Is It Wrong To See Women As Prizes?

This is article #43 to be published on the Get The Guy blog from my brother Stephen. Steve helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

(Photo: Thomas Hawk)

Enter Stephen

I’m curious: How do you feel about the idea of being earnt?

Does it make you feel special, like a precious seven-leaf clover a man has to search his entire life to find, or does it make you feel like an object – as though you were a trophy to be placed in a cabinet next to his other accomplishments?

I ask because our folklore is filled with countless stories of men performing daring acts of bravery (and stupidity) for a woman in order to “win her heart”, or “prove he’s worthy of her love”.

Fables and legends are replete with knights running off on some misbegotten quest to slay dragons and climb towers to earn the right to a maiden’s affection. Video games make this idea of earning females even more palpable, with many arcade classics having you sweat and toil through countless dungeons, bashing buttons to destroy hordes of baddies and bosses, only to finally gift long-suffering players with a princess at the end as a reward for the hours of eye strain and calloused thumbs.

For some people this image of women being rewards reflects the worst aspects of male-female relations. It seems to reduce women’s role to being a passive trophy that men fight for, leaving them to do little more than wait for the right guy to show up with a sword and armour, ready to ride off with her into the sunset.

Others see women being a prize as something special, reflecting a matriarchal culture that places women as the power-holders in the dating game. “If women are the prize”, they’ll say, “then that means women are the choosers”. It means that women have power of selection – they get to decide which males gets picked and which get left out of the dating pool.

Either way, there’s certainly no shortage of evidence that men are obsessed with proving themselves worthy of female attention. Whether it’s a Hugo Boss suit, a Tag Heur watch advertised by Leonardo DiCaprio (“Leo gets girls, I’ll get girls too!”), pumping out those few extra bicep ‘curls for the girls’ at the gym, or a Ferrari promoted with a pin-up model draped over the bonnet (“Models like this car, if I buy it models will like me too”), guys are always subconsciously seeking out the next ornament that will make them noticeable to women.

I don’t think that’s bad in itself. Men looking to impress women is nothing surprising or troubling, even if they blow more hard-earned income than they would ever care to admit in their pursuit of love (both carnal and emotional varieties).

What is troubling is when guys think that their achievements entitle them to women. This is when you get those retch-worthy narcissists who become enraged and bitter when women aren’t impressed by their riches, or when, god forbid, women demand he have a personality and invest his emotion as well. This is the type of guy who doesn’t think women are prizes, he thinks they’re something he deserves, which leads to all that ugly entitlement misogyny and other anti-feminist behaviours from guys who think that being able to buy whatever they want means being able to have whoever they want (I know it sounds like I’m just digging into wealthy guys here, I’m not. This disturbing attitude can also come from smart-nice guys, or dumb-hot guys, who think their intelligence or looks somehow mean a woman ought to drop to their knees and be thankful for their very existence).

Now despite all this I have to be honest: there still remains some appeal to the idea of women being a prize.

But it’s the kind of prize where he feels lucky to have her. The kind of prize where he feels privileged to have been chosen, like he was the one person in whom she found the most unique combination of incredible qualities and thought “This guy. This guy is something special”.

It’s the idea that she could have selected any number of men out there who were on their knees for her but she decided that he was worth the investment. That’s what I think it means when a guy is truly proud of the woman he’s with – that’s what makes him desparate to show her off to his friends and family so that they too can see how amazing she is, and maybe in turn think: “Wow, he must have something special about him to get a woman like her”.

The Ultimate Male Beauty Contest

I’ve talked about how much men will do to impress women.

But no-one goes quite as what you’ll see in this video below. It’s a video of the Ultimate Male Beauty Contest.

This is something you won’t find in any nightclub.

It shows an annual courtship competition during Niger’s famous Festival of the Gerewol. Every year, young warrior men wear make-up, whiten their teeth, pop out their eyes, and dance for hours in the baking Saharan heat, all in order to win the affections of a desirable women!

The most desired women then inspect each man during this ritual and decide which of them is beautiful enough to be worthy of taking on a date, or even marrying.

Check it out below:

Are men the prizes in this, or the women?

