Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Trophy wife' stereotype is largely a myth, new study shows

18.06.2014

Don't be so quick to judge.

Most people are familiar with the "trophy wife" stereotype that attractive women marry rich men, placing little importance on their other traits, including physical appearance, and that men look for pretty wives but don't care about their education or earnings.

New research, however, by University of Notre Dame Sociologist Elizabeth McClintock, shows the trophy wife stereotype is largely a myth fueled by selective observation that reinforces sexist stereotypes and trivializes women's careers.

In "Beauty and Status: The Illusion of Exchange in Partner Selection?" forthcoming in American Sociological Review, McClintock resolves the paradox between the trophy wife stereotype and the evidence that couples match on both physical attractiveness and socioeconomic status.

Using, for the first time, a nationally representative sample of young couples in which both partners were interviewed and rated for physical attractiveness, McClintock was able to control for matching on attractiveness. She says prior research in this area has ignored two important factors.

"I find that handsome men partner with pretty women and successful men partner with successful women," says McClintock, who specializes in inequality within romantic partnerships. "So, on average, high-status men do have better-looking wives, but this is because they themselves are considered better looking--perhaps because they are less likely to be overweight and more likely to afford braces, nice clothes and trips to the dermatologist, etc. Secondly, the strongest force by far in partner selection is similarity — in education, race, religion and physical attractiveness."

McClintock's research shows that there is not, in fact, a general tendency for women to trade beauty for money. That is not to say trophy wife marriages never happen, just that they are very rare.

"Donald Trump and his third wife Melania Knauss-Trump may very well exemplify the trophy wife stereotype," McClintock says. "But, there are many examples of rich men who partner with successful women rather than 'buying' a supermodel wife.

The two men who founded Google (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) both married highly accomplished women—one has a PhD and the other is a wealthy entrepreneur."

McClintock says the trophy wife stereotype is most often wrongly-applied among non- celebrities.

"I've heard doctors' wives referred to as trophy wives by observers who only notice her looks and his status and fail to realize 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 says.

McClintock's research also indicates that, contrary to the trophy wife stereotype, social class barriers in the marriage market are relatively impermeable. Beautiful women are unlikely to leverage their looks to secure upward mobility by marriage.

Elizabeth McClintock | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.nd.edu/

Further reports about: appearance attractiveness couples marriage socioeconomic status trophy wife

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Sierra Nevada freshwater runoff could drop 26 percent by 2100, UC study finds
02.09.2014 | University of California - Irvine

nachricht Ride-sharing could cut cabs' road time by 30 percent
02.09.2014 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

IT security in the digital society

27.08.2014 | Event News

Understanding the brain—neuroscientists meet in Göttingen

27.08.2014 | Event News

MEDICA EDUCATION CONFERENCE: Bessere Behandlung dank Biomarker

21.08.2014 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart fluorescent antenna for Wi-Fi applications

02.09.2014 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Blowfly maggots provide physical evidence for forensic cases

02.09.2014 | Life Sciences

Single laser stops molecular tumbling motion instantly

02.09.2014 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>