It’s a new boardgame

Susan Maushart; 13/2/10

For all of recorded human history, females have reliably sought mates whose access to material resources – goats, sheep, share options – is greater than their own. Anthropologists call the tradition of marrying up “hegemony”, and note that it is also associated with choosing partners who are somewhat taller, somewhat older and infinitely more inclined to take up couch space. Today, however, the so-called Iron Law of Marriageability is finally getting metal fatigue. According to a new US study, young women are increasingly marrying down, and that means two things to this reporter. First, and most importantly, that I have always been a woman ahead of my time. (Repeatedly.) And second, that the sexual politics of marriage may never be the same again. (If we’re lucky.)