Hypergamy the Age Old Practice: Explained

Today marriage is less about love and more about social status, financial showoff and arrangements made up based on class. You ask a person about what they wish for in their partner and they will be looking for a level up.

Better social status. Stronger financially. Better abilities. Better lifestyle. These choices are made to have access to a better standard of life after marriage. Afterall, who aims for a level down?

This situation of marrying someone better is called Hypergamy. Sounds like a peculiar new term? It really isn’t.You might not have heard about this term but surely there must be some living examples of hypergamy around you.

Let’s move on to the reason behind you being on this webpage — Hypergamy meaning.

Hypergamy Meaning : What is it?

Hypergamy

According to the dictionary hypergamy meaning is defined as – “ The act of forming a romantic relationship like that of a marriage is with a spouse of superior social status than you.”

To make it easier for you, Hypergamy is a practice of knowingly or unknowingly marrying someone more successful, stable and secure than you.

This could be either better social status, financial stability, better standard of life, higher class and many more. Which is carried to improve a person’s status and reputation in society.

Though this term is not prevalent these days and has been replaced by terms like gold digger, leech, exploiter, bloodsucker and forty niner, the concept of hypergamy can be traced down in ancient history.

Hypergamy can actually be rooted back to India, in Hinduism which makes it about 3000 years old practice.

It is considered that Hypergamy is a product of a patriarchal society that prevailed strongly in the world in the past society. Initially, women did not have equal opportunities for education and career.

Various job profiles like engineering, pilot, doctor, leaders, CEOs and similar positions had a glass ceiling effect preventing women from accessing them. This made women dependent on men financially and socially.

Therefore, to have a better life both economically and socially they needed to marry someone better than them. Here the concept of ‘marrying up’ comes up. Marrying up is yet another term used for marrying someone better off than you.

Marriage is majorly about survival and security. Thus earlier parents of young women used to ensure that the family their daughter is marrying into is financially and socially better than their own. This was done to ensure their daughter has a better standard of living with a sense of protection in future.

Hypergamy isn’t limited to resources at present. A woman can also get attracted to someone who shows traits of being successful and rich in future.

If a man possesses skills like intelligence, determination, ambition, motivation and hard-working, a woman tends to get attracted to him considering his potential to succeed in future. This concept is called resource potential.

With time came the development in the status of women as well as financial independence for them creating a question on the relevance of Hypergamy today.

Is hypergamy still a thing?

man and woman holding wedding rings hypergamy
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If you feel the education of females and all professions being open for everyone today has brought an end to Hypergamy in the present scenario. Lemme burst your bubble. You’re wrong. Hypergamy still exists in the 21st century. Though there is a great decline in its number.

Education and financial stability had been a great cause of hypergamy, but not all. A lot of women, if not all, still prefer men who are better off than them. Even financially successful and highly qualified females look for men from a greater social and economical background than that of theirs.

Various countries like China, Iran, India, Korea, Japan, Pakistan and Indonesia still have a huge number of arranged marriages. In this practice of arranged marriage here love hardly exists, hypergamy usually is given the first priority.

Not just in case of arranged marriages but in normal marriages people usually look for spouses who are better to do than them. After all, who doesn’t want a better standard of living?

Now whether GenZ would be inclined towards hypergamy or not is a question. We can see GenZ emphasizing more on emotions, bonds, love and the same foundation when marriage is taken into consideration.

Marrying up is usually not their thing rather they prefer marrying equals. Hypergamy seems to be a thing of the past for them as they have other major criteria to consider rather than the financial and social status of potential partners.

But again on the contrary GenZ is a generation of reel world over the real world. As social media, magazines and television highly focus on lavish lifestyles, extravagant events, expensive trips, fast fashion.

It would be difficult for GenZ to keep away from the race of money and class. Where hypergamy could be an easier and faster way to upgrade one’s status, lifestyle and standard of living instantly.

So, will GenZ prefer their life as movies like Cinderella which are based on hypergamy or would they take into consideration deeper, emotional and love-based marriage is a question for the future,m

Is hypergamy an only female concept or Do men marry up too?

smiling woman in fur coat posing
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Though history says that more women marry up, men also exist on the list. Now since women are constantly pacing up and taking over one industry after another the demography of educated and highly paid women has increased giving the possibility for men to marry up.

With a rise in women’s education and employment, we see a trend of more successful and highly educated women in the marriage market than men. An example of Same being the female led relationships.

Thus, there is a prediction that men would be now benefiting more socially and economically than women due to women being empowered and resourceful.

This new development in the culture has resulted in a positive shift. This has brought both men and women on a plain playing field. On one end where men do not feel any less manly to marry a better woman.

