The title of this series is Hypergamy Unleashed. This implies that there was a time when it was leashed. This era was the time before the 1960’s. What was it that kept hypergamy in check? Primarily, the fact that women were dependent on individual men (not men collectively) for provisioning. This situation was actually a “twofer”; it forced women to consider men seriously in terms of their provisioning potential (and not so much with respect to tingles), and it put men in a position of dominance over women (which women really do want, though most won’t admit it).
Women were counseled by elders as to what type of man they might catch, and what they had to do to catch him (e.g. pleasantness, domestic skill, mother potential). If they aimed too high, and spent much effort in such pursuits, there was a chance that they might miss out on a good fella that might have been a good match. If they gained a “reputation”, then few men worth their salt would want her, and she would have to settle, if she could find a man at all. In short, they had to play their cards well.
Seemingly, this put much power in the men’s hands. It did. But there was an ethic among men to treat their wives well. Of course this did not always happen, but societal pressure had its effect (as well as pressure from the wife’s brothers). Much of the societal pressure came from the churches, which were more prominent at the time.
The situation had a balance. Each side tried to prepare themselves to be the best catch that they could be, so that they could marry as well as they could. And young they did marry. If men with raging hormones were not to play the field, this was a given. Similarly with the women, if she was to remain a virgin, it was best to do it quickly. Often, the newlyweds grew up together, and shared the same trials. Ideally, this would improve their bonding.
As a side note, women were not forced to marry. And those that did not marry were not forced into destitution. Women could have careers then. I had many Aunts who were school teachers and nurses. In fact one was a Dean of a Nursing College.
This situation is obviously not how it is today. In the next installment, we will start seeing what happened.