So I was randomly perusing the net the other night and for sh*ts and giggles I googled “marrying up”… (don’t judge me).
What I found was a wikipedia page on “hypergamy”…
Hypergamy (colloquially referred to as “marrying up”) is the act or practice of seeking a spouse of higher looks, socioeconomic, caste or status than oneself.
The term is often used more specifically in reference to a perceived tendency among human cultures for females to seek or be encouraged to pursue male suitors that are higher status than themselves, which often manifests itself as being attracted to men who are comparatively older, wealthier or otherwise more privileged than themselves.
Yes people… there’s an actual term for desiring to marry someone who’s better looking, smarter and/or wealthier than you.
But is “hypergamy” the same as “gold digging”?
For the record, ‘Gold Digger” has it’s own wikipedia page, where it’s described as “slang” meaning a greedy woman.
[Sidebar: so men can’t be gold diggers? who knew?!]
With ‘gold digger’ being a greedy woman, it seems that “hypergamy” is a more favorable term that could reference both genders. However, the logic behind the practice would still refer to the woman as the one doing the “hypergamying” (did I just make up a word?)…
According to evolutionary psychologists, females have evolved a preference for higher status males because they offer their prospective children both “better” genes and greater resources, e.g. food and security.
Men, who invest less in their children, have less reason to prefer mates with high social status.
Some have even argued that men “marry-down” to ensure that their mates have a higher incentive to remain faithful.
Dayum that’s deep! But while it all kinda makes sense when you think about it, the trend of both gold digging and hypergamy may be slowing dying out.
Back in the day, marrying the boss was the way a secretary escaped her social background, catapulting her into a higher stratum of income, networks and cultural sophistication.
Fast forward to the new millennium and many women have surpassed men in education and are catching up with them in the job market. Sociologists and economists call this ‘assortative mating’ i.e. choosing a spouse with similar educational achievements and incomes.
Attorneys used to marry their secretaries. Now they marry other attorneys. Doctors used to marry nurses. Now they marry other doctors.
By the way… theres also a word for “marrying down”…. “hypogamy” typically refers to instances of the inverse occurring: marrying a person of lower social class or status.
Now you have two new words to add to your vocabulary. (Thank me later)
Q: Do you feel there’s a difference between “gold digging” and “hypergamy” or are they one and the same?