Revisiting the Existence of the Gold Digger

It’s time to throw away sexist ideas and terminology

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The term “Gold-digger” usually describes a woman who trades sexual favors for goods. A man who trades money, or favors, in exchange for the use of a (usually) female body is not called a gold digger, nor any derogatory name.

A man, historically, must avoid the gold digger. She is a material girl. An easy woman who doesn’t really offer genuine emotion, but rather, she is a slut, basically, a bad woman who sells her body for gain.

Gold, in this context, means something based on money. It does not allow that a woman’s body, her youth, her time, her affection, her almost worshipful devotion, or any of her assets approach the value of “gold.” There have been many men, over time, who have complained of gold diggers. Often, this is in retrospect:

“I didn’t know she just wanted my money. She robbed me blind, used me, and left me in debt.”

Notably, women like Jerry Hall who married Rupert Murdoch, and Anna Nicole Smith, have been vilified for being gold diggers. What did they offer in exchange for security? People who know them say it was real love, not greed. Nor does being cheated upon ensure security, none of Trump’s ex-wives were given half of his fortune for his infidelity, as just one example among many.

For centuries men have courted such women. A typical example is the millionaire who marries the much younger, trophy wife. And there is often a serial repetition of this kind of “use.”

What does he offer her? An often, older and less gorgeous, and less virile body. He also usually offers her “security.” He can become a sugar daddy, while she becomes a “kept woman.” What does she offer? Only, in most cases, her whole self, but also a kind of servitude that seldom goes both ways. There is quite often an unequal power dynamic here.

Even with the exotic dancers I know who love their sugar daddies, these are hard-working women. They are in no sense kept. The most sensible among them have no interest in the status of designer shoes and handbags. They might like dinners and perfume, but they also know it is easier, and more confidence-building, for them to get these on their own with no strings attached.

In the 1950’s 20th Century Fox released the Marilyn Monroe classic: Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It tells the story of two –also hard-working — showgirls, one of which is Lorelei Lee. Lorelei loves her boyfriend who just happens to be a millionaire.

This show is often misinterpreted to be about gold diggers who are trying to hook rich men. But the film, if watched intelligently, reveals a central theme. It is about family.

Lorelei Lee shocks her perspective millionaire father in law when he accuses her of wanting to marry his son, Gus, for Gus’s money.

“No,” she explains very reasonably. “I want to marry him for YOUR money.” She goes on to explain that if he loves his son, and hopes to pass on that love and security to his son, he should have the capacity to equally love his new daughter. She wants equality, respect, and family.

Lorelei is also willing to trade well-paid show biz work, for unpaid, love-centered, devotion work. This shatters any suggestion of greed.

Lorelei sees herself as a full, and complete, autonomous human being. She is not less than. She loves her fiancé. She works hard, and despite being flirtatious and naïve, she is very moral.

This is a wonderful and very forward-thinking idea. As for the other showgirl, Dorothy, played by Jane Russell, she is expressly not interested in catching a millionaire, but in finding a hunky, and caring guy. She ends up with the private detective, Malone, who fits this bill.

Even when Marilyn sings the iconic “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” it is evident, that she loves the idea of security and independence; something women in those days were very rigidly disallowed. Does she love diamonds? Yes. She loves sparkly and pretty things, as many, many feminine girls — and even guys — do. Really, she should become a diamond broker rather than a housewife and mother.

The concept of a gold digger is based on the very outdated, biased, sexist, and judgmental view that sex is evil, women are manipulative, and men are targets.

This is still evident in language that condemns females with sexist slurs that suggest sex work is slutty, dirty, and that being a “Ho” shows moral inadequacy on her end while paying for it on his end is just what men must do. As they do, these men are all too ready to fault women who will give up very valuable assets to them.

The lyrics in Diamonds are a girl’s best friend reveals that men will take advantage of “girls” whose “charms” are always lost in the end. Protect yourself from jerks along the way, is the central message. Marilyn’s own life displays that as a sex object, she was not given true respect as a full person.

Is a diamond as valuable as a woman’s “virtue”? I think this is a private negotiation, but in any such deal, it is crucially important to value female worth — the price of a human being — at least as high as material goods.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories…

Christyl Rivers, Phd.

Written by

Writer, Defender of the three dimensional, and Cat Castle Custodian.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

Christyl Rivers, Phd.

Written by

Writer, Defender of the three dimensional, and Cat Castle Custodian.

Fearless She Wrote

This is a space to empower differences, tell our stories, and share our lives together. We will not be silenced. We will be fearless. And we will write.

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