Either way, there’s no doubt who gets to do the choosing.

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43 Responses to Is It Wrong To See Women As Prizes?

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  1. Nina says:

    I wonder: Do men have any idea how difficult it is for us to wait for them to make their move?

  2. Shev says:

    I love this article, Stephen! Especially after reading Matt’s recent posting on ” unique combination of traits a woman possesses ” and the negative comments that accompanied it. I would hope to be thought of a prize to be earned, by a man who has a unique combination of traits as well!! I am truly blessed when I see the greatest example with my parents relationship of over 43 years!!! :)
    Unfortunately, the number of men I have encountered in the past, believed by having a certain trait ( or two) entitles them to women. They act shocked and confused. It doesn’t help that I have family members that agree with their views as well. :(
    So I will continue to strive towards being a prize earned, by continuing to cultivate my combination of unique traits, in hopes that I will be viewed as a prize someone is lucky enough to earn! ;)
    Thanks again for another thought provoking article! I look forward to reading them, so please keep them coming!
    Warmest Regards,
    Shev XX

  3. edith says:

    Dear Stephen,
    What about a guy who is sceptical about this idea?
    I got to know a guy that lives quite far away from me and seems to be very interested in getting to know me better. He said that we should meet and started debating who should visit whom. I insisted he needs to come to me. He answered that it seems to him like I have a way to traditional attitude and “looks like he has to earn it”… I answered that I am just not so far yet to visit him and will do it if I am sure that I want to date him… he wasn’t completely satisfied with the answer….
    I would be more than thankful for some commentary!

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Sounds like he’s not trying hard enough to be honest. He may be playing around and joking though, which is fine, but if a guy likes you he won’t mind coming to visit you for the first meeting!

      Steve x

      • edith says:

        Stephen, thank you so much for answering!!! I appreciate it so much!!!
        He doesn’t mind coming to me first. We even set a date. He just doesn’t like that I am not willing to come to him first and said it looks like he has to earn it… which he also didn’t like… is this guy weird? ;) :)

  4. Kathryn says:

    I love your line ” like he was the one person in whom she found the most unique combination of incredible qualities”. This is the definition of love isn’t it really, a combination of two individuals (we are all incredibly unique and different in our make-up) finding those qualities to be special and wonderful to each other. And when the bond of that interaction is enhanced by finding each other beautiful, in every sense of the word, then surely each is going to feel as though they have a prize, like Christmas has come early.
    The video is amazing in the set up of everyone knowing why they are there. It surely takes out an awful lot of the guesswork! You wouldn’t have a place with your blog posts in that culture Stephen, lol.
    We obviously live in a culture of product placement and high value placed on material goods. You know, who doesn’t like a bit of luxury. And maybe men displaying luxury watches and the rest is like the African men going to all that trouble to make themselves look more alluring. A lot of value is placed on outer beauty and when we say someone is beautiful inside and out it sounds like an awful cliche. But I think this is the embodiment of those unique qualities being shown to the outside world. I’m completely fascinated by Marion Cotillard. She is quite obviously, by any stretch a physically beautiful woman. But she has the kind of illuminous beauty which just seems to radiate from inside. In one of her latest films the Directors, I’m sure you know, are known for their socially realist films and she acts as a working class woman who works in a factory and is depressed. One of the critics said she just eminates a luminous beauty even in her supermarket clothes, hair scraped back and no make up on. To the point where, if she turned up at the door one weekend asking to urgently see your husband, you probably wouldn’t let her in. You look at her (in real life) and think, now there’s a prize. Any man who wins her heart would surely think he had a prize in all the best sense of the word, the way I think you are describing its meaning in love relationships. And any woman should be able to feel that way. If you both happen to feel that way, it would surely be a sign of something very special.
    Thank you Stephen for another great article. Your creativity married with your sensitive and intelligent insight and wonderful writing skills just some of the unique qualities you share with us here. xx

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Thank you Kathryn, that’s really flattering of you to say.

      I agree about Cotillard – she has a really unique way about her as well as her physical looks that makes her seem so warm and lovely to be around. I’ve found this true of women i’ve dated in the past as well. What really makes them a prize is the way they radiate a goodness and love for people that shines through in the way they carry themselves. It’s very rare.

