I was talking to a friend about the many adaptations of Pride and Prejudice when she said, and I quote: “The 2005 adaptation portrays Elizabeth Bennet as a gold digger, whereas in the zombie version she’s more independent and has a feminist vibe into it, but I like them both, though being a gold digger is totally not okay”. I laughed along and unconsciously agreed to what she said. Then, I removed myself from the conversation. As the day went on, I kept thinking about what we were talking about. Is being a gold digger a bad thing? Let’s dive in.
In terms of Pride and Prejudice, why is it wrong for Miss Bennet to feel attracted to a rich man like Darsy just because he’s rich? While thinking over this question, I realized that it was only natural for her to seek a wealthy man. The novel’s historical context sets the stage during the Regency Period. Women were only meant to be wives or mothers. if you didn’t marry and have children young, it was likely that you would end up as a governess, and if you had read Jane Eyre, you know that’s how it usually turned out. Therefore, it isn’t entirely a bad thing to be a gold digger.
Nowadays, our lives are still completely dictated by money, and money equals power. Having capital means that you have access to certain social situations which can give you more prestige or pull. All in all, this means better housing, better education, better food, and medical care. Having capital means a better quality of life; not necessarily a happy life. But at the very least, you’re comfortable if your immediate basic needs are met. No one has ever complained about having too much money. In short, money equals survival. Who doesn’t want to survive?
Now, why is it that some women are shunned for seeking out a man who has good income flow? It’s only normal that if you plan to carry a baby for nine months and then raise that child with your partner for, at least, eighteen years, you want the child to grow as stable as possible and with all his or her or their biological and material needs met. Of course, this is based on the premise that you’re a stay-at-home mom.
However, having by your side a wealthy man is a plus. It’s not a necessity. It’s like a man with a foreign accent, awesome if he had one, but it’s not a deal-breaker either. Having a good flow of income is attractive.
I’m sure that there are women who are labeled gold diggers because the only thing they search for in a man is money; exclusively money. That could be problematic. Relationships should be determined by far more important factors than just a man’s bank account. But who knows, maybe women labeled as such had some sort of abstract psychological development as they grew up. Perhaps love for them was given through the means of money.
However, on the other hand, it is important to mention that the notion of “the gold digger” enforces gender dynamics imposed by the Patriarchy. It reproduces the expected behavior of women to seek out for a rich man or a provider because they aren’t able to produce and acquire money; they only handle a domestic way of life. Evaluating the expression of gold digger through the lens of gender theory should make us rethink the reinforcement of this notion. Women are capable of great things in the workforce.
There’s nothing wrong with an empowering woman making her own money, but there shouldn’t be anything wrong either with a woman who feels attracted to a man with a stable job and a consistent income. If her goal is to raise a family by being a stay-at-home mom and have financial security, it makes sense.
Moreover, men are not given such remarks if they exclusively seek out women with hot bodies. We may say they are superficial, but they aren’t labeled as “hot body seekers”, “booty wanters” or something of that sort.
Women shouldn’t be shunned for wanting a man with good financial security. It’s attractive, but not a necessity. Being a gold digger is positive and a strategy of survival in this capitalistic world; it is nothing to be ashamed of nor put down for.