to the non-religious or those with religious trauma.

In addition, a homesteading creator’s religion is often portrayed the same way as the choice to be a housewife: with a perception of oppression and an implicit or explicit judgement of others in modern society who follow a different path.

Other Subtle Cues

Some other red flags in homesteading accounts can be more subtle.

In the case of both racist and anti-feminist ideology, homesteading content may make a point of romanticizing and keeping the “old ways” alive.

These “old ways” usually refer to the lifestyle of farming, as well as traditional images of motherhood. Posts may feature women in long dresses and aprons gardening, baking, and happily running after small children.


Here to keep old ways alive✨ 📸 creator: @urbanuprising (via Instagram) PS ❤️ and 📬 share this post with a fellow homesteady friend! Follow @bestofhomesteading for tips, inspiration, and stories from the homesteading community. 🐓 🐄 @bestofhomesteading 🐄 @bestofhomesteading 🐄 @bestofhomesteading The copyright of this post doesn’t belong to @bestofhomesteading, nor do we intend to monetize this content. It is edited and shared for purpose of awareness, if the content OWNER (visual/audio) of this post has any issue, we request you to directly message this page, thus we sort out the outcome. #SustainableLiving #BackyardFarm #ModernHomesteading #UrbanHomesteading #FarmLife #SimpleLiving #Permaculture #GardenToTable #HomesteadLife #OffGridLiving #CountryLiving #HobbyFarm #RuralLife #Farmstead #NaturalLiving #GreenLiving #Homegrown #farmlife #garden #growyourownfood #homesteadhacks #homeschooling #homeschool #SelfSufficiency

♬ original sound – Best of Homesteading

Because homesteading often refers to family farms, many homestead accounts are also family accounts. Posts may prominently feature the creator’s children, their faces visible, or discuss homeschooling. Family influencers have long been a cause for suspicion of exploitation. A most recent case is that of former family vlogger Ruby Franke, who was sentenced in February to four years in prison for child abuse.

Homesteader or not, when a child is a major part of a creator’s branding, it’s fair to be suspicious.

The Impossibility Of True Escapism

Creators nostalgic for the “old ways” tend to be straight and White, reflecting a certain tone-deafness towards the discrimination that haunted the eras of these “old ways.”

Similarly, a prioritization of “simple” life often embodies the privilege of ignorance and encourages apathy.

In an article in the Washington Post, Monica Hesse examines the appeal of “feminine leisure” that the tradwife seems to promise. Hesse references a video from a woman who expresses, “I don’t dream of labor. I dream of living a soft, feminine life.”

Hesse also looks at an essay published in The Cut by Grazie Sophia Christie

“I had grown bored of discussions of fair and unfair, equal or unequal…and preferred instead to consider a thing called ease.”

Grazie Sophia Christie, The Cut

Done in isolation, homesteading functions on the principle of “survival of the fittest.” But it is hubris to believe that one can fend off disaster from the safety of a bucolic bubble.

In the article from Business Insider, Malmgren has similar thoughts about preppers:

“Anyone who imagines a coming doomsday is faced with a choice: to prepare for it or to play a small part in working to stave it off.”

Evan Malmgren, Business Insider

Farming While Marginalized

The greenery and warm vibes of much homesteading content overlaps aesthetically with cottagecore. You may end up seeing both on your feed, and it can be hard to tell the difference.

Whereas homesteading may overlap with the tradwife lifestyle, the cottagecore aesthetic has found a home among the LGBTQ+ community, especially lesbian and other queer women. While a creator’s identity is certainly not enough to judge political views, it may be a factor to keep in mind. After all, it is hard to be a “traditional” wife when you don’t have a husband.

Additionally, whereas some homestead influencers promote nativist and White supremacist ideology, others seek to uplift the role of POC in outdoor and rural spaces.


Lets normalize homesteading being for all types of people- not just the hyper-religious trad wife side of farm tok my algorithm seems to favor. There is so much more to farm culture than that stereotype we so often see. #homestead #farmlife #farmgirl #leftist #marxism #commune #stereotypes #tradwife #politics #waterislife #humanrights #genz

♬ Cowpoke – Colter Wall

Thinking Critically

There are plenty of gardening- or rural-centered creators who do not espouse extreme-right views. At the end of the day, though, it comes down to considering the previously mentioned factors. Images can be misleading, and a photo of a beautiful garden says little about the person who posted it.

Here are some final tips for navigating homesteading (and all other) content online:

  • When you see a questionable post making bold claims, ask yourself:
    • Who is saying this? Who else is saying it?
    • Where did they get this information?
    • What is the evidence for their claim?
    • Do they have possible ulterior motives?
  • Engage with people outside of these circles
    • While personal social media curation can be a blessing, it can also create echo chambers of similar thought. Be willing to look at sources and listen to others you normally might not see. Even if you disagree, learning different perspectives gives you a better idea of the issue as a whole to develop your own thoughts.
  • Embrace community
    • As the homesteading life shows, it’s easy to distrust. It’s easy to become disillusioned with corrupt systems. Be willing to form support systems with your community to help one another instead of fighting alone.

The key to telling the difference is to practice and build one’s sense of critical thinking and media literacy. Sometimes, images don’t speak for themselves.

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I am a senior at the University of California, Davis, pursuing my bachelor's degree in English. In my free time I enjoy drawing, watching anime, and tending to my plants.

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