There’s A New Trophy Wife In Town


Article by Vuyi Zondi. Posted on May 25 2016 at 4:10 am

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:

  • Well-educated,
  • 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?

By Vuyi

9 Comments

  1. The “New trophy wife” who is career driven, intelligent and confident is definately the direction society is moving towards. More power couple type of relationship.

  2. But then who said “The old trophy wife ” lacks confidence,and is not driven?And the fact that the “New trophy wife ” is helping a Man build his empire what about hers?Don’t really see much of a difference hey between new and old trophy wife is still about a Man

    • Hi Malebza, true “it’s still about the man”… I think it will be for some time to come. I’m treading on dangerous territory now – but our African societies have been ebbed in patriarchy – it’s always (mostly) been about the man. So we’re making progress but we’re not there yet. I think as we empower ourselves, invest in ourselves as women we will start to define ourselves independently of the “man”. It’s a work in progress!

  3. Truth is, we should have been trophy wives to begin with anyway. Nevermind the new trophy.

    African men are struggling to accept the new age woman. Its hard enough or them to accept that we have our own opinions and wont necessarily support their. Tricky this life thing yazi.

    Thanks for touching on this Vuyi. Its a reality we need to address

    • Meant * Should’nt

  4. my first instinct is to jump up and say ” yes, I want to be equals with my man” and I do. But I’m also extremely attracted to a man that is ahead of me in some respects, something to look up to. I want to be in awe, inspired by him. Led even. I like feeling challenged and kept on my toes. not to say that someone who I am equally yoked with would inspire any less.

    This has me thinking Vuyi.

  5. Love this. Can you believe there are many women who have been taught to dumb themselves down in order to attract a husband? Shocking. I would love to think that the men we want to marry do not expect us to be barbies because I am certainly way more than that.

  6. I like, I love the ‘new trophy wife’ I love her kakhulu. A man that will not be intimidated a man that has traveled your journey and is now there to help you climb the ladder, who’ll guide you and mentor you. Viva to PowerCouple Viva!

  7. Why is it, that when the word love is mentioned it’s only in relationship to “BEING” ““the new trophy wife” and not a love between two people who also love each other enough to be bound spiritually and physically.

    When you’re talking about wives submitting in a Christian sense to their husband? Love is still not even mentioned. between two people except in the case of how much you “love it” reinforcing the ideal that a strong man wants a strong partner who can build his empire alongside him. Love it, love it, love it…”.

    Power, fame, wealth, vainglory, vanity, selfish ambition, status recognition. These will all fade to dust, only love remains.

    Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.”

    Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

    Ephesians 5:25-33: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, …


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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:

  • Well-educated,
  • 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?

By Vuyi

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