Trophy Diggers: Why Are They Not Judged Like Gold Diggers?

April 4, 2011  |  

Here’s a little history fact for all the young hip hop heads: EPMD was the first, in what would become a long tradition of hip-hop artists, to popularize an ode to the gold digger. In the timeless words of Erick and Parrish: “That’s why, men in the 90’s must watch themselves/ Cause ladies of the 80’s got hip and went for self.”

Although those lyrics are from 1990, they still represent a belief system that is as relevant today as it was during the golden era of hip hop.  The theory goes that a woman who seeks out financial security (and sometimes a little bit more) in exchange for love, she is considered a money-grubbing, gold digger. Folks say there are specific ways to spot a gold digger, including the way a woman dresses, the company she keeps (usually wealthy or professional men) and even how young and attractive she may be.

No one, regards of gender, believes that any woman who marries or dates an obscenely rich or prominent man does so for love alone. Just look at Melania Trump, current wife of Donald Trump; Heather Mills, former wife of rocker Paul McCartney; and Hugh Hefner and his assortment of playboy bunnies. No matter how much these women may have declared their everlasting devotion to these men, we the public simple refuse to believe it to be true, especially considering that the men in question are decades older and are not attractive as they once were.

While we collectively criticize and ostracize these women for apparently choosing money over love, their rich and powerful husbands or boyfriends rarely face the same scrutiny, when it is obvious that they base their “love” for these women off of their looks. As the old saying goes, if women are sex objects [then] men are success objects. So why is it that our collective reactions to these objectifications differ?

Just like the woman who marries a rich man for their ability to uplift them financially, there is a certain social status that comes with marrying a woman based off her appearance. A supermodel, beauty queen or video vixen could offer a prominent man the same status booster as can his vacation house, an expensive car or flashy jewelry. Even if a man is not as wealthy as say a Trump or even a middle class doctor, researchers believe that a man would be considered more popular or attractive if he had a beautiful or attractive spouse on his arm.

There is biological evidence that suggest that men often go for younger, beautiful women based off of a subconscious desire to conserve or even enhance their own genes. Women, who seek out financial stability, do so because of a subconscious desire to mate with the tribal leader, thus ensuring survival of themselves and their spawns. In less than scientific terms, we are a species of superficia­l, selfish, ignorant monkeys, who are driven mainly on primitive desires than our actual emotional desire to find “true love.”

Biology aside, though our society often celebrates one’s ability to equate physical desirability with love and romance, we ironically demonize the idea that other qualities, including financial stability, are equally important to matters of the heart. So if women are to be evaluated solely based on their appearance, it would only make it right that men be judged solely based on their ability to acquire wealth. After all, it’s just human nature, right?

Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.

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