The internet is in uproar over an opinion piece published in the New York Times suggesting wealthy Manhattan families operated like hedge funds, with women receiving "wife bonuses" for doing "good work" like keeping a tidy house or getting a child into a good school.
Anthropologist Wednesday Martin penned the op-ed about what she calls "Glam SAHMs" or "glamorous stay-at-home mums", which was published on Sunday alongside a picture of a man holding a woman with a chain around her neck.
Martin writes: "A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done but her own performance - how well she managed the home budget, whether the kids got into a “good” school - the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks.
"In turn these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting."
Although there's very little evidence around to support Martin's claims - one high-stakes divorce lawyer told WaPo: "The clients I have would be thoroughly offended by that phrase. They pour so much work into raising their families. They're in charge of managing the household, all the players involved. Often their husbands travel and don't want them to work."
Meanwhile, Business Insider asked some real hedge fund managers if they had ever heard of the phenomenon, but most deemed it doubtful.
"Typically an employer offers a bonus to incentive their employees. I guess to some marriage is no different. But honestly when I first read the article I had to double check to make sure it wasn't published by the Onion," one said.
A banker added: "I'm skeptical that they exist. I worked in banking for a long time. Do bankers buy their wives stuff - and also give them money - when they get their bonuses? Absolutely. Do the girls joke about it when they're drinking wine with their friends and call it a 'wife bonus'? I'm sure they do. But is the 'wife bonus' a real tangible thing? I seriously doubt it."
Luckily for Martin, the controversy surrounding her column comes just weeks ahead of her new book launch.