      All best,

      Steve x

  5. Teresa says:

    I agree with everything in this article Steve – and I love that video about the male beauty contest, haha! I think the manner of “earning” the woman is the important thing. If she is earned through investment and respect and demonstration of a man’s suitability, goodness to her, etc. that is positive. If she is earned simply by a man having a certain kind of car, well that’s not earning HER, that’s adding her to a collection of status symbols, just like a trophy, and coming from a different place.
    As a woman, I like, nay NEED, to feel prized, and I do to an extent like to “show off” my man as well. But it is definitely important that a man be proud to be with me, and a desire to “show me off”, in all my aspects (well ok, maybe not literally ALL!), is not wrong to me, I’d be worried if it were not there!
    Another illuminating article, I do love to read these, please keep writing!

  6. Kiraz says:

    I was thinking maybe you can write or talk about how much sh*t someone is supposed to get from his/her partner, as in what is the limit of being patience and tolerance with people taking you for granted?

    You start seeing someone, and once you start getting closer they start taking you for granted. By being closer, I don’t mean leaving everything aside and dedicating oneself to satisfying him. I mean, you get closer because you care more.

    Easy earned, hard earned, no matter how it starts they feel like they own you and you are not going anywhere. They become disrespectful, arrogant and careless. Especially if anyone ever looks down on me or make fun of something about my personality, I lose my feelings in that instant.

    And when I leave, they get upset, beg me not to leave. 6 months to 1 year later they call back again and ask me if there is any chance. I am telling you. Every.single.time. I got messages from 2 different people from the past last week. I was totally expecting it.

    What is wrong with people? Why can’t you just value what you have without taking it for granted? Do you expect a woman to throw her pride aside and take your sh*t? Would you be attracted to a woman like that? I can just put on my jeans, walk down the street to the bar and pick up another guy. But I know that guy is probably gonna end up the same way. They all do.

    I am, of course, very conscious about this now. I don’t approach people with a preset mind, but I think maybe we need to accept that 90% of men out there are full of sh*t and they will take you for granted no matter what.

    Seriously, do not underestimate the shortage of quality guys who know what they are doing. Most guys have no idea.

    • Kiraz says:

      Let me rephrase: 90% of men don’t know how to maintain a high value woman for long term.

      • Margot says:

        I think you will need to change your mindset. I believe that is what leads you to low-quality, selfish men. It is not true tha 90% of men aren’t Able to keep a high value woman. Where did you get that from?
        Because of your above belief you put up with men that don’t treat you right. Also, when you believe 90% of the male population are unsuitable, you lose the ability to discern high quality from low quality.
        Also look out for your relationship patetns. Psychology shows us that recurring patterns point us to things we need to work on ourselves. You end up with guys that take you for granted? I guess the lesson is for you to be assertive about your needs. In what other relationships do you allow your needs to be neglected? Ask yourself if you neglect your needs too. Are you a people-pleaser or rescuer? If not, keep investigating yourself. Food for thought.

        Forget the “make it work” mentality. It takes two to have a great relationship. If the guy isn’t doing his part, say “so long”! And from the experience with him, you will have learned more of what you don’t want in a man, which in turn shows you what to look for.

        • Kiraz says:

          Margot, I am not sure if I didn’t convey myself properly or if you didn’t read my post properly.

          I didn’t say I had relationships with low-quality men. I guess, everyone’s definition of quality is different depending on their own world views and life style. I do have very high standards. My parents invested in me a lot, and I invested in me a lot. I don’t date just anyone. I dated the kind of guys who knew how to act, dress and talk properly in the society. They were a catch for most women.

          You said: “It is not true that 90% of men aren’t Able to keep a high value woman. Where did you get that from?”

          Where did you get that they are not??? I have so much people experience, I wouldn’t know where to begin. My parents had a large multinational friend circle when I was growing up. I have traveled and experienced different cultures for long periods of time. Now I live in downtown Chicago. When I walk into a bar, I see variety of people from different parts of the world. I don’t just sit and stare around like an idiot, I observe people/couples. I watch how they act, talk etc. I read a lot. All my people, work and dating experience so far have proven me that men take you for granted once they believe they got you, and no amount of encouraging talk can change it. You can’t change people.

