The concept of hypergamy is what one finds at the bottom of the rabbit hole, the reason why female behavior is how it is observed. Myself and many others have taken swings at explaining hypergamy, what is it, what does “peak hypergamy entail” and many other views have been explored.
Yet there appears to be many misunderstandings out there regarding the various manifestations of hypergamy, furthermore, to how it manifests in each female. It would be no catastrophic admission that it varies from woman to woman, with some manifesting stronger variants others less severe variants. That what is optimal hypergamy for one woman is perhaps not optimal hypergamy for another, based on a range of variables. If hypergamy manifested in an identical degree and manner in every woman regardless of other factors, then one would expect to observe identical mating behavior by every female.
The implication of hypergamy operating in such a manner is that to females, males would have an objective value, a male 10 would be a male 10 to every woman, and a male 1 would be a male 1 to every woman. This would also mean that one could easily break down the variables that constituted male sexual market value, and create male 10s en masse, without much effort. However, this completely disregards the subjective aspects of female mate choice, that are influenced by various individual and contextual factors. It is the influence of these factors that create the variable aspect of female mating judgments.
This should come to no surprise to those that have read the section regarding value theory and the rational actor in “Gendernomics” where I write:
The former category, subjective value theory is much more applicable to the Sexual Market Place. This is because rather than being based on the intrinsic value of an object, good or service, the value is determined based on the value placed on the object by a rational actor for the achievement of his own ends
A man who is thirsting is will value a glass of water much higher than the man who has an unlimited source of clean water. If everyone agreed that objects held the same value, based on underlying factors such as the cost of production or rarity, then it leaves very little room for individual preference. Even in the largest markets in the world, such as various stock markets, the price of an asset reflects not only underlying value, but the judgments of many buyers and sellers regarding the underlying value. Generally these values are within a range, and it’s rare to see large spreads on the value of an asset, unless an exceptional case is presenting itself.
As the sexual market place appears to be governed through many of the same factors any other market, it follows that individual choice, and the value placed on a man or woman by a rational actor for their own ends, is a significant influencing factor.
Means, Ends and Hypergamy
Some time ago, I wrote a post entitled “Of means and Ends“, this post was inspired by reading Immanuel Kant’s view of morality, where one of the statements is to never treat other humans as a means to an end. This distinction between something as the enabler of a desired result, as opposed to the result itself is an important one when discussion hypergamy. As an illustration, two men can purchase a car, for one man this car is merely a means to transport him between his home and place of employment, for the other man, ownership of the car may be an end in itself for nostalgic or sentimental reasons. Thus both men are interesting in purchasing the car, however for different reasons, for the first man it is a means to an end, to the latter and end in itself, therefore their buying behavior is also likely to differ.
Hypergamy can be argued as a means, with that end being optimizing the value of a female’s expensive eggs, as traded for other forms of currency. A frequent observation being that a woman seeks to utilize her sexuality as the majority of her investment in a joint venture.
Optimizing hypergamy can also be argued as an end, where the means is the various behaviors, actions, psychological factors and judgments made by a female in order to attain the end of maximized hypergamy. Examples of this would be the alpha fucks/beta bucks, solipsism and the war bride dynamic.
These all represent means toward the end of a woman maximizing her payout from the sexual market place. Thus, one observes 3 rough categories of women, that mimic those of investors in a stock market:
A) The one who cashes out early. This woman settles down quite early for our time, and closer to what has been the mean in earlier times. The downside of this investment strategy is that she has a higher probability of missing out on a potentially better mate, which I think is reflected in the string of divorces that start to take place when such women reach 30 – 35.
B) The one who fails to cash out in time. This woman is never satisfied with her profits, and holds on to the trade for too long, and it starts turning against her, becoming a poor trade much faster than she anticipated. This is reflected in the women who are still single at 35 or older, lamenting about how there are no good men left.
C) The one who cashes out at the right time and maximizes the genetic harvesting and the long-term profitability. This is a woman who has her fun early enough that she starts to seek settling down in her mid-twenties, thus before her sexual market value drastically drops post-30.
These three categories represent the trade off between risk of being left on the market and risk of not optimizing hypergamy. Category A is more aware and fears the risk of being left on the market more than the risk of not optimizing hypergamy, B fears not optimizing hypergamy more than the risk of being left on the market, whereas C takes a balanced approach.
What is “Optimal Hypergamy”
I wrote the preceding section to compliment subjective value theory, as risk tolerance and risk awareness are also to some degree subjective. If one looks no further than the string of bubbles that have hit our financial system in the past 100 years, it becomes readily apparent that our awareness and tolerance of risks are both subjective, and environmental.
