The Equal Teammate Is The New Trophy Wife

The term ‘Trophy Wife’ is familiar to many of us in less-than-flattering contexts. While sometimes it qualifies as a compliment in guy-speak when referring to a man’s beautiful wife, the connotation is that she essentially is just that – a trophy. She is likely young(er than him) and beautiful, but is probably well taken care of by her husband. See also: Arm candy.

A trophy, being a prize, is something to be obtained. It is a symbol of accomplishment to be shown off to friends, but has little other function to it other than just looking pretty.

Perhaps a few decades ago, this was an appealing prospective relationship to be part of, but today’s women are stronger, bolder, better educated, and more independent. They may make just as much as, if not more than, the man in their life. They know what they want, and what they don’t want is to just be someone’s trophy.


But this evolution, I feel, has also seen similar progress in the men’s camp. We see A-List celebrities like George Clooney marrying an incredibly successful woman after many thought he would be an eternal bachelor. At 53 years old, it was not a ‘trophy wife’ who settled down one of the world’s most eligible men, but a woman who, in many ways, surpasses his success.

Similarly, just recently Hollywood actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt married Tasha McCauley. Not an actress, not a model, not a singer, but co-founder and CEO of Fellow Robots, a robotics company based at NASA Research Park in Silicon Valley, California.

I believe men are understanding that a beautiful face means nothing without a beautiful heart and a beautiful mind. Good, mature, established men are recognizing the value of having a teammate in life. Someone he can take on the world with. Someone he can share ideas and discuss the world with. Someone who can stand on her own and is with him because she wants him, not because she needs him.

Perhaps there was a day when attending an event with a beautiful woman who would stay by your side during the whole evening and look beautiful was the ultimate aspiration of the successful man, but no more. Today, men want a woman who can arrest the room equally with her intelligence as she would with her beauty. A woman who will others marvel at her opinions and ideas rather than just her looks. A woman who he could walk away from while he goes for another drink and be confident that she will be able to hold her own.


While beauty will never cease to be appreciated, it cannot stand on its own two legs (no matter how great those legs might be). To keep the attention of today’s men, it needs to be supported by substance. Depth. Passion. Curiosity. A strong, independent mind.

A strong, confident man will want to be one half of a power couple, not some sort of dictatorship. A confident man secure in himself is attracted to women with equal confidence. Only insecure men need a woman who relies on him and doubts her own personal power.

Are there men out there who do not want to be challenged? Who want to be in control? Who want their wives to spend their time in the kitchen while he goes out to be the breadwinner? Sure, of course. There are all types of men and women in the world, but the trends are shifting.

Fewer and fewer men are being satisfied with this type of arrangement and want someone who will walk beside them on a journey they will share together. I know I do.


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21 thoughts on “The Equal Teammate Is The New Trophy Wife

  1. James—this article could not have appeared in my inbox at a more profound time. I find myself in a situation—this very moment–where the man I’ve been dating for the past month or so has yet to “clear out the pipeline”. Because of the way this came to light, I reacted as most women would and became upset. He tells me that he realizes he has feelings for me and wants to take those somewhere, but feels the need to politely end things with her (vs. just telling her there is someone else). We are currently at an impasse where I need to decide if this is something I want to pursue or not.

    I do see potential with him…we get along well (same humor and personality), good chemistry, same type of relationship goals.

    While I can understand and appreciate him wanting to handle a situation delicately, I feel it in some way diminishes his feelings for me.

    I do think I’m a great catch, and that I don’t have to settle for the affections (or lack thereof) of anyone. Now that this has come to light, I do feel as if he is being open and honest about his intentions…with me and also with this other woman.

    Do you think I’m sacrificing my confidence and self-worth if I actually give this guy a chance to let his actions meet his words?


    1. Hi Amy, I can only share my experiences. If you found out as opposed to him telling you it’s a red flag. I also question why he didn’t finish this previous relationship before starting another? I have found that people’s behaviour doesn’t change that dramatically so if he’s already been dishonest, can you trust him going forward? Be on your guard. I also highly recommend James’s article ‘When people show you who they are, believe them’. Wishing you well. Alix

  2. Thank you for writing this. Just today I was talking to a girlfriend about this exact concept. As a woman, I too am looking for a man that stand beside me who has a light that matches my own.

