Many in the men’s issues community have observed pronounced hypergamous behaviors among women. While some commenters pose reasonable evolutionary hypotheses for the behavior, there may be another cause at work – narcissism.
Society’s encouragement of the sexes into quasi social classes, with men as chivalric class and women as freewheeling nobles, has generated a degree of narcissism among women in recent times. Acquired Situational Narcissism is a psychological state arising with acquired status, as in the examples of academic experts, politicians, pop singers, actors – and in this case women who, in modern society, are taught that they possess high worth, dignity, value, purity, status, esteem and reputation simply for being women. This psychological disposition works to multiply the effect of hypergamy beyond what evolutionary models would require.
Among high narcissistic individuals, studies have found higher incidence of hypergamous behavior, indicating that hypergamy is not unleashed by a culture of sexual liberation alone; it may also be the result of an acquired social class narcissism that says “I deserve.”
Excerpts from narcissism studies:
A third strand of evidence concerns narcissists’ relationship choices. Because humans are a social species, relationship choices are an important feature of situation selection. Narcissists are more likely to choose relationships that elevate their status over relationships that cultivate affiliation. For example, narcissists are keener on gaining new partners than on establishing close relationships with existing ones (Wurst et al., 2017). They often demonstrate an increased preference for high-status friends (Jonason & Schmitt, 2012) and trophy partners (Campbell, 1999), perhaps because they can bask in the reflected glory of these people. In sum, narcissists are more likely to select social environments that allow them to display their performances publicly, ideally in competition with others. These settings are potentially more accepting and reinforcing of narcissistic status strivings.
[Source: The “Why” and “How” of Narcissism: A Process Model of Narcissistic Status Pursuit]
Consistent with the self-orientation model, Study 5 provided an empirical demonstration of the mediational role of self enhancement in narcissists’ preference for perfect rather than caring romantic partners. Furthermore, these potential romantic partners were more likely to be seen as a source of self-esteem to the extent that they provided the narcissist with a sense of popularity and importance (i.e., social status). Narcissists’ preference for romantic partners reflects a strategy for interpersonal self-esteem regulation. Narcissists also were attracted to self-oriented romantic partners to the extent that these others were viewed as similar. The mediational roles of self-enhancement and similarity were independent. That is, narcissists’ romantic preferences were driven both by a desire to gain self-esteem and a desire to associate with similar others.
Narcissism has been linked with the materialistic pursuit of wealth and symbols that convey high status (Kasser, 2002; Rose, 2007). This quest for status extends to relationship partners. Narcissists seek romantic partners who offer self- enhancement value either as sources of fawning admiration, or as human trophies (e.g., by possessing impressive wealth or exceptional physical beauty) (Campbell, 1999; Tanchotsrinon, Maneesri, & Campbell, 2007)
Source: The Handbook of Narcissism And Narcissistic Personality Disorders
Dozens more quotations could be added, however the point is obvious: self-enhancement strategies of both narcissism and hypergamy share overlapping features.
The rise of narcissistic behavior in women is receiving increased attention from academia in recent years, particularly with the addition of new variants to the lexicon such as communal narcissism, and vulnerable narcissism, which are considered female dominated modes of expressing narcissism.
*Note: A more in-depth survey of narcissism variants among women, and their implications, will be published in the forthcoming New Male Studies mid-year (2023).