          They act like kids who want the sophisticated toy in the toy-store but don’t know how to play with it when they take it home. They forget that I value them because I think they are valuable, not because they think they are valuable. Their self-importance comes to surface after a while.

          My reaction to being taken for granted has never emotional or violent. It was not like “How could you do this to me?”. It was more “Look. We have different personalities and want different things in life.” kind of logical talk. I end it in friendly terms (no I don’t make friends with them later on) and I wish them well. I don’t take it personal. I know I don’t cause their negative behaviors. Because I never stop trying to impress my partner. It is in my nature. It is not even something I see as extra work. And, I do add to my qualities all the time. For example, I took a bartending course last year for fun, because I like making delicious cocktails. I created my own little drink menu. When friends visit in special days, I give them the menu and make them nice drinks.

          I was discussing what is limit of taking sh*t from someone in my initial post. Is there such thing as too much pride? I am tolerant of small personal differences- the kind that wouldn’t affect the quality of the relationship. But I don’t put up with disrespect to my personality. Most people put up with all the bs, that is how they stay in long-term relationships. They prefer comfort to passion. Both men and women are doing it. They think relationship is about putting up with their partner.

          I don’t be with someone to feel less, I be with him to feel more. And it should be a regular effort from my partner to make me feel more. As Matt and Steve put it “Never stop trying to impress your partner.”

          I am a complete person. I know who I am and what I want. I know what men want. The reason I stop by this blog is to support the unconventional, idealistic and even futuristic mentality behind it and to remind myself that I am not the only no bs person I know.

          • Stephen Hussey says:

            Hi Kiraz,

            I agree with a lot of the responses from others on this comment. I think it is a personal matter how much you put up with before walking away.

            I’m not sure what disrespect to your personality would entail. For me red flags are things like:

            1. Hugely divergent life plans/visions for the future
            2. Different emotional needs and expectations for affection/love etc.
            3. Feeling like your partner doesn’t care about you independently of their own needs (i.e. self-centered behaviour)
            4. Having VERY different interests and pursuits (to the point where you have incompatible personalities)
            5. Emotional manipulation

            Apart from that, I suppose only you know what you will and will not tolerate from someone else. Some people *do* have unfair expectations of others, or they are overly judgmental, and I believe that can be damaging to helping find a partner i.e. someone who interprets their partner having independent interests and career plans as them being “selfish”). In that case, it’s up to us to ask: Are my criteria too high or unrealistic, or even unfair?

            As for meeting amazing people, yep they are rare. That’s always been true. But they are also not THAT rare. They exist in every city in every country – and they want amazing, kind, special people as well.

            Hope that helps,

            Stephen x

        • Kiraz says:

          So to me, it is about coming across with the one in that 10%, not about attracting him. If I meet him, I will sure attract him and keep him.

    • Anais says:

      Hi Kiraz,

      From what you describe, you do sound confident and have high standards. I think the problem is the men you’re dating, especially since you’re the one deciding to leave– it shows that you aren’t desperate. But maybe paying a little more attention to the red flags in the beginning could help, and I realize it isn’t always possible to detect.

      It’s true, a lot of men nowadays simply don’t know how to treat a high value woman. They aren’t high value themselves and unfortunately, the male gender is less likely to do self-reflection and self-help. I think it’s just the biological difference between men and women and they’re less naturally inclined to want to seek help in general, lol. They’re more likely to change once you leave, which is why you get all those calls for another chance. But it often they haven’t really changed for the long haul; they bring their A-game, then slack off again.

      Just from reading the stories here and my own experience after years of professional and self-help, and inner work, it’s clear that the behavior of men these days is part of the issue in dating. e.g., the post by Edith above mentioning some guy who thinks a man pursuing a woman is “too traditional” and that she should come to him. That’s all his beliefs and his behavior, not hers. She would only be encouraging it by actually going to see him instead of letting him come to her.

