"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trophy Wife or Old Hag?

When I'm not interested in the NPR story during my morning commute, I often switch over to my local conservative talk radio station just to hear what's going on in the fake news. Because, you know, sometimes it's fun to hear all about how global warming isn't real, how all of our problems can be solved with more guns, and about how liberals want your children to have sex. Yesterday morning's discussion was an extra special treat, though. Listeners were calling in to discuss whether or not potential Republican Presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife Jeri Thompson Kehn gets to qualify as a "trophy wife."



Now, at this point, any feminist in the listening audience is hearing sirens and seeing flashing red lights, knowing full well that there is NO possible way this "discussion" is going to proceed without all sorts of sexism spewing out from all directions. So I prepared myself for the worst, and boy did I get it. In a misguided attempt to be respectful despite the ridiculous topic, the host kept referring to her as a "lovely woman" as he fielded callers. There was, of course, no actual consensus as to whether or not she had earned the title, but those in favor of her trophy wife status noted that her comparative youth (she's 40 and he's 65) and her "hotness level" qualify her as a certified gold-digger, while the naysayers claimed she was far too successful and smart (she's an attorney and political media consultant) and most importantly too old to be considered a trophy wife.

In our dichotomy-obsessed world, it's a lose-lose situation for her. Women have to be pinned down into a nice, neat, offensive stereotype, or our media just doesn't know what to do with them. She's either reduced to brainless blonde bimbo on the arm of a rich and powerful man, or her age and position are used to strip her of her sexuality so that she can fit into the proper mold of "potential first lady". Gross.

1 comment:

Cara said...

You know, I'm SO SICK of talking about Presidential candidates wives at all. Absolutely everything I hear about them from the mainstream media is just repulsive and offensive. And I have yet to figure out what a president's spouse has to do with qualifications to be president, anyway.