Guest Post by Elisabeth Austin of Big Swinging Rock
t’s a smaller story than it might have been 15 years ago, but the diamond itself is large enough to make headlines (in pop culture media). And that’s probably the point for Paris Hilton, who has a 20 carat diamond ring on her finger which has come to be the focus of her engagement.
We are barely into 2018 and in the same few days when women are wearing black at the Golden Globes to declare a “taking back of personal power” in Los Angeles, Paris Hilton has apparently exercised her own financial muscle.
And here’s my own take-away. Ms. Hilton is one of small but a growing number of women who from most all indications are buying their own large investment jewelry and not waiting until a man can write the check from his own account. This time it’s Paris Hilton’s engagement ring. A real one. Not like that one.
Until now, I never found Ms. Hilton to be relevant to my business, but making your own important jewelry “happen” is a power move in the best possible way and it’s a thing with more high profile women than the aggregate PR machine will let on. Unfortunately, some of the leaders of this subtle movement feel pressure to muddy the larger message by facilitating disinformation that it’s all “his” doing – that the boyfriend or husband has made the “gift”.
While circuitous statements may be made by those involved (that fiance Chis Zylka orchestrated the ring happening) Ms. Hilton doesn’t likely care if if your disbelief is suspended or not. So let’s review some likely circumstances here which are much more interesting:
1) While many people are distracted, wondering how Mr. Zylka could come up with ($$) seven figures for an engagement ring without pre-selling his life’s work, Ms. Hilton has personally made many times that from her historically rabid, Asian fan-girl following alone… without even touching “home video” or Reality TV money. This, and she’s willing to spend to get exactly what she wants. This is new era “affiancing” and it’s happening now….
2) This entire event falls nicely into the category of having your beefcake and jewels too. She who plays this way is winning in this particular game…a flipping of sexual roles previously owned by successful businessmen and their younger trophy partners… if we were to stop short with Mr. Zylka’s physical traits.
There is much to admire with Ms. Hilton’s situation here. It’s not critical that her intended be DTF (down to fund). She’s got it covered. In an ideal world, we should all have the other person (brainiac, comedian or Greek God(ess) that we want and not worry that we’ll be popped a old-fashioned proposal with expensive jewelry we don’t love so much.
3) The fiance in this story, Chris Zylka, epitomizes a 21st Century male. He’s found a potential partner who appreciates what he brings to the table and what he brings doesn’t have to be superior earning power. This is a win for both genders.
Let’s celebrate a little bit …. With all of the women, including myself, who would benefit from equal pay for equal work, we have the beginnings of women showing us the bounty that this vision brings about – and it is glorious.
All of this is Hollywood-adjacent (educated) supposition. We will never be given the true facts of a relationship through any PR issuance. Contrived facts are what PR is about these days. All public figures are a “brand” and truths are conveniently manufactured around “branding goals”. We won’t really know which “love stories” will go the distance and which are currently convenient.
But here is a fact that I know first hand. Behind the scenes, women are making some BIG power moves in self-purchases, engagement ring and “gift of love” jewelry more than you know. While those facts don’t make it into PR releases, the real details of WHO ultimately made it happen (if those details were to be made any of our business) should be celebrated.
We are halfway there with the win every time we earn enough to drive a major jewelry purchase. The second part, yet to be realized consistently, is abandoning the narrative that the man must be given credit for the financing in order to be considered to be a great partner.
Every time a woman makes great jewelry happen for herself alongside healthy communication in her relationships, she is exercising financial independence and power that we should all cheer in every part of our society…not just in Hollywood.