Chennai: Have you ever wondered about rich and powerful men who parade their ‘trophy wives’ and what those women gain out of such relationships besides money or contacts? No one ever got a convincing answer but an interesting study by sociologist Elizabeth McClintock of University of Notre Dame has concluded that the ‘trophy wife’ is actually a myth and is usually judged on ‘selective observation’ to reinforce sexist stereotypes and undermine women’s careers and capabilities.
A trophy wife refers to attractive women who marry rich men giving little or no importance to physical appearance, age or other factors. As for the man, he doesn’t bother too much about aspects other than the partner’s appearance. “Majority of the women look for stability and security in a relationship. In cases of all trophy wives, they are almost always involved with men who are either famous or rich. It helps them bask in reflective fame that they would otherwise not enjoy. It helps them establish themselves in the upper echelons of society and older men look at them as arm candy. The ability to attract a younger woman boosts their male ego, but they are a minority,” says psychologist Dr Dheep.
The instinctive reaction by the majority on seeing an older man (Not George Clooney but the mere mortals!) with a younger woman is ‘She’s in it for the money. What could she possibly see in him?’ Gold digger, shopaholic, bimbo are some of the whispers you’ll hear in social circles.
The new study results show that it is hardly a trend. Barring the odd occurrence, successful men are attracted to successful women and similarly handsome men to beautiful women. “People are very conscious about who they are with even if it isn’t a serious relationship. Men prefer a one-night stand than a relationship with attractive women who care little about career and have no personality. Everyone wants to be seen and associated with people with a strong personality and social status,” says Imran, an IT professional from Chennai.
The study results showed that on average men higher up the social ladder did in fact have better-looking wives but only because they themselves were good looking and well groomed. For example, they were likely to be ‘less overweight, have financial capacity to afford fashionable clothes, arrange trips to the dermatologist.’ Besides being attractive, the strongest factor to pull two people towards a relationship is their similarity in ‘education, race, religion and interests.’
Popular singer Chinmayi adds, “When it comes to marriage, it’s natural for people to expect to be with someone who has a strong financial status. Perhaps this differs in the case of a boyfriend. But it’s impossible to come to conclusions from studying a limited set of people.”
Trophy wife checklist:
1. Do your credit card bills magically vanish at the end of each month?
2. Do you spend without looking at the price tag?
3. Do you know the latest fashion trends but not the whereabouts of your partner and when quizzed you respond saying “He’s on a business trip”?
4. Does he lavish you with extravagant gifts for being absent and neglecting you?
5. Do you have a lot ‘friends’ who bitch about you?
If you have nodded your head for all the above then you are probably a trophy wife