      The men are a huge part of the problem in dating and all the positive self help advice for women to improve their own dating experiences about being more attractive, flirty, playful etc won’t change the men who have problems and questionable beliefs. The experiences will go better with them than if you didn’t know the tips and tricks but they ultimately don’t turn a frog into a prince charming, or make the wrong guy the right guy.

      That’s why I believe it really boils down to being comfortable in your own skin and not pickup lines. Because when that happens, you do naturally become the best version of yourself (which goes beyond simply “being yourself”) I think a sign of being a confident high value woman is actually going on less dates and becoming easier to say “no” to men who aren’t high value themselves. A high value woman attracts more men, but she will be turning more down too, since most aren’t going to be the right fit. Quality over quantity.

      • Anais says:

        I found this article insightful because a lot of feminists take offense to this concept of a woman being viewed as a oruze. You did an excellent job breaking down both sides. Just like everything else, any concept that has good intent can be abused (for example the men who start to feel entitled to a woman) Personally I like the prize idea, it makes me feel cherished as a woman, not an object.

      • Kiraz says:

        I agree with you. Most men are not in touch with their feelings. They are not good communicators. They rather ignore the problems than talk about it.

        The more I think about it, the more I believe that this article is actually one of the most important articles in this blog. There are indeed 2 kinds of men: the one who sees the woman as a prize he deserves after so much investment, and the second one who appreciates the value of a woman for who she is. I guess my experience has always been #1, even though it always starts like #2. I haven’t met anyone who didn’t go slack after a while even though they always feel chosen at the beginning. They put themselves on a pedestal after a while.

        It is not always about being directly disrespectful. Going slack on your life style is also a sign of disrespect. I like fit guys who look after themselves. You don’t have to be perfect (neither am I), it is the effort that counts. If I am going for exercise when it is -10F. outside to keep fit, then I expect a similar effort from my partner. We are influenced by the energy of the people surrounding us. So when the guys starts getting lazy, it affects me negatively. I don’t want anyone to slow me down in any way. Sweats, pizza and Netflix is fine but sometimes, not all the time.

        Quality over quantity, for sure. I can go out and just do eeny, meeny, miny, moe to pick one. People come to talk to me even when I walk my dog. Maybe because I know I can do it anytime, I don’t really care if I am seeing someone or not. I tell my friends if I lived in a church as a nun for the last 4 years instead of paying rent, I could have saved a lot of money. :-P I don’t wanna sound cocky here, but I don’t understand how some women can’t get a guy. You gotta be either really awkward or live somewhere very isolated where you have only 20 guys to choose from. Otherwise there is a guy for everyone out there. I think women are very insecure and they think men are better than themselves. They see men as a prize. They talk all feminist, but when it comes down to action, they are people pleasers.

        To me, the biggest treasure is knowledge and intellect, therefore someone I can talk to for hours about different subjects. Someone who will stay the same to the end- keep up with the mind and the looks that he introduced me to at the beginning. If I come across with that, he could make me do anything, and I mean a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. ;) ;) That is how my parents were. I grew up with intellectual conversations. They were never rude or crude to each other. Mom was always dressed up, and father was always learning something new. So the potential partner for me has a lot to live up to.

        If not, it doesn’t matter. I keep with busy with other things. I am concerned about human rights and animal rights. Last winter I collected $3500 for a dog rescue group in Argentina in two weeks just by asking $5 from everyone in my community. I am friends with all the homeless people around. I help them whenever I can. We all need to realize that the world is not turning around us and be concerned about what is going on around us and give back to the society in some way.

        All the best, Anais. xxx

        • Anais says:

          Oops my second comment was for Stephen and meant to post it on the main thread. lol Well I don’t think it’s difficult to “get a guy” but it is difficult to find a quality relationship with what I consider a high quality man. Otherwise more women would have it. I believe when a woman becomes more in tuned with her intuition, judgment of character and more self aware, it becomes easier to size up a man’s character. And when I say high quality man, I’m not talking about his appearance (though someone I consider high quality would take care of himself) or his job or how much money. It’s mainly centered around his character traits and values in relation to myself i.e., how he treats me. I mean some guys can bring all these positive values to everyone in their lives but not in an a intimate relationship. And if he can relate well to the “world”, yet not to me, what’s the point? the values, such as:

          Integrity and honesty– does he say what he is going to do, or make empty promises? Does he communicate directly, (yet tactfully) or make subtle hints where you’re supposed to guess? I don’t expect a man to share all his deepest feelings with me, but too many men say what you want to hear and then do the complete opposite. Does he perform kind gestures to get something from you or is it because he cares? Reciprocity is created when both parties feel they have freedom and aren’t being manipulated to fill an agenda.