We can also see women seeing no issues in marrying down to a man she felt safe, secure, bonded and comfortable with. Now that we know both men and women marry up. The question that comes is how good hypergamy is.

Is Hypergamy wrong?

a person in tie dye sweater doing thumbs down hypergamy
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The way hypergamy is closely linked with terms like ‘gold digger’ and ‘exploiter’ has always remained in a bad light. Marrying someone up is considered a selfish move towards more money. But this isn’t the case at all.

Most researchers state that we humans inherited the tendency to evolve and evolution is inevitable. Thus the concept of hypergamy wherein one looks for a secure and stable partner is a human tendency to seek protection and evolution.

Moreover, the concept of hypergamy motivates both men and women to be successful and set themselves as provider and protector. It majorly motivates men to be the best in the room by ensuring they increase their self-value. On the other hand, it motivates women to be highly educated and employed.

Not just for individuals but hypergamy proves to be a beneficiary for the upcoming family of the partners. It ensures that their kids and family ahead are getting a better standard of living, education, healthcare and other important facilities at ease.

But again Hypergamy could be a completely relative concept. Some women might find it important to marry up and have a better lifestyle whereas others might find it disempowering and instead choose to marry down and build their empire.

Similarly with men, marrying up might hurt some male ego whereas it would benefit some with a more stable and dependent partner.

Perks of Hypergamy.

greyscale photo of man and woman
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Now that we know hypergamy is not all bad, let’s see how hypergamy can be beneficial for success and better marriage opportunities.

Hypergamy, still being a part of the modern world aims towards ensuring the security and survivability of partners and their children. It motivates the youth towards becoming a better person and a suitable partner.

It links success and economic stability with better chances of being chosen as potential partners. This has brought a major behavioral shift in men. Earlier men were seen being careless and messed up with their lives. With no direction and neither routine nor beliefs.

But, with the marriage market being success-oriented, men have started bringing their lives together. They have started being considerate of their health, status, class, behavior, lifestyle and various other factors.

This unannounced yet healthy competition encourages people to be the best man/woman in the room and has elements which help you stand out from others.

It does not just motivate you to be the best in the room but also to showcase your best foot front. It broadcasts the best of you amongst people and ensures you always have a pleasing image.

With the fact that hypergamy is a choice and can be both good and bad from couple to couple. Let’s check out some famous people who have practiced hypergamy and check where they are today.

This also prevents individual fooling around someone who might not be appropriate for them. This helps you save your valuable time, resources and money for someone valuable and important.

Examples of Hypergamy.

a woman in white and red floral dress holding red apple fruit hypergamy
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Our Disney princesses and romance movies have been some of the best examples of Hypergamy. But that’s all scripted. Let us take you around some of the real-life hypergamy examples

Top on the list is an American singer, songwriter, actor and dancer who is known to have married thrice and ended up in splits a year after. All her three marriages were examples of hypergamy wherein she married billionaires namely, James DeBarge, René Elizondo Jr. and Wissam Al Mana.

We often hear the saying “After every successful man there is a woman.” But here the case is different with 2012 best actress Oscar winner Meryl Streep who credited her husband for her success. Her husband, Don Gummer is a sculptor and married to a much more successful, richer and popular spouse. Giving us an epic example of male hypergamy.

Another yet popular example of men’s hypergamy had been an American singer, Nick Jonas. Nick has married the Miss World and Global Star, Priyanka Chopra. Priyanka Chopra is not just upper in terms of age than Jonas but all on the grounds of net worth and global popularity.

Things to consider before entering a hypergamous marriage.

a woman listening
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Hypergamy cannot be determined as all right or all wrong. Thus while entering into one you need to check for yourself and your partner’s priority in a relationship. Whether you and your partner prioritize money and the power of love and emotion. It’s a personal choice to make.

Just ensure you have communicated it well with your partner. Because as I’ve mentioned before, marrying for money isn’t a new concept. You just need to ensure you and your better half are on the same page and comfortable with the arrangement.

Now that you have been through it all, it’s time to sum it up.

Conclusion.

We believe that now you have objective and rational knowledge about hypergamy and the concept of marrying up. Hypergamy is a relative concept and not just limited to ancient times or only to females.

We see though females are more empowered today hypergamy is here to stay due to the benefit of stability and security it provides. The case of Hypergamy is deep-rooted in our story and still in trend with the ever-rising standard of living and demand for lavish lifestyles.

One can use this as a motivation to do well in their lives to be a desirable partner and also be able to be a provider to their loved ones and future family.

After reading this if you look forward to hypergamy. Just know you’re not the only one and not a gold digger.

You are just an ambitious person aiming for a better lifestyle for yourself and your children. That doesn’t seem wrong, does it? All you need to do is ensure you and your partner are on the same page and know what you both are getting into.

Thank you for sticking with us till the very end.

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