Fútbol, Football, and Flowers

Anneliese Mattox and Keira Putrih

In light of Shakira and Gerard Piqué’s separation, Gisele Bündchen and Tom Brady’s divorce, and the release of “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus, a pattern within the entertainment industry is becoming clear. Modern women have seen modern success, which has been jarring for their male counterparts, who tend to view them as opponents that they must surpass. Unfortunately, these men are often their long-term partners. 

There is no question that Shakira is a cultural icon. With around 72.5 million monthly listeners (the most of any Latin artist), 80 million records sold, and a net worth of $300 million, she is one of the greatest Latin artists of all time. Her ex-partner, Gerard Piqué, is similarly successful. As the third most decorated Barcelona player ever with 30 trophies, including eight LaLiga titles, three UEFA Champions League titles, and a net worth of $80 million, he has plenty to be proud of. However, he cheated on Shakira after 12 years and two children together. His feelings of inadequacy in the relationship likely led him to cheat on Shakira rather than support her career and their children.  

Men should not be intimidated by the success of their partners.

In the case of Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, there was no known cheating, but there were certainly feelings of inadequacy. Brady’s recent retirement, following an initial refusal to retire which led to his and Bündchen’s divorce, reflects any insecurity surrounding his career in comparison to hers. While Brady is arguably the most famous American football player, with seven Super Bowl wins and an estimated net worth of $250 million; Bündchen is an internationally renowned supermodel, best-selling author, philanthropist, and UN Goodwill Ambassador for the climate crisis with a net worth of $400 million dollars. In Brazil, Brady is even referred to as “Giselo”—which translates to “Gisele’s husband”, something that seems to have intimidated him and led to a downward spiral where he would rather reach an unattainable career goal than prioritize his wife. 

Miley Cyrus’s new release, “Flowers,” a song inspired by Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man,” details the affair her husband Liam Hemsworth had in their former Malibu home. The song choice is especially painful given that Hemsworth dedicated it to their relationship after their wedding. Hemsworth has widely been considered an “underdog”, due to the fact that his brother Chris Hemsworth’s Hollywood success as an actor and Cyrus’ status as a pop star with a net worth of $160 million compared to his $28 million exceeds his B-list levels of fame. This challenged the stereotypical dynamic between men and women in Hollywood. A rise in the presence of powerful and successful women replaces trophy wives with trophy husbands, leaving the previously macho men insecure. And, in Hemsworth’s case, ready to cheat.

Shakira, Bündchen, and Cyrus display the ever-increasing trope of powerful women “emasculating” men. In response, we see the immature consequences—their ex-partners’ solutions come to disloyal ends. Men should not be intimidated by the success of their partners, no matter how famous, iconic, or influential they may be.

This article also appears in our February 2023 print edition.