Photo: Getty Images. Posed by model unrelated to this story.
Now that we live in a post feminist, post equality, post post liberation society*, it’s important that we begin to reclaim all of the roles that feminists tried to ruin with their word-forming lizard tongues.
There’s been the rise of the Retro Mummy, resplendent in frilly aprons and awash with the empowerment that comes from ‘homemaking’ and being surrounded by organic cotton. Immaculately made up women in fitted 1950s gear beam out from trend pieces designed to massively over-inflate the impact of a very small group of people. Their perfect homes are supposedly an advertisement for a newer, simpler way of living, away from all the pressures of the career aspirations and financial independence that may or may not have formed part of the feminist conspiracy to ruin the world.
Now, the New York Post is trying to get us to swallow the idea of the ‘Trophy Wife 2.0’. It’s every bit as bad as it sounds, and let’s be honest - it sounds pretty bad. It isn’t enough for your modern day Trophy Wife to be merely beautiful, thin and around 15 - 20 years younger than her financially solvent mate. No, now she has to be all those things and a businesswoman in her right with bonus points for every Masters degree she holds. Feminism! Women doing things while doing other things!
Forgive me for being obtuse (after all, I don’t even have one Masters degree, let alone a swag of them that I can use to buy myself a rich husband) but I thought the term ‘trophy wife’ went out of fashion with scrunchies and Sex and the City’s dreadful movie franchise. The idea that any woman - particularly one who’s gone to the trouble of acquiring multiple university degrees and amassing small fortunes off their own bat - would be content, nay, enthusiastic about adopting a term for themselves that implies subjugation is baffling.
The Post introduces us to women like Stephanie Adams, a former model and current writer of 25 New Age books who boasts her own seven figure investment portfolio; Julie Lin, a former marketer who quit her job after marriage and now writes the blog ‘Life of a Trophy Wife’; and Donna Spangler, author of the guide ‘How To Get A Rich Man: The Princess Formula’. Together, they are supposed to provide evidence of the Trophy Wife’s reinvention and subsequent resurgence in the arsenal of ‘career goals’ available to young, privileged women drifting around New York’s financial district.
Lin (who calls herself a Trophy Wife 2.0) cites other ‘modern trophy wives’ married to rich men as evidence of the trope’s evolution, arguing, “They’ve shattered the myth of the bimbo with the designer handbag, because they are educated, worldly and ambitious.” Like the rest of this article, Lin seems to ignore the fact that the whole point of a ‘trophy’ is that it does nothing but signify someone else’s achievements while being constantly replaceable by something newer and shinier. One might wonder as well why such modern heterosexual men, interested as they seem to be in a woman of independent financial means and ambition, would be content to have her referred to as his prize. As other writers have pointed out, wouldn't a more accurate description of such a pair be 'power couple'?
But such questions are designed to lead readers down the rabbit hole into a realm of nonsense. Because apart from attempting to capitilise on a phenemona that is essentially non-existent, this article is just one long troll (and one that’s been syndicated across at least three continents now). The only real trend showcased here is the one that exploits stereotypes in order to pit women against each other while inviting disdainful commentary from the public in general. Feminists, embroiled as we are in our envy of attractive, ‘feminine’ women, are being prodded to unfurl our scorpion tails to strike out against them.
Meanwhile, armchair cultural professors who congregate in the comments boxes of every outlet ever can delight in offering unsolicited on all manner of important topics, such as whether or not the subjects’ in question are sluts with a lot of ‘mileage’ on them, or how women in general are either all gold-digging bitches at heart who’d rather sponge off a man than put in a hard day’s work, or how those who might question the merits of such an arrangement are obviously just bitter shrews who can’t get laid and may or may not be fat.
It’s tempting to get caught up in outrage when demonstrably stupid things are published on the internet. But Trophy Wives As Feminist Statement is not a thing that is happening. While the New York Post may have been able to assemble roughly four or five names (including the ones who didn’t consent to be interviewed and so potentially don’t even self identify as trophy wives) to wedge into their poorly constructed attempts to capitalise on the debut of a new TV show, a handful of self motivated publicity seekers doth not a trend make. As everyone's favourite self motivated Machiavellian schemestress Regina George might have it, stop trying to make fetch happen NYP.
* Warning: May contain traces of sarcasm