          Masculinity- is he confident in his masculinity to make decisions, have direction, communicate directly and lead? Does he respect women and femininity? I think our dating scene has warped masculinity into a definition of men feeling entitled to sex, being more of a man if they sleep with 100 women/get a woman to chase him, being disrespectful and being narcissistic. But that certainly isn’t my definition

          Sense of purpose and direction– does he have a plan for the future, passion(s), or know what he stands for? I know a lot of men in their late 20s and early 30s still living at home with mommy, without a job (and not even trying to find one), no plan to move out anytime soon, and still seem to be trapped in a childhood phase. Or they have a job but don’t know why they are doing what they do (other than “it pays the bills”)

          Sense of responsibility and accountability- a lot of men seem to misbehave on purpose to see if a woman will call them on it…things that people know are fundamentally not acceptable. But any man with the traits of being accountable, self aware, etc wouldn’t do something just because they think they can get away with it and then play the “It’s a woman’s responsibility to show how she should be treated”…which is true to a certain degree of course. No one is perfect and men aren’t mind readers. But last time I checked a relationship was two people, not just the woman

          Those are just a few of the traits/values I feel matter for a healthy relationship. Men who bring this to the table exist but they are also rare today.

          • Kiraz says:

            You put it so well, Anais. Love all your descriptions.

            The intuition comes with experience, you know. Some people even get marry 2-3 times. It is trial and error until you meet the best match really.

            There is another aspect to someone’s personality, which is their family upbringing. No matter how someone represents himself/herself in public, if there is anything lacking in childhood (i.e. love, respect), it comes out eventually in the relationship in a bitter way. We are all a reflection of our parents. Most people hide their subconscious problems very well and when they are put on a hot pan, it comes out lower than low. There is no way of knowing something like that until you get to know the person very well and even meet his family.

            However someone treats other people shows exactly how they treat themselves. Say, if a guy makes fun of something you do or criticizes you a lot, it means that guy is very insecure.

            Personally I am surrounded with self-important men here, not by English gentlemen. Self-important, because ignorant. I am not complaining, I accept it the way it is, but I don’t give them a chance to get close to me anymore other than plain friendship.

          • Tom says:

            *facepalm* no, it’s CHASING women, not BEING chased by women, that typically defines masculinity. That’s the point. That’s why it’s called the thrill of the chase. It’s called being the dominant aggressor. The problem is the disrespect to women by objectifying them as objects to be chased/pursued. Taking action/control is masculine. Apparently you’ve never heard of chasing tail either, if you think being chased is the position that’s dominant/masculine…

  7. Darla says:

    What an interesting topic. I don’t mind being a prize. What little girl doesn’t want to twirl around in a princess dress and be admired by her prince. We also want to be a part of the journey. Priceless on all different levels to him not just a beauty to behold. That’s not all I have to offer and when that becomes the focus to who you see me to be….well it’s a turn off!
    Stephan thanks for this…

  8. Kiraz says:

    So, the lady decided to go with the camel after all. I can’t blame her. When I go to a house party, it seems everybody is trying to prove something about themselves to others while I am looking for the pets. Where is Kiraz? She is in the back room trying to get the cat under the bed. :-P

    I have to say, Steve, your articles are addicting. You inject your deep intellect and knowledge in your articles which makes the reader get much more than expected (more than relationship advise). Thank you.

    As for the “prize” thing, I know exactly what you are talking about “…smart-nice guys, or dumb-hot guys, who think their intelligence or looks somehow mean a woman ought to drop to their knees and be thankful for their very existence.” People take you for granted, because they think they “own” you. Everytime. Look at the romantic movies. Always the same lame pattern: it starts nice, happiness reaches climax. Then some trivial thing happens, they decide to go different ways. They date other people and realize that their true love was actually the person they took for granted. Then they call each other up and come back together stronger than ever. What a bs. Is that how is it supposed to be? You need to take a break and see other people to realize what you have? Well that is what Hollywood movies are telling people to do. How self-absorbed are we. (this also could be linked to your other article about Marilyn Monroe quote).

