For those who believe in the existance of a “trophy wife”, shun the stereotype. In fact, most women do not trade beauty for money and if they do so, it’s a rare phenomenon.
According to new research, “trophy wife” stereotype is largely a myth fuelled by selective observation that reinforces sexist stereotypes and trivialises women’s careers.
“I find that handsome men partner with pretty women and successful men partner with successful women,” said sociologist Elizabeth McClintock from Indiana-based University of Notre Dame.
On average, high-status men do have better-looking wives but this is because they themselves are considered better looking.
“Also, the strongest force by far in partner selection is similarity in education, race, religion and physical attractiveness,” McClintock noted.
She reached these results after analysing a nationally representative sample of young couples in which both partners were interviewed and rated for physical attractiveness.
“There are many examples of rich men who partner with successful women rather than ‘buying’ a supermodel wife,” McClintock added.
“I have heard doctors’ wives referred to as ‘trophy wives’ by observers who only notice her looks and his status and fail to realise that he is good-looking too and that she is also a successful professional or was before she had kids and left her job,” McClintock said.
Actually, beautiful women are unlikely to leverage their looks to secure upward mobility by marriage, she concluded in a paper set to be published in the journal American Sociological Review.