Lady superstars are totally marriageable after all

News flash: Beautiful, rich, famous women are not wholly unappealing!

Published July 3, 2008 7:17PM (EDT)

Oh, I know this is small and incidental and fluffy and who cares, but a reader sent this in Thursday morning and it stuck in my craw and it's the day before a holiday weekend and so why not get a little ruffled over some stupid coverage of celebrity sex lives?

In the recent tabloid brouhaha about the "possibly ending but no one really knows because no one really knows them" demise of Madonna's marriage to Guy Ritchie, ABC News Thursday morning published this uplifting little item about how "every time a super-successful female star gets together with a lower-profile man, tongues wag."

Really? Do they wag? The tongues, I mean. Because I don't really remember anyone batting an eye over Madonna's marrying Ritchie, an attractive film director who is not as successful as she. You want to know why he is not as successful? Because she's Madonna. Who's she going to date? Jesus is unavailable, though I guess it's possible she's hanging out in all those Kabbalah classes, hoping to snare the next Messiah as soon as he gets here, making sure she's the first to get his number.

This silly story lists other potentially emasculating babes like Gwen Stefani, Sarah Jessica Parker, Charlize Theron, Heidi Klum, Sandra Bullock, Drew Barrymore and Courteney Cox, and Susan Sarandon makes the list alongside partner Tim Robbins because "while Sarandon's star kept rising, after he won an Oscar for 'Mystic River,' Robbins' success fell short." Right. Robbins undoubtedly feels unmanned and like a failure next to his wife. Except for that Oscar he won.

First, all of these women are partnered with successful and moneymaking men. Second, who cares if they weren't? Are we really sitting around wondering if Matthew Broderick, an actor beloved to generations of Ferris fans and the star of one of the most successful musicals of all time, sits around and mopes because his wife's TV-spinoff movie is a big success?

Would it cross anyone's mind to write a story about whether the less successful wives of Hollywood's leading men feel threatened by their husbands' economic success? Duh.

It's simply mind-blowing that it would be considered any kind of breakthrough insight to have Us editor Bradley Jacobs opine that "a lot of men don't mind being in the shadow of a very successful woman. It really comes down to the guy." Yeah! And you know what else it comes down to? The woman. And their relationship. And the fact that they may in fact be sentient and moderately evolved human beings who don't base their every life decision on outdated gender stereotypes.

Happy Fourth!

By Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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