    In fact, I want to find a word instead of “love”. It is so over-used and worn out. Most people “love having someone” who makes them feel good in some way (narcissism and self-entitlement) not the person herself/himself for who he/she is. What they call love is infatuation, neediness or even insecurities. So the real thing should be called something else.

    I am sure you know the book Wuthering Heights, a passionate love story between Catherine and Heathcliff. This is how Catherine described her love for Heathcliff “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” I read it when I was in college and I couldn’t get over it. People who look at relationships as a personal gain can’t have something like that. You need to connect in a deep mental level. Without it, it is just another “relationship” destined to end. But if you are lucky enough to find it, you won’t change him/her to anything in the world. He/she will be something special, like you said.

    Well, I wrote too long again. :-P I thank you for reading in advance.

    Best xxx

    • Kiraz says:

      Btw, I said “You inject your deep intellect and knowledge in your articles” what a weird thing to say. Of course you do. Duh. I meant I don’t read cliche relationship articles, but your stuff makes me think about different things related to life and human dynamics in general. Even though I have no problem getting the guy and keeping him, your articles still dig something in my mind that I haven’t dug before. Thank you. xxx

  9. Amber says:

    Totally agree with you on all points here Stephen!

    For me, the idea of being earned depends on the man trying to earn my affections. If he’s the kind of man who is doing it out of genuine sincerity and chooses to “show me off” to loved ones in a manner that says “She’s so wonderful, look how fortunate I am,” then I’m all for it.

    However, if he’s the type of man who does so only to earn himself a “trophy,” a woman he can parade around friends like a jockey with a show horse–then absolutely, hands-down, no. I find that to be degrading of women and who I am as a person.

    But the man who is proud, who walks with his head a little higher because he walks beside me, the man who is kind and thoughtful and loving; that is the kind of man that would make me want to “show him off” just as much.

    I believe when there’s an equal reciprocation of fondness in that way, when you can be one another’s “prize” or “treasure,” there is a certain mutual respect that isn’t degrading to either sex. So in that context, definitely, being earned is something that can make both parties in the relationship feel special :)

  10. CelesteK says:

    I’m going to split hairs here, a bit, and say that there is a distinction to be made between being a prize (objectified) and being prized, or valued.
    You make an important point that objectification is the root problem with men who feel entitled to a woman’s affections. He has everything, he worked so hard, he DESERVES what he wants from her. This, of course, is a dangerous mindset. Anytime you set up the idea of conquering rather than uniting with someone, it’s adversarial. We know where that goes.
    Everyone, men and women, want to feel valued and shown off. We want to be shown off to friends and family not as a prize that makes someone else look good for winning it, but because we are a valuable member of the circle who offers social gifts to the group. We want to be prized because we are kind or funny, we can share a good story, we relate to others well and bring them joy. Not because we sit in the corner and look expensive and cute.
    It all comes down to motivation and perception. Do you bring your partner in to meet people in your circle because it will make you look good, or because your partner will make your friends and family feel better off for knowing them?

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Yes, that’s a great distinction Celeste. Being prized is special because you are being valued for the right things, not because you are an impressive object to look at. I think that’s the difference between being respected as a person and just being admired because of looks or superficial things.

      Thanks!

      Steve x

    • Tom says:

      You people are confused. It is specifically NOT believing you are entitled to a woman that makes her the objectified prize because he has to WIN her as a challenge. That’s why it’s called “the game” and the thrill of the chase. It is using pursuing women as a hunter does his prey. She is an opportunity for him to prove himself. That’s why the Alpha Male is supposed to chase, and love doing it. The point about feeling entitled to women is objectifying for an entirely separate reason.

  11. c says:

    Stephen, I think in general it’s the most stunning woman ie. the woman that the guy & all his friends have their eye on….they see her as a prize(i.e. objective beauty). Then again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder (subjective beauty). I suppose a guy could see a woman as a prize whether she is objectively or subjectively beautiful. I don’t necessarily think it’s insulting if a guy sees a woman as a prize (it means he wants her, which is nice for the woman).

