The world is full of unchallenged, silly ideas. One is that it’s a (cynical) form of equality when women use their beauty to secure rich mates and men use their money to attract beautiful mates. There’s nothing equal about these two methods of securing mates; in fact, there’s a great deal of sexism involved. I’m going to start with the simple mechanics, then move into the deeper philosophical issues.
Beauty fades; money grows
The first major problem with believing these two tactics to be equal is: loads of women aren’t born conventionally beautiful. For some of us, there isn’t enough cosmetic surgery available to “fix” our “defects” – for example, doctors can’t make short legs long. Even if some cosmetic surgery is the only thing standing between you and conventional gorgeousness, guess what you’ll need for that surgery? Money. That’s right – for all but a tiny part of one percent of us, at least some money is required to achieve conventional beauty in order to marry money.
But any man has a shot in hell at becoming wealthy. So already, we’re seeing that this form of competition weeds out far more women than men. Therefore, the reasoning I’ve often heard – that few women may be beautiful enough to marry rich men, but that’s okay because few men are rich enough to marry beautiful women – is irrelevant. All men have at least some chance in this competition. Many women are weeded out from the get-go.
And what happens over time? Conventional beauty fades, because being thirty-five or older is automatically considered un-beautiful for a woman (though not for men). But wealth can grow forever. This is how you get wealthy ninety-year-old men marrying conventionally gorgeous twenty-two year old women, but never the reverse.
Equal, my ass.
What beauty and money actually signify
I don’t judge anyone for how they conduct their love life. If you want to marry for wealth or beauty, go right ahead. But be aware that you are actually marrying the money or the look itself, and not the person. Because being wealthy or beautiful indicates absolutely nothing of what someone is like, or what her values are, or whether he will make you miserable or contribute to your happiness.
Both beauty and wealth can be inherited, so un-beautiful people not infrequently outmatch the wealthy or gorgeous for being interesting, successful, effective personalities. If you want a mate who actually possesses those traits that are incorrectly associated with wealth (effectiveness, ambition) and beauty (sweetness and sexiness), you may do better to expand your search parameters.
The difference in importance
Beauty is trivial while wealth is important to survival. The argument that evolution has bred men to favor certain traits in women is completely unsound. Large breasts, perfectly straight teeth, creamy skin, long legs, Caucasian features, etc., do not lead to more or better offspring, or improve survival rates. Stop using evolution as an excuse for being shallow, and just own that you, personally, are shallow.
Women seeking wealth, however, is just as natural as men seeking wealth. Everyone needs some resources on hand to ensure survival. Wealth means survival, which has everything to do with evolution.
Perceptions of seeking beauty and wealth
Finally, let’s look at how four types of people are perceived:
- Women who seek wealthy men to date.
- Women who seek gorgeous men to date.
- Men who seek gorgeous women to date.
- Men who seek wealthy women to date.
If all things were equal, 1 and 3 would be viewed with the same level of appreciation, and 2 and 4 would both be viewed as odd. Instead, we have something very different. 1 and 2 are both viewed as shallow, materialistic and uppity – how dare women be “gold-diggers” or shallow “bitches” who refuse to put out for Nice (but not conventionally gorgeous) Guys. Number 3 is viewed as perfectly “natural”, since people buy into the faux-evolutionary excuses. Number 4 is viewed with scorn – a real man would earn his own wealth, not “mooch” off some woman.
So, in this beauty/wealth equation, the only way to be approved of by the patriarchy is to be a man seeking a “trophy wife.” No woman in this scenario can win social approval by any means, because she will be rejecting somebody, and that’s not okay. Strangely, it’s okay for men to reject all sorts of high-quality women in their rush to marry the best-looking buddy-impresser they can.
This is especially absurd when you consider that women have been prevented from acquiring wealth through any means other than heterosexual dating and marriage for thousands of years. If a woman buys into the idea that her best route to wealth and security is to marry a rich man, then it naturally follows she must reject any suitor who isn’t wealthy. The patriarchy should approve of her benchmark as much as it approves of that of the wealthy men pursuing her. But it doesn’t.
Because there’s just all sorts of unequal and sexist infusing this concept from every direction.