There is no shortage of content online on hypergamy. On one side, you have women fervently preaching it and on the other podcast bros foaming at the mouth while demonizing it. Hypergamy is the act of seeking a partner from a higher socioeconomic status, class or caste than yours. It’s the practice of marrying up. The podcast bros mean nothing to me, let’s instead talk about the dangers of hypergamy that many women who promote it overlook.
Reasons for promoting hypergamy
A good faith argument can be made for why women, black women in particular promote hypergamy. White women had the option to stay home as housewives, black women historically didn’t. Black women have almost always had to work. In present-day society, most households can’t survive on a single income. Women work outside the home and then come back home to begin their second shifts as domestic workers and caregivers.
Promoters of hypergamy want women to get a break, and live a soft life for once where they don’t have to work outside the home and also work at home. If you get you a rich man, then one, you may not have to work outside the home at all and two, you can afford to pay someone to help with housework.
Women who promote marrying up are essentially speaking out against the exploitation of women’s labour by men and the fact that too many women are out here financially supporting men who still insist on being the heads of the house. They just want women to get that soft life.
The problem with hypergamy
Heterosexual relationships are already faced with a nearly insurmountable power dynamic. Women in a patriarchal society are beneath men, they just are. To then add an extra layer of power brought on by wealth in a society that values the wealthy and devalues those who are not is beyond irrational. Women are already subjugated to men in patriarchal society, giving the man even more power, by way of wealth only worsens the problem.
Our capitalist society confers value based on how much wealth someone has, so there’s always this assumption that rich people are good and smart and beyond the petty thinking of the poor. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Rich men are just as capable of abuse as their poor counterparts. Wealth is not an indicator of a person’s character. It just isn’t.
Patriarchy and misogyny are systemic and all people in patriarchal society are socialized into them. Rich men are not above it. If anything, they may be worse because they know they can get away with abuse. If nothing else, the #MeToo movement revealed that yes, it is all men. Any man who thinks they can get away with it and wants to will abuse it. To imagine that rich men are good and poor men are not simply because of their wealth is to fall for anti-poor propaganda. All men are socialized in the same society.
Fails to address the real issues
Proponents of hypergamy just women want women to have happier, stress-free lives. The underlying question needs to be, why is this one of the avenues for women to do this? What’s causing this stress that people are trying to escape thusly? In the past, women had to be hypergamous because they didn’t have the opportunities to make their own wealth. Women were confined to working in the home.
In the present day, where women can work outside the home, there’s the problem of wage disparity between men and women. Women earn less than men with one company in Kenya paying women a shocking 52% of what they paid men in the same position. This is sexism, discrimination on the basis of gender. Wages have also not gone up for most workers, yet the cost of living continues to rise. Many households can no longer survive on one partner’s salary. This is the problem popularly known as capitalism.
If we lived in a society where women were not discriminated against, where workers are justly compensated for their labour and where the society is oriented around meeting people’s needs, women might not need to make plans for scoring them a wealthy men. The real problem is not poor men, it’s patriarchy and capitalism. The real solution is not marrying rich men, it’s organizing to bring down these oppressive systems and establish life-sustaining systems. The real solution is fighting for that, however long it takes. No falling for easy band-aid solutions like marrying rich men.
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