I recently scoured the internet to find the correct definition of the term “trophy wife”. It was a little tough because the meaning of this term has changed with time. The Internet was full of definitions ranging from “gold digger” to “homemaker of a wealthy older man” but the definition I liked the best and which seemed to be the most modern was found on Wikipedia.
Trophy Wife: (n) an expression used to refer to a wife, usually young and attractive, who is regarded as a status symbol for the husband, who is often older and wealthy (i.e. celebrities, wealthy business men).
It’s funny to me how not one of these definitions online made the mention of being seen and not heard, yet growing up all I can remember is a day when the “Trophy Wife” was to be just that. I believed it to be one of those rules that was unspoken. No one needed to actually say it, it was just known. That went for the wives of lawyers of prestigious law firms, celebrity wives and the athlete wife. My perfect example of a trophy wife is Jackie Kennedy. She was beautiful, poised, classic and stood by her husband strong but silently.
We have now entered a time where the trophy wife has given herself a platform to speak her mind publicly instead of leaving it to their husbands in the limelight. Ladies, we are in a world where, on a day-to-day basis, celebrities are scrutinized for expressing opinions in the media. Apologies and damage control plots are on the rise and the best advice I can give is an oldie but goodie…think twice before you speak. This is a great motto for people in general and especially those in the public eye but the beauty of that statement is: not only good for them but it’s also great for their families and spouses.
In the last few years wives of athletes have made their personal expressions very relevant in the media but exactly how much is too much?
After the Patriots suffered a devastating loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championships, there were a lot of emotional feelings, but none as surprising as what came from Ana Burns, the wife of New England wide receiver Wes Welker. A Facebook posting she wrote surfaced saying, “Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis’ Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!”
Now on the one hand, it’s great to have an opinion and exercise your freedom of speech but remember, you’re the wife of someone in the public eye. Any remarks and thoughtless behavior affects and has the potential to damage your husband’s career. (Now I like to throw the occasional dig myself being an NFL fan since age 11, but if it meant added scrutiny toward my husband or his organization, I’d make sure no one was around to hear me when I put my foot in my mouth).
This isn’t just about Ana Burns; there are countless others who have publicly embarrassed themselves by allowing senseless outburst to arise. Lest we forget, my personal favorite, Victoria’s Secret model/wife of Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, reacting to a couple of hecklers after the Patriots/Giants game without realizing there was a camera present. She shouted, “My husband cannot f***ing throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time.”
Now I am not unsympathetic to emotion. Sports are an emotional thing, especially when your husband is out there. There’s nothing wrong with having their back, but as a wife, you have a voice, which must be used for good. These athletes have a lot to bear as it is, they don’t have time to worry about what their wives are saying and doing in the media.
It’s 2013. I get it. We women have worked all of these years to be heard but sit back for one second and try to name five trophy wives of the past. For instance, who was married to Muhammed Ali? Or Rod Stewart? Or even Joe Montana? They came from a time when wives were supportive but left the fame and trash talking to their husbands.
Don’t be afraid to adopt the behaviors of a modern-day trophy wife. Have a life and make a home for your family. Be successful. Be poised. Be classy. Stand by your man and have his back the best way you can, and if that means silently, so be it!
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