Why the Term “Trophy Wife” Is Derogatory

Trophy wife is a derogatory term that refers to a young, attractive wife regarded as a status symbol for an older successful man. Before I explore the term “trophy wife” and express my opinion on it, I think it is important to explore its history as well. History leaves footprints and precedents and in this case, it isn’t any different.

Origin of the term “Trophy Wife”

The term “trophy wife” reportedly first appeared in an issue of The Economist newspaper sometime in 1950. The article described trophy wives as beautiful women who were captured by soldiers and warriors and brought back home as wives, treated like they were ‘souvenirs” from war. 

Trophy wives are often believed to be women who are eye candies, with zero personalities whatsoever, and are only physically attractive. They are also deemed to be “high maintenance” women whose only role is to ensure that they remain as aesthetically pleasing for as long as they can so that they’ll continue to be the perfect sweethearts beside their significantly older spouse. 

Why it is derogatory

First, I believe the term is very derogatory, in all of its essence. Trophies represent rewards for achievements, and I believe it is impossible to reward someone with another human being, unless you’re referring to slavery. 

Second, this term reeks of sexism. It’s 2021 and I think it’s the perfect time to do away with beliefs and stereotypes that women are antiques that should be cleaned, protected, and kept in a trophy case, because the truth is, it is very patronizing and most importantly, false. 

Let’s not pretend that this term is used remotely in any woman’s interest. Trophy wives are often seen as, or, called “gold diggers” and whores because of society’s moral view of their relationship with a significantly older man. 

Finally, the most important reason I believe this term is deeply problematic is that it objectifies women. If I won a trophy for being the “writer of the year,” I’d probably clean it every morning, look at it with so much pride and say “that’s my trophy” to anyone who cares to listen. But I won’t ask my trophy if it has dreams, I would not care for its feelings as well, all I’d want to do is show it off. 

Now, think of a full-blown human being, with dreams, feelings, aspirations, being treated or referred to as a trophy. It is not only derogatory, but it promotes the idea and belief that women are only useful for their pretty faces. The term “trophy wife” is nothing but a slur, derogatory and disparaging. 

Women are not objects, hence they cannot be trophies. It is not remotely funny, humourous, or a compliment to throw the phrase “trophy wife” at any woman.

Read Also: South Africa Has a Rape Culture Problem

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