The term “trophy wife” has taken on a new, more upscale meaning. Men are finding the most attractive and sexually desirable women are not brainless beauties whose sole function is to look good and stay quiet, but women who are making good money and are in positions of power (See: Amal Clooney). The woman who got ahead on her looks by marrying a “sugar daddy” is now being replaced by the woman who is equal to her man in earning power and career position. That’s sexy.
It goes further than that. According to anthropologist Dr. Stephen Juan, who recently appeared on The Today Show, we are seeing the demise of the “trophy wife” and welcoming the rise of the “power couple”.
Says Dr. Juan:
A really strong man wants a woman who is equal to him, that is the truth of it now. A weak man wants someone that is docile and a servant to him — it is a real sign of insecurity in a man to want a brainless trophy wife. Wives can be beautiful, intelligent and have careers and opinions just as strong as their partners.
When Mark Zuckerberg married his college sweetheart, Priscilla Chan, he married a woman who isn’t only eye candy; she’s a medical school graduate with eyes on a career who clearly demonstrates the new parity among married couples. Priscilla is not alone. Sociologist Christine Whelan, in her 2006 book Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women, documented that research has found higher-income women are more likely to marry than women with less earning potential and they are marrying partners with equal high-income.
The days of a well-off older man who has a brainless beauty on his arm at social functions seems to be a deal out of Mad Men. Educated, intelligent women are the ones most sought-after by men of the same caliber. Brains are the new beauty.
There may be a historic social change occurring here. Men’s attraction to professionally achieving women is one piece of a much larger story as to what people in the 21st century want in a partner. Men in their 20s and 30s in relationships with strong and high-salaried women are relieved that they no longer have to be the sole breadwinner and decision-maker. With her own high-paying career, the new trophy wife is highly educated, self-assured and able to hold her own financially. She’s also not afraid to intimidate any male that has antiquated ideas of gender roles.
Call it the rise of the alpha woman or simply the beginning of a new era in relationships, the new trophy wife is a woman who succeeds on her own and can hold her own in the boardroom as well as the bedroom. To paraphrase Henry Kissinger, a powerful man who married Nancy Maginnes, a powerful woman: “Power, success and financial security are the ultimate aphrodisiacs”.