Are men the stronger sex? Is getting married to a man becoming a redundant goal?
Is being married or in a relationship with a male still the perceived ultimate aspiration for women? Or does the stereotypical expectation that a woman requires a male becoming outmoded and increasingly obsolete?
Does a woman need a male to feel safe, content and happy? To fulfill her? To make her happy? Is a woman doomed to a life of isolation, despair and social stigma if she remains single and puts herself, her goals and her passions first and foremost? Are single women selfish or smart?
New research confirms what many single women already know that women are happier and more content being single than their male counterparts.
According to a study by data analysts Mintel, 61% of single women are happy being single in comparison to 49% of single men.
The survey also showed that 75% of single women have not actively sought out a relationship in the last year, compared to 65% of single men.
In fact unmarried and childless women have been found to be the happiest subgroup in the population.
Are women born superior to men?
Women live an average of five to six years longer than their male counterparts
Males are more likely to die or suffer from the damage of stress than females at every age from the time of conception to old age. Statistically there are more widows than widowers. A huge factor in play is that males have only one X chromosome in comparison to females who have two plus another spare, this means that a mutation on one can be counteracted by its absence on the other. However for men, if their single X chromosome has a genetic disease gene it always causes illness in male patients.
In regards to potential developmental issues, hyperactivity, learning difficulties, autism, and conduct disorder all are commoner in boys.
Sebastian Kraemer, author of The Fragile Male, explains that boys vulnerabilities are magnified by our cultural expectations of males. This toxic mix of social and biological factors is reflected in a far higher rate of male suicide and deaths through violent crime.
Males also fair unfavorably against their female counterparts in numerous other instances including, emotional literacy, alcoholism and substance abuse, diabetes, heart disease, cancers particularly of the lung, circulatory disorders and scholastic achievement.
Kraemer says that we shouldn’t necessarily surmise that maleness is a genetic disorder, but we should instead investigate the reasons that make being male so vulnerable and address these concerns during child-rearing.
According to research men become mentally mature in their 40s. After being molly coddled by their mothers , they then generally try to move on to another female figure who can then take on the role of care taker for them.
Studies show that women in heterosexual relationships do the lions share of duties and on top of this struggle to work or maintain a career especially when children enter the equation. This can transpire into a fantasy gone sour for many that are starting to reject it.
When the price for having a marriage and babies is saying goodbye to a life you might have been passionate about, or finding yourself last on your list of priorities, it is hardly surprising when emotions of unhappiness, isolation and despair follow the depicted dream turned nightmare of the white picket fence facade.
After watching other women including their own mothers forced to putting their needs last in order to balance a myriad of never ending tasks for others many women are making the decision to say “I don’t” instead of “I do.”
Women’s drift away from marriage is noted by sociologist, Dr Roona Simpson, of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships at the University of Edinburgh.
“Money and time are still shared unequal in relationships,” she says. “And women’s lives change most when marriage and children come along. They are still the ones doing most of the chores, and taking time off work when the children are ill. So you have the combination of big changes in women’s economic opportunities combined with this very slow change in relationships, and it is putting them off marriage.”
Is marriage more beneficial for a male?
“If you’re a man, you should probably get married,” says behavioural scientist Paul Dolan. “If you’re a woman, don’t bother.”
Dolan, a professor at the London School of Economics, and author of Happy Ever After: Escaping The Myth of the Perfect Life makes the point that the traditional markers for success were rapidly evolving and this includes the societal expectation of marriage and children.
“Married people are happier than other population subgroups, but only when their spouse is in the room, when they’re asked how happy they are. When the spouse is not present, fucking miserable,” he says.
According to Dolan men benefit the most from tying the knot as they, “calmed down”… took less risks, tended to earn more money and increased their lifespans.
Dolan claims that a woman who gets married actually dies sooner than if she never married. Married middle-aged women also appear to suffer higher levels of physical and mental conditions than single women of their own age.
