WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

A Trophy Article

ccupaiuolos Icon Posted by Christine Cupaiuolo

July 9th, 2007

Cross-posted from Women’s Voices for Change

From an image standpoint, The New York Times probably has a point devoting an entire article to the potential impact of Jeri Kehn Thompson, wife of soon-to-be Republican candidate Fred Thompson. She is 24 years younger than her husband, and she is much less of a public figure than other potential first ladies on the campaign trail.

But the article’s approach is alarming on several levels. It begins by pondering the public perception of Jeri Kehn Thompson and how much she epitomizes a “trophy wife” — a sexist term (as Keely Savoie notes) the NYT attempts to elevate with some history:

On a morning cable news show last month, Joe Scarborough, the commentator and former Republican congressman from Florida, compared Mrs. Thompson to a stripper. The comment came after a segment on the use of stripper poles in exercise routines, but it still stung. It is hard to imagine a man, however handsome, suffering similar insult.

The term “trophy wife” was coined by Fortune magazine in 1989 and immediately entered the language. Although it often has a pejorative spin, the term originally meant the second (or third) wife of a corporate titan, who was younger, beautiful and — equally important — accomplished in her own right, which describes Mrs. Thompson.

New York Times writer Susan Saulny, though deserving of kudos for acknowledging the double standard, has no excuse for spending the rest of the article treating Jeri Kehn Thompson as a mere object of study, rather than as a human being. For a story purportedly about the effect she will have on her husband’s campaign, readers are told virtually nothing about her family history or career. The only salient facts are that she is “a former Senate aide and spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.”

We do learn that “photos of her in form-fitting gowns” are “circulating on the Internet,” and that on the campaign trail, “her most dramatic statements have been sartorial, like gold-lamé wedge sandals on a campaign stop, or a plunging neckline for a Washington dinner.”

But we learn nothing about where she grew up, how Jerri Kehn and Fred Thompson met, what it was like for her to be spokeswoman of the RNC, or what occupies her time in the present-day.

Saulny instead spends most of the article soliciting commentary from a variety of sources — from conservative consultant Frank Luntz, who thinks political spouses as a rule are not important, to the website, Footballguystalk.com, where “Mr. Thompson not only won votes thanks to his wife, but one anonymous poster said, ‘I think he’s my new idol!’”

While opinions differ about Jeri Kehn Thompson’s potential impact, everyone seems to be in agreement that she is “attractive,” “pretty” and most significantly, “so much younger and vital” than her husband. Saulny asserts that her “youthfulness, permanent tan and bleached blond hair present a contrast to the 64-year-old man who hopes to win the hearts of the conservative core of the Republican party.”

Buried in the piece is the fact that Jeri Kehn Thompson is 40 years old and married her husband later in both of their lives. We’d like to think that at this point someone might give her a little agency, a little credit for being herself.

24 Responses to “A Trophy Article”

  1. http://www.cliffordcommercial.com/louis-vuitton-sully.html
    July 23rd, 2013 08:20

    The Paris tourism safety guide also provides in detail how to discern between true and false police officers, how to prevent bag was robbed, how to identify true and false taxi, and in the face of violence or stolen when visitors should be how to deal with, also carried in the report to the police, ambulance, bank report the loss, and the Chinese embassy contact by taxi

  2. call center
    October 15th, 2013 15:59

    I have learned some new things by your blog. One other thing I would really like to say is that newer laptop or computer os’s usually allow additional memory to be used, but they likewise demand more ram simply to function. If an individual’s computer could not handle a lot more memory plus the newest program requires that ram increase, it may be the time to buy a new Computer. Thanks

  3. Yong Levels
    November 21st, 2013 05:29

    I¡¦m now not positive the place you’re getting your info, but great topic. I must spend a while learning much more or figuring out more. Thank you for excellent information I used to be searching for this information for my mission.

  4. Christoper Tuning
    November 22nd, 2013 09:11

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I found it for him… lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this issue here on your website.

