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Trophy Wives and Blue Ribbon Wives

Written by Gary North on August 27, 2016

Trophy wives are ornaments for husbands. Men marry them because they want to be high-visibility winners among other men. “He is a winner. He got her.” They also hope for this reaction: “I didn’t get a trophy wife. I’m not a winner.”

A trophy wife is a status good: limited availability, heavy demand.

Spectacularly good looking women are tempted early to seek out a trophy husband. “He is applauded by a crowd. If he selects me, I’m a winner. Other women will notice.” It’s basically the reflection phenomenon: bright sun, full moon.

Each uses the other as a status good. Each gains validation from the other.
The impulse starts no later than puberty.

This is the foundation of marriages between quarterbacks and pom-pom girls.

I see this as co-dependence.


Then there is the blue ribbon wife. Blue ribbon status is not physically visible. It is earned over time. As with all value, it is subjectively imputed by others. It is based on superior performance under difficult conditions. It is imputed by men and women.

There are not many blue ribbon husbands. For men, superior performance under difficult conditions is rare. Men are expected to earn a decent living, avoid adultery, avoid scandals, stay sober most of the time, pay occasional attention to their children, and not gain more than 30 pounds after marriage. To get rich, famous, or powerful takes lots of time. So, the man who seeks any of these must place most of the burden of raising the children on his wife. This turns her into a blue ribbon wife if she is successful. It doesn’t make him a blue ribbon husband. He can become a trophy husband, but not a blue ribbon husband.

Blue ribbon wives are willing to back up their husbands in sickness and health — his or hers — and in wealth and poverty.

An example of a blue ribbon wife is the wife of a missionary or a physician who spends his life and hers in some primitive society, serving others. She doesn’t complain. She gains a good reputation among those whom she serves and also among the wives back home.

Another example is a wife who has five children of her own, and then adopts three more, possibly suffering from physical or mental deficiencies.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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