Very few analysts actually realize that there is a bubble, and many investors tend to underestimate risk when times are good. In the same manner, a woman who is regularly pursued by potential suitors en masse, is living in her bubble time, and thus underestimates risk. Thus, one can have an individual world of judgments regarding the market context, that departs from the reality of a market and it’s context.
If one takes the quite classical cycle of a woman having her party years with alpha fucks from 16 to 25, getting married to beta bucks at 25 and divorcing at 35, thereafter getting back into the alpha fucks game. It’s perfectly possible that this is in fact contributing to optimizing hypergamy from the woman’s perspective.
In her years from 16 – 25, she is collecting as much high value genetic material as she possibly is able to, as this is her major driving force. Considering the existence of modern contraception this may not result in pregnancy, however if one reflects on how our species “grew up”, it still fulfills the requirements of an outdated pattern of mating.
As she nears 25, her priorities shift from short-term/maximum genetic payout to the long-term security of herself and her offspring. Thus, she slowly transitions into a situation wherein she values beta bucks more than alpha fucks. This does not mean that she will not secure high quality genetics when the opportunity presents itself, but the carte blanche elimination of provider type males is no longer taking place.
As she has been married for 10 years and have most likely given birth to 1 – 3 children at this point, her priorities yet again changes as she has secured offspring that has beta dad’s genetics, however as a result of having 1 – 3 children from the same father, she could optimize the odds for her offspring by having another child or two by a different father. From a genetic diversity perspective, different fathers bring different genetic material, so to avoid putting all the eggs in one basket, it would pay off as a risk mitigation strategy to diversify her offspring between men.
Summary and Conclusion
Some of the confusion I’ve observed regarding hypergamy are seemingly contradictory decisions made by women, that on the surface appears to negate the theory. This can be a woman who marries young, without having her party years, and remains faithful to her husband, it can be a woman who divorces her billionaire beta, and takes a drop in her lifestyle to date an alpha. The former seemingly contradicts hypergamy on the basis that the woman does not appear to capitalize on her peak sexual market value. The latter appears to contradict the theory based on the classic view of hypergamy, which is simply “marrying up”.
The simple answer is that in analyzing the woman’s behavior we are applying our own subjective value, or alternatively an objective value, that is different from her valuation. This is no different than me not understanding what would posses someone to buy a $200 bottle of shampoo. We are letting our own perception cloud our view of her choice. For instance, a woman looking for her Beta Bucks, cannot understand why a woman who has locked down a Beta Bucks Billionaire would leave him, and a woman in her Alpha fucks phase cannot understand why a woman would leave her Alpha husband, owing to solipsism.
The more complex answer is that optimizing hypergamy requires constant trade-offs between the various variables that make up a man’s total status, furthermore that such optimization is taking place in a constantly moving market place, and finally that it’s taking place on a subjective level for each woman. A woman may trade down in financial lifestyle, in order to secure higher value genetics, a woman may trade up in financial lifestyle but accept lower value genetics. The examples range from women risking death after being unfaithful, to Queens sneaking off to bang Chad the Stableboy.
The analysis is quite simple if one views it from the perspective of time. A man may satisfy a woman’s hypergamy at a given point, and not do so later, a man may not satisfy a woman’s hypergamy now, but may do so later. This is easy to observe, in the “story” of most comedies with a romantic undercurrent aimed at man, where the hapless Beta longs for the Prom Queen, filling the role of shoulder to cry on as she traverses a mountain range of Alpha Chads, only to discover near the end that the hapless Beta was her perfect mate all along. In these stories, the Beta does not satisfy the woman’s hypergamy until she has conquered the range of Chad.
It would be much simpler if hypergamy was simply “marrying up”, then hypergamy would stop being a factor once the woman got married. Once she has married a man above her station, she would be satisfied that she has done her job. This would not remove all the complexity from the equation, as one would still have to account for the values that she reviews in order to determine if she is marrying up or not. Social status, finances, signs of high quality genetics, or various other factors. However if we boil it down simply to a catch-all category “Status” to further simplify, then a female 6 who married a male 8, would never even think of divorce. However, it’s clear that this is not the case, if it was then Hollywood that is the home of the highest status men in the world, would not also be the divorce capital of the world.
This scenario is explained in the quote from Gendernomics above, “the value is determined based on the value placed on the object by a rational actor for the achievement of his own ends“, if a woman’s “ends” change, then it follows that the value placed on the object also changes, if the value placed on the object changes, then it follows that an object that did optimize hypergamy may do so no longer or vice versa.