A recent study in the journal of Women’s Health, involving 80,000 women showed that overall they became healthier when divorcing or separating from their husbands.
Signs of health improvements included, a decrease in BMI, waist size and diastolic blood pressure as well as developing better eating habits and participation in greater amounts of physical activity.
Matrimony or Sologamy?
In 2017 an Italian woman “married herself” in front of 70 loved ones, saying that her happiness did not depend on finding a man.
“Each of us must first love ourselves,” said Laura Mesi who wed herself in a growing trend called “Sologamy.”
Although the marriage was not legally recognized, Mesi enjoyed all the trimmings of a traditional wedding including a three tiered wedding cake, bridesmaids and she wore a white wedding gown.
Supporters of Sologamy argue that it affirms one’s own value and leads to a happier life. It does have it’s critics though with some arguing it is a narcissistic practice which suggests low self-esteem.
However Sologamy enthusiasts say that their choice of partnership (with themselves) is not about replacing or preventing a potential partner.. it is simply about being enough.
“I think it’s hard to adopt whatever society’s messages are…and I certainly think that one of the messages is, ‘You are not enough if you are not with someone else,’ Erika Anderson, a New Yorker who married herself, told The Independent. “And that’s a message a lot of women are sick of. Sologamy is about saying, “I am enough.”
The majority of those practicing Sologamy are women and while men are perceived as happy and independent bachelors, society can still be critical of women who are single and is generally suspicious of women who claim to be happily independent. Sologamy is described as a way for women to break away from those stigmas.
Can getting married make you happy?
Some studies have shown that married people are capable of finding happiness.
However, studies show that if you are a happy person before you get married, it can be easier to maintain the happiness demeanor if the hard work needed to sustain the relationship is put in (usually by the woman) However if you go into marriage thinking that it will make you happy, or the person you marry will fulfill you and make you happy you could be sorely disappointed.
“Marriage doesn’t make you happy,” says Harvard psychology professor and happiness expert Daniel Gilbert. “Happy marriages make you happy.”
Harvard Psychologist, Dr Bella DePaulo delves deeper:
“If you are not already a happy person, don’t count on marriage to transform you into one. If you are already happy, don’t expect marriage to make you even happier…finally, if you are single and happy, do not fret that you will descend into despair if you dare to stay single. That’s not likely either.”
Trying to live up to society’s rigid ideal regarding a “perfect marriage for a perfect life” can lead to misery and burnout for many women.
Women now have a wider range of alternatives in regards to their long term life choices. And many are choosing to remain single.
The old fashioned concept of spinsters and bachelors is dying out and society is finally embracing and accepting that many single women aren’t in a relationship by choice, because they’re actually happy being independent, doing whatever they want with their time and don’t require anyone else to fulfill them.
With nearly 50% percent of adults now single, any residual stigma of spinster status is eroding.
Does a woman need a man to have a child?
Many women are also making the choice to bear children alone. Women traditionally look after their children full-time in between everything else they multi task so after a relationship with a man fails, they are already generally used to the responsibility of full time child rearing. And sometimes when the father also acts like a child, it is one less to look after.
The great evolutionist, John Maynard Smith regarded sex as more or less inexplicable. He talked of “the twofold cost of males.” He stated that it was incomprehensible that any female should want to throw away half her genes and take on someone else’s when theoretically she could just produce clones of herself.
And according to Richard Dawkins, an ethologist and evolutionary biologist, the males of many species are entirely useless at doing anything except sitting around, and getting fat at the female’s expense.
In fact among some animals including elephant seals, the vast majority of males die as wasteful disappointing virgins.
There are at least 40 species where the female kills the male during or after sex. In the case of the praying mantis for example, she literally bites his head off as part of foreplay and he then carries on in a satisfying reflex of posthumous orgasm.
There are alternative methods of reproducing apart from sex. These include division and gene exchange.
How males evolved is aptly described in Matt Ridley’s book The Red Queen.
The theory put forth is that sex is part of a continual race to outwit germs. He demonstrates why sex is humanity’s best strategy for outwitting the constantly mutating internal predators.
