Trophy Wife? She Doesn't Really Exist
Successful men typically end up with successful women
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2014 10:09 AM CDT
Donald and Melania Trump pose for photos at a news conference, in New York, Thursday, May 1, 2014.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – Before you assume the attractive woman married to the rich guy is a trophy wife, read this: A new study finds that stereotype is largely a myth. The belief goes that, when it comes to mates, rich men care about physical attractiveness more than any other attribute (like level of education or success), while attractive women care more about money than anything else (like physical appearance). But researchers found, when looking at a nationally representative sample of couples, "handsome men partner with pretty women and successful men partner with successful women," says sociologist and lead author Elizabeth McClintock. She also found that it's fairly rare for an attractive woman from a lower social class to move upward via marriage, according to the press release—and, in fact, men are just as likely to do so, New York reports.

"High-status men" do, on average, have more attractive wives, McClintock notes, but that's because the men themselves are also considered more attractive than their less successful counterparts. Why is that? "Perhaps because they are less likely to be overweight and more likely to afford braces, nice clothes, and trips to the dermatologist," McClintock suggests. Though "trophy wife" partnerships do exist—McClintock points to Donald Trump and Melania Knauss-Trump—they're rare. "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," McClintock notes. The most important factor when it comes to who will marry? Similarity. (A recent study found you may have more in common with your spouse than you think—like DNA.)

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Showing 3 of 67 comments
Jun 23, 2014 4:51 PM CDT
He gets the trophy. What does she get...the booby prize with a comb over?
Jun 22, 2014 6:07 PM CDT
A flawed study with flawed conclusions. No early-to-mid 20s male has enough money and power to have a trophy wife. This study uses early to mid 20s males and females, and the trophy wife/rich-powerful man pairing happens only when the man has accumulated enough wealth and power to trade for a younger beautiful woman. No young male has that at such an early age. If the study had looked at pairings of, say, over 50 year old rich/powerful men with very attractive women in the late 20s to early 40s, and found the same results as the study that looked at very young people, then their conclusions might be valid. The way the study was conducted, the conclusions are not acceptable. The trophy wife phenomenon definitely exists, since so many women are very willing to trade youth, beauty, and fertility for wealth, influence, and power in a man.
Jun 21, 2014 2:15 AM CDT
OK, I am officially done with Newser, for them to put this story under the heading of science.