  3. Men of quality have always looked for their power equal. My great-grandparents are an example. I think the concept of the “trophy wife” –who really has not been much of a trophy–should be re-named “the insecure male’s pacifier.” Water seeks its own level, and men have always–for generations—selected the partner they deserve. One’s emotional maturity level really is the tell-all. If you are dating a man who can’t tell the difference, then you are really dating a boy. Move on.

  4. I get the feeling that a lot of people are getting tired of being in relationships that are insubstantial. A lot of my friends, at least, seem to be looking for more than a hookup. And having a “trophy wife” or “arm candy” also equals “boringest conversation ever.”

  5. “but today’s women are stronger”

    That is to say, yesterday’s women were weaker. And, wow, what a statement. I suggest cracking open a history book or at the very least having a real conversation with someone’s grandmother and then revisit that thought.

    The rest of the post isn’t much better. At best this reads like the thoughts of “the new” chauvinist…

  6. This article is absolutely right on!!! The paragraph exerp in the ‘Open Letter to Men…’ article, is as true a statement as any I have read from James. Having been a follower of his articles for a little over a year now, I have not only learned more about myself, learned what I DON’T want in a relationship, but most important… I deserve a relationship that is mutually beneficial, 100/100, and moreover, equally nurturing.

  7. “The truth is, guys, you’re starting to make a liar out of me..”

    This is from your GMP post.

    The problem James is that most good men have been lied too!!! Lied to by too many women. So, there is no real incentive anymore for good men to be outwardly so. Like myself, many have turned inward.

    Women seem to only want the good men when they are over 30 or 40 and only want us to be great dads, good providers, and safety nets. We are undesired and unloved even from our wives. Sex is usually non existent and/or unenthusiastic…Just what good man want s a woman who has gone through 20,30,40 sex partners? I don’t! I speak for myself.

    I think men like yourself and others who write from a pro-feminist GMP slant need to start asking the good men of America how they feel. Instead, it would appear as if you prefer talking too us and telling us how we need to be. We don’t need that James. Nor do we need your pity. “Just hang in there boys…she just around around the corner..” Life is too short to wait for unreliable women who when they do arrive only make your life ever more miserable.

    Sorry to sound so harsh. But, enough of the sugar coating of things. If women are the predominate people replying to your post then there is obviously a reason. What this should really tell you is precisely how good men feel. What you write simply is not reality for most men. It is pure fiction. As such most good men feel it is pointless. So, why even bother. At the end of the day, the effort is unrewarded. Why? Because few women even bother to ask us how we feel or what we even like or desire in life.

  8. You realize you are still grossly objectifying women in this essay, right? Like no women are making choices here, the man is still deciding what is and isn’t desirable to have as his partner. A trend may sway from tall buxom blonde to hoist on his arm to the appropriately dressed intellect who can chime in impressing his company with the fact that he is secure enough to have found an Equal. No fucking shit men want to be with smart and competent women. What you should be writing about is how you’re going to land our asses. Having relationships based on vanity is easy. And I’ll bet those “trophy wives” would probably like to be called something else. Maybe just Wives. Maybe just Women. Maybe just People. Write some essays on how you’re going to be smart and competent enough to be everything that a real woman actually wants. Fucking Male Entitled Bullshit. This is condescending as fuck. Ladies stop commenting like it’s congratulatory or noble. No man who thinks you’re his partner is going to come up front and tell you he needs a partner. He’s going to be scared shitless of you and try as hard as he can to do you right. We have all the power here, don’t let dicks like this try to talk you into thinking they’re the ones making the choice.

  9. i am a good man of 43 years old living in vermont. honest hard working non drama. problem is is a lot of women are liars, cheaters, wont work for a living or have any self esteem. things like communication and trust these days are replaced with selfishness and greed. hell i just got done a month ago with a woman i knew for 10 months relationship who i found out lied cheated then went to her ex. like that will ever work. exs are exs for a reason. so i guess i will also ad that common sense appears to be rare in a woman out here as well. so yes after a long time of this im not going to be to forward towards a woman. im going to be cautious and look hard ask questions. live with someone for a year before any serious commitment to find out who they really are first.

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