According to ABC News,
“Real Housewives of Atlanta newbie Porsha Stewart is the consummate housewife, or “black trophy wife” as she likes to call herself. For her husband of barely two years, Kordell Stewart, Porsha cooks, cleans and hosts charity events for Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, a charity started by her grandfather civil rights activist Hosea Williams.
Being a trophy wife per se is not just about your outer looks. It’s about the man who has put you on the pedestal and him admiring you and thinking well enough of you to put you up there,” Porsha told ABC News Radio. “And I think it’s important for our little girls to know that they can be a princesses and they can have it all…So I feel proud to represent — and I use the word lightly — the black trophy wife.”
Of course, all of this was probably said prior to Kordell giving Porsha her walking (also known as divorce) papers…
Foreseeable conclusions aside, Porsha does raise an interesting point. While most women might see her extolling of the trophy life as some sort of setback for the women’s movement, there is no denying that in spite of all our advancements in a capitalist and patriarchal society, beauty still has a real currency. As such being a trophy wife can conceivable be seen as another viable option as any of the other sex-positive career choices women today have. I mean, after all, it is about selling a lifestyle. And while definition on views a trophy wife is a status symbol in reality a trophy wife knows how to trade off her beauty as capital for economic gains. Despite the less than respectable reputation the term receives, there is a lot of time, energy and money that goes into maintaining the image of a trophy wife. There are the work-outs, cosmetic surgery, having to endure daily attention from a glam squad and spending tons of money on the best and correct outfits. Additionally a trophy wife also has to be the beacon of grace, virtue and submission; knowing when to fall back and keeping your opinions to yourself, smile pretty and let her man shine, which is basically all the time. She also is likely charged with keeping up appearances for the entire home front. That means making sure the estate is in order, clean and comfortable; making sure the house staff is doing their jobs; throwing the best soirees and maintaining the facade of respectability. In essence, a career as a trophy wife can afford a woman lots of positive and rewarding outcomes including financial security and access to other means of financial security – just in case your job as a trophy doesn’t work out.
Unfortunately it still appears to be a white woman’s only club. The long standing joke is that when black men get money, black women are nowhere to be found. Of course, there are many prominent black men who have been able to enjoy their success while married to a black woman. Chief among them is President Barack Obama. But generally when you see rich and powerful men like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Kanye West, it is not uncommon to see a woman of another race grace their arms. Sure, some marry for love however there are some men, who marry for status. And within this group is a sizable portion of black men, who abide by Eurocentric standards of beauty, which places whiteness at the top and blackness, which on women is viewed as unfeminine, at the bottom. Therefore by obtaining a white trophy partner, these men can feel themselves closer to endowing a status, which would enable him to acquire all the privileges that come with whiteness in American society.
It may seem like a terrible nuance to nitpick who gets to sit up on the pedestal and be subjected to the male gaze but it says something when white women can be valued just alone by their physical appearance and lineage whereas a black woman has to obtain education, have a good career and basically work like a damn mule in order to be considered a viable spouse. Some may actually prefer it this way especially considering that Porsha’s situation as a trophy didn’t work out for her. However all may not be lost: Luckily for her, she didn’t sign a pre-nuptial agreement. Maybe she is not that dumb after all.