The “Trophy Wife”: Reality or Myth?

dtrumpWe’ve all heard the myth of the trophy wife, but is it a reality? The idea is that rich men seek out attractive women, and attractive women seek out rich men. However, a new study of a nationally representative sample of couples found that “handsome men partner with pretty women and successful men partner with successful women,” according to sociologist and lead author Elizabeth McClintock.

The study also found that attractive women in a lower class rarely moves up based on marriage. Men are actually just as likely to do so as women.

It is true that “high status men,” on average, have more attractive wives, but that is often due to the fact that successful men are considered more attractive than unsuccessful men. On a physical level, this can be because successful men are “less likely to be overweight and more likely to afford braces, nice clothes, and trips to the dermatologist,” McClintock suggests.

This is not to say that trophy wife partnerships don’t exist – they are alive and well. McClintock points to Donald Trump and Melania Knauss-Trump. This study just shows that they are rare. The name “trophy wife” gets thrown around when it is not true and can be used as a way to slight an attractive woman with a successful man. For instance, McClintock has “heard doctor’s wives referred to as trophy wives by observers who only notice her looks and his status, but fail to realize that he is good-looking too and that she is also a successful professional.”

Overall, the study has found that the main factor when it comes to marriage is not necessarily physical attractiveness or success, but the similarity two people share in these areas.


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