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Yep, I think Celestek said it well in her comment. It’s the difference between being objectified and being truly valued. Everyone wants to be valued and wants the person they are with to have a high opinion of them. We just want to be worth showing off for the right reasons!

      Thanks,

      Stephen x

  12. Victoria says:

    Hi Steve,

    Behavioral Economics experiments demonstrate that people value the results of their labor much more than the things they get without effort. Dan Ariely calls it the “IKEA Effect.” I value my clumsily put together IKEA desk more than a better desk from a store–apart from any difference in cost.

    Likewise, men value women into whom they have invested thought, time and money. A woman who has expected and received this investment is a prize even if she looks like my desk in comparison to slick desks available elsewhere. In contrast, a woman who does not wait to be won over is valued less, regardless of her objective characteristics.

    When a woman is truly valued, she can assert her personality and develop it further. When a woman is not valued, she is more likely to bend her principles. Thus, being a prize does not take away from a woman’s personal development.

    Victoria

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      Interesting lens to see the issue through Victoria. I always love reading Ariely on these things so it would be great to hear his take on relationships. I think you’re right though: we all value what we’ve invested time and emotion into.

      Hope you’re doing great :)

      Stephen x

  13. Suzanne says:

    Now despite all this I have to put my hand on my heart and be honest: there still remains some appeal to the idea of women being a prize. But it’s the kind of prize where he feels lucky to have her. The kind of prize where he feels privileged to have been chosen, like he was the one person in whom she found the most unique combination of incredible qualities and thought “This guy. This guy is something special”.

    Beautifully conveyed Stephen.

  14. kikolja says:

    I actually stumbled upon this question as well, but from the other side. So the guy I went on a date with was a professional soccer player, and of course men like that have a lot of beautiful women surrounding them, so I had to shine bright like a diamond with every strong value I have. Nonetheless, I keep asking myself am I a trophy woman? Can I compare to people with outstanding physiques, minds, and achievements like Irina Shayk, Shakira and Laia Grassi? Well either way, he’s not calling me out anymore/right now/since, so chances are – I cannot. And I’m not devaluing myself by any means, I know I’m a lot worth, but this question in my mind gives birth to insecurities. Am I a trophy woman?

    • Vavavoom says:

      Good queztion, I don’t have the answer but I think matts work is all about being and being perceived as a high value woman or ´trophy´.

      When I read your comment stating that you had to shine with every strong value you have, I thought it’s possible that you had tried to hard in that scenario. He may have felt like he didn’t get to chase you cause you had decided you liked him/he’s a prize. Therefor -in your mind- the competition is so high that you had to shine all of your valueto impress him which then turned the dynamic into role revearsal with the result of him losing interest.
      Matt has mentioned how a guy wants to get to know you in pieces bit by bit making you sort of a mystery to him. Maybe shining all of your worth was showing him too much of what you got going on.
      This is a guess, Matt is the expert, these were just my thoughts reading your comment trying to apply what I learned from this site :) if your curious you can check out the video “why men lose interest once you show yours”.. maybe it will help.
      But one thing I know is that men who can have any woman they want tend to miss out on the joy of chasing a woman not knowing if they’ll succeed – getting to take on the challenge of trying to impress her. That’s the one thing they yearn for, the one thing they don’t have those who seem to have it all.

    • Stephen Hussey says:

      If by “trophy’ you mean being a woman of high value, I think that comes from a combination of great traits (including your physical appearance and how you take care of your body). Every woman who’s truly special in a man’s eyes has a mix of unique qualities (and the confidence to know her value is also one of them!).

      Thanks :)

      Steve x

      • LR says:

        First of all, men are never prizes or objects. They can’t be of high value at all. No woman likes a man who looks physically appealing and takes care of his body at all. She wants a man who will fight other men over her and gets jealous real easily when another man wants her. Women can’t have desires for men at all. Men are the ones having desires for women instead. But anyway, it’s true that men want good girls of high value versus bad girls because they want to be the boss.

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