Traditionally, the far-right communities have been male-dominated spaces, while women have remained largely underrepresented. This tendency goes hand in hand with the prevalence of gendered narratives praising traditional gender roles: while women are given specific roles related to sexual activity, parenting, and domesticity, conventional notions of masculinities are praised in the far-right to distance men as far away as possible from what is considered weak and feminine, embracing an inherent misogynistic and homophobic mindset. These images of manliness work alongside specific physical attributes, and a recent trend shows that an increasing number of women are joining this discourse. Recently, a brand-new category of female influencers has entered the so-called alt-right, the online political sphere of the far-right, by serving a soft introduction to what can easily lead to a more radicalized mindset.  By praising their life at home as wives and mothers submitted to the male leadership, they succeeded in instrumentalizing their physical appearance as an effective leverage, spreading extremist ideologies while wearing high heels and flawless make-up.
By analyzing the current online and offline trends related to far-right aesthetics, this blog post unpacks the role of the body and physical appearance in the far-right, to demonstrate that the obsession over physical beauty is functional to the far-right narrative and a potential radicalization factor.

Framing the Cult of the Body
Why are bodies so important in far-right movements? According to Cynthia Miller-Idriss, not only are bodies “sites for regulation and discipline”, but they also contribute to strengthening the radical right's ingroup-versus-outgroup mentality.
This is not new, as many researchers have studied the connection between physical strength and right-wing ideas in the past years. In 2017, Dr. Michael Price from Brunel University conducted research on 171 men aged 18-40, gathering different data related to physical features, wealth, and gym membership as well as political and social beliefs. The study showed that more muscular men who spent several hours at the gym were less egalitarian, highlighting a correlation between those with higher bodily formidability and the belief that some social groups should dominate others.
A causal link is somehow ambiguous, and more research should be done on this topic. However, this link between hypermasculinity and the rejection of “sharing the resources” can be also recognized in the cultural backlash against feminism perpetrated by many conservative men. As the hostility towards feminism has created the idea of a common “enemy” across far-right groups, it also offered fertile ground for women to join the movement. Indeed, female propagandists and ideologues have recently emerged in the far-right online sphere as 'organic intellectuals' influential in the broadcast of traditional beliefs and principles. In their rhetoric, anti-feminism is central: they accuse contemporary feminists to be exclusionary by creating a hostile environment towards conservative women who consciously made their life choices. Connected to this, their hyper-femininity, meaning the exaggerated adherence to the stereotypic feminine gender role, is not only an instrument to cultivate ideal motherhood for the next generation of white supremacists but a driving force for their radicalization. “Women want to be beautiful, attract the best mate possible, and be protected and provided for until death. Any woman who says differently is lying to herself or will learn when it's too late. Beauty, family, and home, exactly what nationalism gives to women!” declared Lana Lokteff, the female lead of extreme-right media outlet Red Ice TV. Since women in the far-right think their value is biologically and inherently bound to the desire of men, beauty becomes the mean that enables them to reach this goal, by providing them the safety and the comforts necessary to live their best life.

The Far-Right Beauty and its Online Sphere: From Alt-Right Vlogs to Conservative Dating Apps
The hyperfeminine spectrum is clear if we analyze the trend of TradWives, whose rapid growth has been particularly discussed. TradWives (short for “traditional wives”) is a fresh phenomenon for the alt-right, represented by young white women advocating for the virtue of staying at home, submitting to their husbands, and raising children as part of a life devoted to a pastoral household. If looking at some videos online, TradWives are happy to share their daily routine: starting with a full hair and make-up session, they then devote their day doing grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning with a radiant smile with an impeccable outfit. Their aesthetics coming straight from the 1950s are constructed precisely to mask the authoritarianism of their ideology, giving a glittering surface of what is an active counterculture praising white nationalistic views. In this framework, women want to become traditional housewives to help the white race become glorious again.
And this comes with an open hostility towards the “dominant liberal culture”, which can lead to extreme radicalization. In a video published on the Red Ice TV channel, titled “The Dark & Perverted Roots of Gender Ideology”, Lana Lokteff affirms: «Today it is wrong to glorify a woman who is feminine and a man who is masculine. But perverting it, reversing it, so that the man is feminine, and the woman is masculine, is preferred and correct. And liberal society uplifts deviancy by putting down natural, healthy sexual behavior. The time to say no and to put your foot down, no matter how these freaks call you, is now!».

This narrative becomes particularly problematic if analyzed in relation to gender dynamics. To analyze it, it is sufficient to watch the video promo of “The Right Stuff”, a dating app for conservatives. In the video, several young women are presented in a mock interview, and they are asked questions about their ideal partner. At the question «What are you looking for in a partner? » a woman answers: «Definitely someone who wants to have kids». When the interviewer asks why they want to date a conservative, a woman replies: «Well, all the conservative men I have dated at least knew how to treat me like a woman», while another answers: «I like that they understand their role in the relationship as a man». «I just prefer my man to be masculine! », replies another woman.
Framing the hyperfeminine desire for a traditional and conservative relationship reinforces the far-right masculine values linked to white nationalism and male supremacism.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?
The attention related to physical appearance and conventional beauty has been a key component for the success of the far-right, especially online. The radicalization potential of this type of content is clear even if it is hard to tackle, and this is due exactly to its apparently clean and innocent outlook. For this reason, it is necessary to foster further research into whether and how a fixation on physical fitness and the body might intersect with other issues that can make young men vulnerable to radical right rhetoric.
This has been also clear in relation to the role female influencers have gained in the alt-right, hijacking “pro-women” discourse to spread nationalistic and misogynistic content online. As a result, the strategic deployment of traditional feminine aesthetics creates bridges between a common understanding of the term femininity and its translation in extremist communities. Since “femininity” is such a harmless term, YouTube users can accidentally engage with this kind of video in just a few clicks, ignoring the hidden message behind it. The usual online content of female alt-right influencers can appear with little to no difference from the many other fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and motherhood spaces online, even though it comes with darker intentions.
Connected to this, more attention should be paid to targeting anti-feminist narratives since, paradoxically, misogynistic online content could effectively recruit women to far-right causes. Most of the make-up vlogs of alt-right influencers make leverage the importance of coming back to femininity and valuing the common feelings and desires shared by “real” women while encouraging viewers to come together to fight back against the feminist elites who are oppressing them. This can constitute a real radicalizing threat, presenting a similar message to the one perpetrated by incels.
Lastly, it is important to develop a more systematic approach towards the narratives and strategies used in the alt-right, to grasp the way the aesthetics actively becomes political substance. Understanding the importance of physical appearance is essential to seriously consider the important role played by the body and aesthetics in the far-right, and how their strategic employment is constantly evolving.