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beauty is pop culture // sex rules the world 

  • Arianne Obi

Pasta and Lobster with a Side of Mormonism: How does race play in to the fuss over Nara Smith?

Pasta and Lobster with a side of Mormonism: Why the fuss about Nara Smith?

Mrs Smith has been the Tradwife on everyone’s lips, but does she deserve such negative attention, and how much of this comes as a result of social politics and misogynoir?

The internet is wrapped around Mr and Mrs Smith - not the 2000s Brangelina spy flick, or the 2024 remake for that matter - but Nara Aziza and Lucky Blue Smith. Whilst Lucky captured the hearts and minds of teenage girls on the internet circa 2014 with his sapphire eyes and southern drawl, his wife seems to have developed into somewhat of a cultural phenomenon. There are many questions that remain unanswered - how did this black beauty bag Tumblr’s most eligible bachelor? How is she successfully raising three kids and pregnant with another whilst other 20-somethings can barely take care of a houseplant? The mind boggles.

Now, if you’re not under 30 and on the World Wide Web, this may be as easy to understand as Simlish. In simpler terms, they are the couple on everyone’s lips, the Posh and Becks of TikTok, if you will. There’s been a lot of natter about the return of the super couple, an obsession which Emily Chapps calls ‘modern-day fandoms as a replacement for what religion used to fill’. Together, they are a powerful item, but whilst Lucky remains …well…lucky enough to avoid a furore from followers, Nara is often the subject of fierce criticism, green-eyed jealousy or fawning adoration.

Image Credit: Instagram

Mrs Smith is flying the flag for Tradwives - conservative women taking over social media with their homemade bread and broods of moon-eyed children who patter about without a care in the world, naive from the dark realities of the Mormon Church. To the untrained eye, Internet Mormonism and Tradwife Culture seems like a whip-smart satire of Americana, but it’s a 21st-century brand of US Conservatism. We know Mormonism is increasingly gaining traction among young democrats and that political ideology is getting increasingly polarized. Therefore, as a gender divide emerges and as feminism loses appeal over Gen Z men, perhaps many women are intrigued by new agenda and drawn into the ideals of conservatism. Screenshot HQ claims that people love these Tradwive’s idyllic lifestyles , and so, of course, it would make people drawn by this blissful, wholesome, even way of life.

The word ‘Wholesome’ is seen as a compliment among the iGeneration, signifying more good times online and getting positivity trending. With Gen Z tapping into 'wholesome' culture - a way of life that is cosy, sincere, warm and fuzzy - it is no wonder that Mrs. Smith’s ‘soft life’ content - full of prairie dresses, dewy eyed toddlers and homemade cereal - speaks to the nihilistic hearts of the young, their daily dose of dopamine and escapism in a doomed world…or maybe young liberals see her content as addictive as watching a car crash unfold.

That said, this ‘Soft Life’ is unique to black women. It is not just an encompassing of wholesome culture but a maxim amongst new-gen black women to embrace a life that accepts ease, relaxation and holistic enrichment. Post girl-boss, it is the antithesis to hustle culture, so race becomes a discussion point when Mrs Smith is considered as a woman privy to a life of comfort domestication either under the guise of personal choice - reclaiming her femininity and redefining strength  -  or the doctrines of mormonism - enslaved under a religious cult and spreading misinformation.

People love to play judge and jury on her position as a black woman associated with the Later Day Saints Church; a man-made arm of the Christian Church which has repeatedly excluded and enslaved black people. Junkee argues that she would not receive as much hate had she been a white Mormon, and that her white counterparts do not receive nearly as much criticism as she does. The central issue would be if she used her platform to promote discriminatory rhetoric on which Mormonism was founded, but this doesn't exactly appear to be true. Criticism of her is often riddled with Micro-aggressions such as that she has ‘mean girl energy’ and - of course - coming from non-black viewers, whose jealousy is masked by criticism of her lifestyle. This policing is so often received by black women that it can only bBlack women so often receive this policinge suggested that, an element of her negative attention comes down to the colour of her skin. 

Image Credit: Twitter

On the other hand, black women far and wide have been praising her for her lifestyle; enjoying observing a young, wealthy, beautiful (need I go on) woman living a ‘soft life’ instead of succumbing to stereotypes of black suffering which typically thrives in the media. The hashtag, ‘Black Girl Luxury’ hosts 560.7K posts on TikTok, whereas ‘Soft Life’ boasts 222.7K. These hashtags have become huge internet breeding grounds for content showcasing POC girls and women unapologetically enjoying themselves, free from the burden of hardship, grind and responsibility. 

To go even deeper, the internet has created what we’ll call the ‘Pasta and Lobster’ effect. No, this is not a Snapchat filter, but instead an expression used 'when a black girl gets with a white guy that treats her good'; made famous by singer Kalii in Area Codes. This comes as a result of the idea that black women are always ‘chosen last’ or face dating discrimination by all races. Whilst the phrase somewhat fetishises Interracial Dating, it also seeks to capture the essence of being doted upon, loved with integrity and respected.

Video Credit: TikTok

Black struggle, particularly when love and dating are taken into consideration, is all too often sensationalised; therefore, to be adored by someone at the highest echelon of privilege catches either the positive or negative attention of her audience, at points escalating to misogynoir, an intersection of racism and sexism. Lucky Blue is the protagonist in every pre-pubescent girl’s Wattpad Story, a Gen Z reinvention of DiCaprio in the 90s. Naturally, for him to choose Nara (a South African and German) as a worthy partner gets the internet divided with some praising her relationship and lifestyle for embracing love, peace and navigating diversity, while leaving others thinking, ‘How come she gets to live like that?’. My answer to them? Life's not fair babes.

Love her or hate her like Marmite, at the end of the day, she's just a 20-something like us, figuring stuff out...even if she is living a life we can but only imagine.

 Are you passionate about exploring the intricate worlds of beauty, sex, fashion, wellness, and culture? Do you belong to a marginalized community and have unique perspectives and stories to share? If so, Nightstand Service is eagerly seeking contributing writers like you! Get in touch:


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