The idea of love and founding a family is not novel to most of us. Growing up, the majority of us aspired to meet a certain person, fall in love with them, have children and live happily thereafter. I am not alien to these desires and these are sentiments.
I have been loved and I have loved in equal measure. The communion of two human beings or more transcends human feelings and very many nuances are at play before a person elects to settle with another. One of the concepts that I have learnt over the years is hypergamy and its male counterpart hypogamy.
Hypergamy is the practice of marrying or courting someone of a higher social, educational or economic status than you. Throughout the ages, princesses from smaller tribes married princes from more prominent tribes with the view of offering protection and elevating their tribe’s statutes.
In the recent past, men of higher education and in urban areas pursued partners with no educational background and from rural areas. The aspiration of most mothers is to have their young daughters married to men of great wealth and accomplishments. I am of the opinion that as a generation we need to collectively say no to hypergamy.
Human actions and interactions tend to arise out of human needs and wants. Hypergamy is no longer necessary for human sustenance and development. In the olden days, women were denied access to education and job opportunities solely because of their sex.
Through the eyes of Victorian age writers like Jane Austen, it can be observed that women acquired status through marriage. As such a marriage was the difference between an old maid and an accomplished woman in society or whom you married informed your rank in society.
As society continues to evolve into a more egalitarian, access to employment and education has become easier for women. Therefore, with these advancements, the necessity for hypergamy as a means of gaining status in society has been quashed.
Love is a beautiful thing. Our pursuit of companionship should be based on more noble sentiments and values like love and trust
A happy marriage is not a substitution for a prosperous career and neither should the academic accomplishments of your partner be a reason for not pursuing scholarly glory. The argument is against getting married but pursuing total accomplishment through the achievements of your partner at the expense of your very own aspirations.
In no way am I suggesting that we have already achieved a totally equal society. Marrying a rich person for the sake of wealth does not achieve any form of reparations for the ills perpetuated against women by society, but instead works towards defeating the steps that have been taken to achieve the equality of the sexes.
The commodification of love and intimacy has overreaching effects on human engagement that may lead to the objectification of women and assigning of value to women making them second-class citizens in their own homes. It serves women well if they stand against this archaic practice.
The notion that value is based on one’s economic wellbeing is one that should be rejected by all especially men. The idea of intrinsic worth is achieved at birth as a human being and should be protected throughout one’s entire earthily existence.
Throughout our interactions with the state, church and work, we are usually ordered according to our economic muscle and as such the richer, the higher your value and more privileges assigned to you. This is a result of the capitalist enterprise that seeks to perpetuate classes to favour those that have against those who don’t.
It is important that this grading system is not transferred to homes where basic human interaction stems. For the sake of protecting society’s development and individual sanity, it is only right that the value of those in the smallest unit in society should not be determined by wealth.
The commodification of love and intimacy has overreaching effects on human engagement that may lead to the objectification of women
As a generation that has been hailed as the poorest in comparison to the generations before we should raise in unison and reject any form of concept that seeks to subject basic human relations to financial might. The millennials have been hailed as the poorest generation ever with the majority failing to have access to basic human needs like housing.
It would be counterintuitive if we elected to form alliances that were solely based on wealth. To achieve any form of improvement in our state we should undo gender roles and traditional attitudes on who qualifies as the right partner.
The other problem is the disenfranchisement of very many people from marriage as younger men desire richer women and younger women pursue richer men with equal fury. This results in cross-generational relationships with their very many ills towards the individual and society.
Love is a beautiful thing. Our pursuit of companionship should be based on more noble sentiments and values like love and trust. The love for money and material gain has been known to corrupt and we should not allow it to blind us from more honourable things. For my house and I shall seek to pursue love in moments of vulnerability, want, and also in abundance and wealth.
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Author: Emmanuel Luwaga
Emmanuel Luwaga is a lawyer, passionate writer, debate coach and adjudicator.