Target's 'Trophy Wife' Shirt Is All Kinds Of Wrong

Target really stepped into a hot sexist mess this week when people got a look at a new shirt the retailer is peddling to juniors with the word “TROPHY” proudly emblazoned across the front. Trophy wife. Get it? 


Needless to say, some women are taking the glorifying of the role of “Trophy Wife” to teenage girls the wrong way. A petition has launched to convince the retailer to stop selling the shirt. Now some people don’t see what all the fuss is about. Pretty girls marrying well is a proud tradition as old as white wedding dresses, and if some girls aspire to marry a man with deep pockets so they don’t have to work, so what?

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Well here’s the problem: A word like “trophy” used to describe a woman sounds eerily like the attitude of men who don’t see women as humans at all, but simply as a prize to be taken and displayed. Not a partner or spouse, just a pretty object to make him look cool. Gross.

From the petition:

[T]he truth is that millions of women and young girls are taken as ‘trophies’ every year in war, sex trafficking, slavery, and rape. The perpetrators see women as ‘things’ that are bought, sold, traded, and 'won' through force where they are then beaten, abused, tortured, raped, and murdered for the sole purpose of "victory." The word trophy should not refer to any person, man or woman, because we are not THINGS -- we are human beings.

She’s got a point. It’s not just vapid and a little distasteful to glorify the role of trophy wife. For millions of girls around the world, being handed over as an actual trophy is a real thing. And we should be aware of that fact. 

Make no mistake, there’s nothing antifeminist about being the partner of a rich person. But being a “Trophy Wife” suggests a whole other level of sexism and powerlessness.

Whether you think the shirt is an affront to feminism or just a bit of cheeky fun, we can all agree we want to empower our girls to be able to choose between being a “Trophy Wife” or a nuclear physicist. Both are fine. But being a trophy wife isn’t really a career and doesn’t come with a whole lot of job security, so it might be a good idea to have a backup plan. Maybe Target just needs to add another shirt to the collection that says “ENGINEER”?

I think I’d be fine with that. 


Image via Target

Becky Bracken is a news and views writer who serves it up with a sassy side of girl power. If you don't have anything nice to say, you should probably sit next to her. Get more at

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