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 tends to exaggerate self-enhancement behaviours beyond what evolutionary models of hypergamy 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.
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)
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. A more in-depth survey of narcissism variants among women, and their implications can be read here.
A note on terminology:
Sigmund Freud introduced narcissism as a developmental trait that ranged from healthy to unhealthy,4,5 and some evolutionary psychologists posit that a degree of narcissism might be adaptive in the wider evolutionary sense, though this hypothesis (which has no genetic evidence to confirm it) can only be applied to a limited subset of behaviours before tipping into maladaptive manifestations of narcissism as measured by the usual psychometric instruments.6,7,8 Moreover, no one has satisfactorily demonstrated that adaptive self-enhancement (i.e. a proposed non-pathological narcissism) belongs to a construct continuum with pathological narcissism.
With these points in mind it’s necessary to differentiate between female self-enhancement as an evolutionary survival strategy, versus female self-enhancement as a maladaptive, narcissistic pathology. The narcissistic self-enhancement we see increasingly demonstrated among women today is not a contributor to evolutionary success; on the contrary it works to undermine family ties, intimate relationships and is also associated with lowering the birth rate – the exact opposite of conditions required for evolutionary success. Lastly, by differentiating hypergamous self-enhancement behavior from narcissism we avoid the error of encouraging or excusing narcissism under the banner of it being “natural.”
 Grapsas, S., Brummelman, E., Back, M. D., & Denissen, J. J. (2020). The “why” and “how” of narcissism: A process model of narcissistic status pursuit. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(1), 150-172.
 Campbell, W. K. (1999). Narcissism and romantic attraction. Journal of Personality and social Psychology, 77(6), 1254.
 Wallace, H. M. (2011). Narcissistic self-enhancement. The handbook of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder: Theoretical approaches, empirical findings, and treatments, 309-318.
 Freud, S. (2014). On narcissism: An introduction. Read Books Ltd.
 Segal, H., & Bell, D. (2018). The theory of narcissism in the work of Freud and Klein. In Freud’s On Narcissism (pp. 149-174). Routledge.
 Holtzman, N. S., & Donnellan, M. B. (2015). The roots of Narcissus: Old and new models of the evolution of narcissism. Evolutionary perspectives on social psychology, 479-489.
 Holtzman, N. S. (2018). Did narcissism evolve?. Handbook of Trait Narcissism: Key Advances, Research Methods, and Controversies, 173-181.
 Czarna, AZ, Wróbel, M., Folger, LF, Holtzman, NS, Raley, JR, & Foster, JD (2022). Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Evolutionary roots and emotional profiles. In TK Shackelford & L. Al-Shawaf (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Evolution and the Emotions. Oxford University Press.