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[Opinion] Power Couples

Posted January. 17, 2007 06:42,   


Donald Trump, an American business executive and real estate developer, once said, “There are two things that I can’t do much about: business and love.” The American businessman who made his fortune in real estate investment but once suffered a heavy failure has got married three times. Accidentally, all of his three wives have been famous models. He divorced and got married again when his ex-wives became old. That’s why Americans consider Mr. Trump one of the most typical examples of a man who gets himself a “trophy wife.” “Trophy wife” refers to a young, attractive woman married to a man who is powerful or rich enough to be desirable to such a woman despite his age and thus to serve as a marker of this status, hence the “trophy” part.

A husband with a successful career and a full time wife has long been a symbol of a perfect marriage. In the West, a working wife means her husband doesn’t make enough money and has achieved little. However, such a widely believed perception seems to be changing. Of late, high-flying men increasingly prefer a woman with high-paying professions to a full-time wife and stay-at-home mom.

The Sunday Times named successful husbands and equally prosperous wives “power couples.” The burgeoning numbers of “power couples” are contributed to an increase in the number of women entering the workforce, reduction in the gender wage gap, improvement of child care facilities, and widespread male acceptance of female success. The most typical “power couples” are Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tony Blair and Cherie Blair. Celebrity couples such as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and David Beckham and Victoria Beckham are also suggested as such couples.

There is an old saying in Korea that plates can’t be lent because they will be returned broken and women should stay at home otherwise they’ll be considered unchaste. But, there are so many “power couples” in Korea that Koreans have got accustomed to the trend. A survey done by a college newspaper found that a whopping 98.5 percent of female respondents said they would not give up their career even after marriage while 89.4 percent of male students responded they expect their wives to work. Sometimes, a fight between a husband insisting his wife’s continuing to work and a wife who wants to quit her job leads to a divorce. These days, chances are very low for a woman who dreams of staying at home with children to support her husband and try to be a perfect full-time wife to be welcomed by men. Women don’t have to be as successful as a wife of a “power couple” but they have to get a job if they want to have a husband at least.

Chung Seong-hee, Editorial Writer, shchung@donga.com