  5. Quinn Maheux
    February 4th, 2014 20:22

    I’m very happy to discover this great site. I need to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and i also have you bookmarked to look at new stuff in your site.

  6. Web Hosting Services
    March 18th, 2014 00:28

    Thank you, I’ve just been looking for info about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have came upon so far. But, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive about the supply?

  7. office interior design
    March 27th, 2014 19:56

    You really make it seem really easy together with your presentation but I to find this topic to be really one thing which I believe I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complex and very wide for me. I am having a look ahead for your subsequent post, I will try to get the hang of it!

  8. cheap michael kors outlet clearance
    March 31st, 2014 01:00


  9. Marcelo Leight
    March 31st, 2014 11:29

    Wow! Thank you! I continuously wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I take a part of your post to my site?

  10. acne chart
    April 18th, 2014 12:07

    The heart of your writing whilst sounding reasonable initially, did not work properly with me after some time. Someplace within the sentences you were able to make me a believer unfortunately just for a very short while. I however have a problem with your jumps in assumptions and one would do nicely to fill in those breaks. In the event you actually can accomplish that, I could definitely be fascinated.

  11. Casandra Wallinger
    April 25th, 2014 00:21

    Thanks a lot for giving everyone a very pleasant opportunity to discover important secrets from here. It really is very fantastic and also stuffed with amusement for me and my office colleagues to search your site at least thrice a week to study the new items you have got. Of course, I’m also certainly contented with your powerful suggestions you serve. Some 1 areas in this post are unquestionably the simplest we have ever had.

  12. German Vanderweide
    April 26th, 2014 17:09

    After research a couple of of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I actually like your manner of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site record and might be checking again soon. Pls take a look at my website online as effectively and let me know what you think.

  13. Check This Out
    June 30th, 2014 20:39

    Thanks for the points you have shared here. Another thing I would like to talk about is that pc memory demands generally rise along with other developments in the technological innovation. For instance, any time new generations of processor chips are made in the market, there is certainly usually a similar increase in the shape demands of all computer memory and hard drive space. This is because the application operated through these cpus will inevitably surge in power to use the new technological innovation.

  14. bramy śląsk
    August 7th, 2014 08:19

    F*ckin’ remarkable issues here. I’m very glad to peer your post. Thank you so much and i am taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  15. Trundle Bed
    September 26th, 2014 04:10

    You made some good points there. I did a search on the subject matter and found most guys will go along with with your website.

  16. Gaming Keyboards
    September 26th, 2014 04:13

    Well I sincerely liked studying it. This tip provided by you is very useful for correct planning.

  17. prom dresses
    September 26th, 2014 04:40

    I appreciate, lead to I found exactly what I was taking a look for. You’ve ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

  18. computer components
    September 26th, 2014 05:31

    I have read several good stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you place to make this sort of great informative site.

  19. budget calculator
    September 26th, 2014 06:09

    Thanks for another informative website. The place else may I get that kind of info written in such an ideal means? I’ve a challenge that I’m simply now operating on, and I’ve been on the glance out for such info.

  20. Classic Car
    September 26th, 2014 06:16

    Hello there, You’ve done an excellent job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  21. Rikki W. Ziego
    October 4th, 2014 13:45

    If some one needs expert view about running a blog afterward i suggest
    him/her to visit this web site, Keep up the fastidious work.

  22. http://www.eft-sa.co.za/author/VKittredg
    December 2nd, 2014 18:23

    Great beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a weblog web site?

    The account aided me a applicable deal. I have been tiny bit acquainted
    of this your broadcast provided brilliant clear

  23. gadanie
    January 29th, 2015 05:44

    Fajowa sugestia o jasnych rysach

  24. Catheryn Domenico
    February 2nd, 2015 07:14

    Hi, I was wondering if anybody on this forum can confirm this: My mother just saw a posting on Yahoo News that said Alan Rickman was just robbed gunpoint and that Vince Vaughn, Arnold Vosloo & Kirsten Dunst had something to do with this. Someone please confirm this is not true.

Leave a Reply