What's So Wrong With Being "The Prize" In A Relationship?

Dating advice is one of the most popular subjects of internet forums, Instagram accounts, and Twitter threads for both men and women. Among all the dating advice, two distinct groups, each with a different ideology, have popped up: hypergamy and the red pill or pick-up artists.

By Nicole Lam3 min read
What's So Wrong With Being "The Prize" In A Relationship?

Hello, Hypergamy

Hypergamy, as defined by Men’s Health, means to marry up or to “seek out partners of a higher socioeconomic or social class.” In pop-culture, hypergamy is mainly done by women think of the terms “gold digger” or “trophy wife.” Although it could be considered part of an evolutionary instinct stemming from women’s desire for a mate who can provide enough resources for her children, it persists today in a subtler form. Studies have shown that unemployed men are more likely to divorce and that women prefer men with steady jobs

In popular internet circles, women who propagate hypergamous ideas range widely from sugar babies to dating coaches, but they have some things in common. They mostly believe that men should initiate romantic relationships and that women should avoid investing in men who aren’t worthy of commitment or aren’t financially stable. A lot of hypergamous groups also believe that women are “the prize” in a relationship, meaning that on dates, women should simply seek to be impressed by men instead of trying to do the impressing. 

Hypergamy means to marry up or to “seek out partners of a higher socioeconomic or social class.”

The villains in a hypergamous relationship are “dusties,” the men who are broke, cheap, stingy, or otherwise unable or unwilling to pay and provide. Another one is the “pick-me” girl or the “pickmeisha” who, in their eyes, is willing to sacrifice her dignity, time, energy, efforts, and principles just to get a man to pick her. Being a “pick me” girl is an over-extension of women’s natural instincts to nurture, show affection, and devote herself to a man. 

What’s interesting about hypergamous groups is that, although the majority of them would claim to be feminists, a lot of their movement is about reclaiming traditional gender roles and femininity. For example, they will assert that it’s a red flag if a man says he “likes independent women” or “fifty-fifty relationships” because he wants a woman to provide for him. 

Another common argument in hypergamous circles is that women have been forced to “have it all” i.e. a career, motherhood, and a healthy marriage. Many of these women feel that such burdens are too much for them and that these expectations are based on masculine gender roles, forcing women to be like men to be accepted by society.

Taking the Red Pill

The term “red pill” has taken on a lot of meanings in recent years, but its first meaning is from the film The Matrix. It means to wake up from a simulation or a false view of reality and see things as they truly are. The opposite of the “red pill” is the “blue pill,” and, recently, the “red pill” has come to be associated with conservative politics and worldviews.

The red pill means to wake up from a simulation or a false view of reality and see things as they truly are.

In a lot of red pill circles, the men are “the prize” in relationships. Women should chase a man, men should replace their girlfriends if they do one thing wrong, women should be cooking and cleaning for men and having sex with them whenever they want. 

The main villain of red pill circles is the simp, a man who gives too much to a woman while receiving too little in return. This could include money (e.g., paying for OnlyFans) or devotion, time, and emotional energy (e.g. being friends with a girl who already has a boyfriend, and being stuck in the friend zone). Being a simp is a form of the traditional male provider role taken to an unhealthy extreme because the woman he’s providing for doesn’t deserve it. 

What’s Wrong with Being "The Prize"?

If the woman is “the prize,” then she shouldn’t have to lift a finger or change anything about herself for men to like her. She shouldn’t have to put effort into a relationship by calling or texting a man first or doing anything nice for him. This attitude comes from a fear of getting over-invested in a relationship. Instead, she wants a man to love her more than she loves him, thus granting her a feeling of security in the relationship. Deep down, these women fear being used for sex.

If a man is “the prize,” then he shouldn’t have to buy gifts for a woman or try to impress her. His mere presence should be enough for her to fall at his feet and profess her undying love. She should be willing to devote herself to him and receive nothing in return. These men also fear being used for money or falling into a “beta provider” role. 

Both circles hate the man or woman who does too much or tries too hard. 

Both of these viewpoints are wrong yet also startlingly similar. They contain a common thread of hating on “simps” and hating on “pick-me” girls. That is, both circles hate the man or woman who does too much or tries too hard. They hate the guy who buys flowers for a girl who in their eyes doesn’t deserve them, or the woman who does wife duties when she’s only a girlfriend.

Closing Thoughts

Both of these mindsets of “being the prize” stem from a place of fear and insecurity. They stem from the fear of caring too much and getting hurt. Instead of putting time and effort into a relationship, these people are putting time and effort into avoiding heartache and sacrifice. But no healthy relationship can begin from a place of fear or selfishness.

Rather than either partner being “the prize,” the relationship should be the prize. Both people involved should invest in their relationship, not keeping one another at arms’ length while getting as much as they can out of the other person. While it’s important for men to provide for a woman and for women to respect their partners, neither of these roles should be taken to an extreme. 

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