“Your hubby Zucks,” reads a New York Post article. “Do you think Mark’s girlfriend of nine years deserved something bigger?” asks Hollywood Life. “If Mark Zuckerberg’s new wife was expecting a MASSIVE diamond on her wedding ring … she was SORELY disappointed,” reasons TMZ.
The stories in question are talking of course about Priscilla Chan’s relatively modest engagement ring, a small ruby setting Zuckerberg designed himself.
Reports say the ring costs around $25,000. Tons of media outlets decided that price was a paltry one for a billionaire. People on Twitter agreed:
mark zuckerberg gave his wife a $25,000 wedding ring……he’s worth 19 billion………………………..— Stephanie Gruver
I’m sorry, but she was robbed. its not even a big Ruby. http://t.co/O27uzGVS— Morgan Jacobs
Mark Zuckerberg: let me give u my hubby’s # so u can ask him where he got my ring. #zuckerzucks— Anna
Zuckerberg is stingy! A billionaire and doesn’t even buy a decent engagement ring.— Gandhi Enterprises
The nasty reactions to Chan’s ring bring up a number of important issues: most blatantly, our culture’s obsession with luxury items and the idea that the bigger the better. It also highlights the fact that people are seemingly unable to comprehend the idea that being a billionaire doesn’t mean you must spend an inordinate amount of money on material objects.
But I’m not here to rail against consumer spending and our culture’s obsession with money. What’s more disturbing here is the suggestion that Chan married Zuckerberg for his money, and the suggestion that women are entering marriages for the big rings and extravagant weddings. I don’t need to be the one to tell you that those tend not to be the rewarding aspects of a relationships or marriages — and that when people get involved for those reasons, it tends not to work out too well.
Chan, as you may recall, started dating Zuckerberg when they were undergraduates. The guy was a college dropout who wore socks with Adidas shower sandals, and has never been a big spender. (Today, though, they’ve traveled around the world and live in a $7 million home.)
But also, Chan is hardly wearing a RingPop. When did $25,000 become such a paltry amount? People were also disappointed by her off-the-rack $4,700 dress. That’s very far from cheap, but I suppose it wasn’t the couture item people were hoping for.
Why people are so incensed by the idea that Chan isn’t living a gilded, diamond-studded existence? Maybe it’s an aspirational thing — people want to imagine themselves the spouse of a billionaire, and she’s not allowing them to live vicariously through her to the extent they’d like to.