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‘So You Want to be a Trophy Wife?’ tackles the objectification of women

Sue Diepeveen as Marie in ‘So You Want to be a Trophy Wife?’. Picture: Supplied

Sue Diepeveen as Marie in ‘So You Want to be a Trophy Wife?’. Picture: Supplied

Published Sep 7, 2022


“So You Want to be a Trophy Wife” is a compelling new theatre production that shines the spotlight on the “blesser-blessee” phenomenon that has kept South Africans intrigued for many years.

The “blesser-blessee” notion, where young women are “gifted” luxury cars, posh apartments, designer handbags, jewellery, overseas trips and other monetary incentives in exchange for sex, caught the attention of traditional media in 2016.

Similar to sugar dating, also called sugaring dates back many as far as the 18th century.

Written and performed by acclaimed actress and theatre practitioner Sue Diepeveen, “So You Want to be a Trophy Wife” will unpack these notions in an informative yet comical way.

Following its successful runs in Cape Town and East London, the play will be staged at Sandton’s Theatre on the Square from Wednesday, September 14, until Sunday, September 24.

The play follows the highs and lows of reaching middle age and pokes fun at how society ignores women in this particular category.

In a world of “influencers” and “blessers”, poor old Marie is feeling invisible and desperate. Her only hope, it seems, is to find herself a rich husband. But that is easier said than done. She’ll also need to make a few changes to attract said rich man.

In a conversation with IOL Entertainment, Diepeveen, who is known for challenging the status quo within the theatre space, said she hopes this play will inspire conversations about the old age concept of “ objectification of women” in the society.

“So I have always been intrigued about what came first – the chicken or the egg? Was Helen of Troy kidnapped or did she run away with a better prospect?,” expressed Diepeveen.

“The objectification of women is something I mull over constantly, women being ‘given away’ at weddings and so on. I began thinking if we somehow helped perpetuate this kind of thinking.”

Diepeveen added: “I spent a lot of time researching the tropes of women as trophies, the first spoils of war in many cases throughout history.

“There is a large blesser culture growing in South Africa and my research led me to delve into that too. The idea of a sugar daddy is not a new one and I look at what is currently expected of a trophy wife. It is no longer the airhead of yesteryear.

Sue Diepeveen as Marie in ‘So You Want to be a Trophy Wife?’. Picture: Supplied

Diepeveen added that she has always been passionate about issues concerning women and this play is an ode to the women in her life.

“Marie is essentially based on an aunt of mine, she was influenced by two husbands in various ways and I always wondered if she hadn’t married, how would her life have been different?

“She was so innocent about the world and that fascinated me. There were decisions taken for her and she had little control over how certain things would play out because of this.

“I spent a good deal of time with my memories of her and my mother and their unique relationship. I tried to place her in a more modern era because these issues are still prevalent even though more and more women are breadwinners.

The show explores issues of mental health, women empowerment and money.

“Financial health is a prevalent theme in the show. I think many women of a certain age feel invisible as the new, brighter and tighter models hit the market. There is also hope, and perseverance too.”

Although she is based in Cape Town, Diepeveen said she’s thrilled to finally bring the show to Joburg, where she grew up.

“We can all do with a bit of a laugh and Joburg people certainly have a good sense of humour. I trust that they will see a little of themselves in Marie and will get a good chance to laugh with her and ultimately rejoice in her never say die attitude.

Tickets for “So You Want to be a Trophy Wife” cost R120 and are available through Computicket.