The traditional image of what we have come to know as “the trophy wife” is being challenged. The traditional, accepted description of a trophy wife is a beautiful, mostly younger woman who has an appetite for opulence, and lives to be by her man’s side; she is almost an accessory to his much more achieved and successful livelihood. The ‘old’ trophy wife is a bit of a bimbo – to be non PC – and a trophy. She is breathtakingly beautiful, make no mistake.
Recently, there has been a plethora of social commentary and written pieces on what has been termed as “the new trophy wife”. In an article titled “The New Trophy Wife”, Huffington Post explores this topic and arrives at the fair conclusion that more and more men are pursuing, marrying and settling down with women whom they consider to be their equals.
Their equals? What does this mean?
It is being asserted that we are seeing less of the trophy wife and more power couples. Men are seeking companionship from women that match them in their appetite for achievement; similar levels of ambition; and a bit surprisingly, women that are in equal income ranges. Alyssa Enwright of The Thought Catalog also opines on the interesting topic of the new age trophy wife. In this article the new trophy wife is described as having these basic characteristics; she is:
- A hard-worker,
- Opinionated and outspoken
- An adventurer that appreciates new experiences, and
- Unsatisfied – she is still hungry for more, and actively pursuing greater achievement.
These are all good and well, but let’s bring it back to the African context, shall we?
Let’s be honest the African socio-cultural dynamic is uniquely different to that in the West. Like it or not, patriarchy is deeply entrenched in the fundamentals of many African cultures, social norms and practices. [Note: This is in no way a degradation or denigration of African society, more than it is social commentary in light of gender studies and related findings.] With this said, would HuffPost’s “new trophy wife” definition and discussion hold in an African context? This is still a largely grey area.
I personally love the idea of “the new trophy wife”. I love the underlying anthropological reasoning that men are increasingly seeking women that are their equals. This is not to upset the well-recited Christian notion that a woman must submit to her man – that is a totally separate discussion. The idea that men seek women who are their equals is a complementary view to both men and women, methinks. It re-enforces the ideal that a strong man wants a strong partner who can build his empire alongside him. Love it, love it, love it…
Returning to the reality though, social media thought leader Khaya Dlanga recently posted this tweet:
“Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women – Natalie Portman”
It’s a profound quote with so much to be unpacked from it. It sadly rings true to an extent, and one wishes it could be less panging in its truth. I am the first person to bitterly dislike the narratives that “men are intimidated by strong women”, “men don’t want women with their own things” and so it goes… These are re-enforced stereotypes that men lack “strong enough” characters to handle women of similar achievement, drive, lifestyle standards and related. It’s a tired generalisation and a get-out-of-jail-free card for both sexes. I don’t want to believe it.
I believe a mindset change is required from both sexes, from women who believe that men are intimidated and fear them and from men who assume that their male role and authority is threatened by a “strong”, “independent” woman. This mindset is restrictive. Why shouldn’t we strive for POWER COUPLE unions, should we so desire?
I would love for our societies to begin to shift towards the embrace of the “new trophy wife”. Do you believe that the conception of the new trophy wife who is “an intelligent, confident, career-driven woman who is as capable as her male partner in earning power” is a fancy shmancy pie in the sky ideal that rarely exists or that it is a direction that society is undoubtedly moving towards?