While the content producers within the manosphere have discussed at length the topic of Hypergamy, as far as I am aware there is currently little material available on the impact of maladaptive hypergamy on male courtship habits, it is the aim of this post to bring discussion to this topic as I believe it may better help us put the behavior of men into the context of a rapidly changing sexual marketplace.
According to the dictionary definition, hypergamy refers to the action of marrying a person of a superior caste or class. It is my opinion that this definition is false for two reasons, firstly by omission it suggests that hypergamy is present in both genders, secondly one reading this definition assumes that hypergamy is a ‘fixed’ phenomenon that takes place once or twice in a woman’s lifetime. A more accurate definition of hypergamy could perhaps be, an “ongoing biologically driven action whereby a female seeks to receive the most utility and provisioning from a higher status male for her self-defined current sexual market value”. This definition reveals that hypergamy is (1) an innate biological drive rather than socially learned behavior (2) exclusively practiced by females (3) is ongoing, in that when your resources fail to adequately satisfy her current sexual market value, her departure from the relationship is a possibility (4) is often based on the unrealistic standards of the female.
Hypergamy is a byproduct of sexual dimorphism in that for long periods in our species development, women lacked the physical power to tame the elements. Being the weaker sex their optimal survival strategy was to find a stronger, faster, more intelligent man to reproduce with, so he would provision her with food, shelter and physical protection. Hypergamy benefited the species as a whole (at the expense of the individual man) for the simple reason that men fought to conquer the elements, invent technology and produce more than they needed for their own survival, so as to be deemed suitable by women for reproduction. It persuaded men to beat back the jungle and build civilizations, such is the power of the male drive to reproduce that when harnessed an increased standard of living followed for all humanity.
In the past, human society very likely instituted the institution of marriage as a means to suppress the hypergamy of females, in that if a man agreed to provision her for life, while also ensuring that the fruits of his labor would be enjoyed near exclusively by she and her offspring, a female had less need and social sanction to trade up, this helped ensured his genetic legacy. Societal shaming for promiscuous female behavior, non-existent contraceptive options and a social stigma associated with out of wedlock pregnancies did an adequate job of keeping the hypergamous instincts of women suppressed and simultaneously promoted DAD (a provider male courtship pattern) as the default strategy for men wishing to reproduce (as opposed to the Lothario CAD pattern increasingly favored nowadays).
The CAD vs. Dad spectrum represents the two extremes of mating strategy that males of sexually dimorphic species will adopt, Steven Pinker, in his book ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature’, argues that in a social ecosystem populated mainly by men, the optimal arrangement for men is at the CAD end of the spectrum. The ecosystem that selects for DADs is one with an equal number of men vs women. I would add that this is not necessarily numerical equality, but rather the number of females who deem the present stock of males as suitable for reproduction. In circumstances where there are roughly equal numbers of males and females, where hypergamy is suppressed, violent completion offers males little reproductive advantages, thus increased male vs. male violence due to competition for females could well be a significant feature of maladaptive hypergamy, Barbarossa’s video ‘Deconstructing Game, and PUA frauds’ highlighted that the concept of ‘Game’ arose in the African American neighborhoods after and in response to the social welfare programs instituted by the government. When women received a check from Uncle Sam, the provider male became superfluous, the ideal reproductive strategy for black men, went from being model citizens to being violent, smooth talking, Casanova’s. This outcome would have been the same in any community that accepted welfare so readily.
When Hypergamy is said to have run amok or has become maladaptive, in its simplest terms this means that Hypergamy has become more harmful than beneficial to our species as a whole. The expectations of women have risen to such a degree that the majority of men are now deemed unsuitable for mating, this effectively reduces the supply of females available to the majority of men as women hold out sometimes indefinitely for the better deal. The causes of this maladaptation are fairly straightforward. Firstly, our species simply has become so technologically advanced that the caps placed on Hypergamy (such as marriage and shaming of promiscuous behavior) now lack the ability to contain it, for example the taboo against female licentious fell away with the introduction of the female pill. Secondly, many of the traditional functions of the male have been replaced by the state and its agents, for example security need no longer be provided by a husband when the police are just a phone call away. Thirdly, the economies in the developed nations are built on labor markets emphasizing and rewarding ‘soft’ skills such as communication above physical strength, in short we built the world where women could find well-paying jobs, felt safe and ‘liberated’. Maladaptive hypergamy is a response to a set of social, technological and economic conditions. The more women have been given, the higher their expectations have risen and men are competing against her employer, the government and other men for her affection.
Some in the manosphere engage in white knight ‘shaming’, especially on Reddit and YouTube, I have always found this amusing as it supposes that white knights have any kind of control over their behavior, in reality they are being guided by their biological urge to reproduce. It may provide us with clarity to see the standard and even extreme courtship rituals used by men today as responses to maladaptive hypergamy. You see, in sexually dimorphic species such as humans, most men won’t get to reproduce, this makes the pool of males compete fiercely for female validation and the chance to spread one’s genetics, however this is now been taken to an extreme by maladaptive hypergamy. This can be seen in the upsurge of aggressive white knighting, whereby men physically assault strangers who displease women they barely know, the obsequiousness displayed by men towards their partners, the simping behavior where men give money to females they meet online even with the knowledge that the possibility of sex is rather remote, or the men who will quite happily settle down with a twice married mother of three. These are the unconscious male responses to an increasingly challenging and restrictive sexual marketplace where supply of females has been reduced due to maladaptive hypergamy. Evolutionary psychologists Martin Daly and Margo Wilson summed it up rather well with their observation that “Any creature that is recognizably on track toward complete reproductive failure must somehow expend effort, often at risk of death, to try to improve its present life trajectory.”
On a side note, I personally see little evidence of this maladaptation causing an end to civilization or causing (except in the extreme long term) a change in the underlying drivers of our species, for the reason that it is usually impossible for a sexually dimorphic species to gain an advantageous adaptation such as hypergamy without incurring “maladaptations” such as runaway hypergamy at some point. We are in a constant feedback loop and this maladaptation is likely to lead to yet other adaptations in males and females, some of which may be technologically driven. Consider that the harsh external environment promoted the survival of humans that pair bonded. Our internal environment may perhaps keep men and women apart permanently when the right technology exists. When sperm can be grown using one’s own cells how many cases of sperm jacking might we see? For sure this will likely still happen to rich and powerful men, but when most women get baby rabies, in the future they may not look for a man. Especially if the government is happy to shower them with resources for getting pregnant. When the artificial womb is developed, will a majority of men see this as a viable alternative to the real thing? Perhaps, its hard to tell, the male mother need that Barbarossa described is certainly strong in men, however, some men perhaps many will pursue the path of artificial wombs. As hypergamy will likely become more maladaptive as time goes by, the sexual marketplace will be anything but static in the future.
Deconstructing Game, and PUA frauds
The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature
The Better Angels of Our Nature’