In regards to males Ridley states that: “It is also reasonable to speculate that patriarchal societies are, ironically, men’s way of trying to assert their own needs in the face of their patent inferiority.”
In fact the purpose of males has become one of the biggest unanswered questions in science.
Perhaps in future times we will regard the fertilization by males as an evolutionary compromise.
There is already much evidence to show how the woman species resist the process of fertilization biologically (for example by stripping male sperm of part of their DNA) as well as how males try to control reproduction against their female’s will.
In regards to women the widespread use of frozen sperm and extracted eggs has made fertilization without a physical male partner possible. Women have advanced through several enormous stages of liberation and have reached the threshold of virgin births.
Previously women that wished to bear children had no choice but to find a partner before a certain age and in their haste to pro-recreate possibly pick someone unsuitable, but now women have the choice to pick and choose the time of conception (up to a point) with no need of a male to fulfill the process.
As women traditionally take on the majority if not all of the domestic duties plus the care of the children, many are ditching the traditional process of fertilization or the men that impregnated them and going it alone.
Are women lonelier without men? Are they societal outcasts?
Women are superior to men in their ability to maintain alternative social networks, whereas men tend to rely quite heavily on their wives for social interaction.
This dispels the myth that single women have no fun, have no friends and live a life of loneliness. Studies show that this is in fact more a reality for single males. This statistic explains why males tend to move on very quickly into a new relationship when one ends as being alone for them tends to equate to loneliness.
Even “good” men are being ditched as women hold tight onto the freedom of singleton.
Kyle, 35, recently split with her long-term partner because he insisted on getting married and settling down.
“He was handsome, and had a good job and yes I did love him. I must be crazy… but something deep within me was unwilling to let my single years end.”
“I’m not one of those women who dreams of a fairytale,” says Marjorie. At 28 she has a well-paid job as a nurse and is bringing up her 5-year-old daughter alone.
” A lot of men are threatened by my independence,” she said. “But I am not going to stop being myself for the sake of a man’s fragile ego.”
Further research conducted by DePaulo shows that being single can help improve independence and self determination, making it less likely for women to make unhealthy choices including making their relationship their main source of happiness. Single women also excel with confidence, especially in handling tasks by themselves and they experience an ever present desire to continue their quest of learning, growing and evolving.
“People often neglect to think about the creative, intellectual and emotional potential of solitude’ DePaulo states. “Missing from the stacks of journal articles is any sustained attention to the risks of intensive coupling or to the resilience offered by the networks of friends and family that so many single people maintain.”
Do women need the financial security a man can offer?
According to the Department of Trade and Industry, one in five women now earn more than their partner and this figure is growing.
The times of a woman marrying a man for his money is on the way out. Women have the ever increasing means and abilities to support themselves and less need to rely on a mans income to get through life.
Women are amassing greater wealth than ever before, they now control 32% of the world’s wealth and that share is likely to increase significantly in the years ahead.
The future of males
Will we one day come to see male fertilization as a mixture of genetic rape with informed consent?
Will women with their superior X chromosome quantities continue their liberation from the shackles of traditions that have held back their potential?
Or does the answer lie in the middle? With those women choosing to be single embraced for their choice in the same manner that women who walk down the aisle are revered.
Maybe women also need to throw away their outdated expectations regarding males and stop expecting them to live up to societal expectations that only stress their one X Chromosome.
Behind the bravado, males with their macho demeanor are vulnerable beings and physically more fragile than women.
In fact as Steven Austad, an international expert on aging says; “Pretty much at every age, women seem to survive better than men.” He describes them as being more “robust.”
Austad’s longevity database shows that women outlive men by five or six years.”
However in our society we see women depicted as the weaker sex with the men as the strong, powerful protectors.
We need to stop burdening males with outdated gender role models of toughness and success that can induce feelings of failure when they are not achieved.
We need to start with our young male children and take the pressure off them and their expected future responsibilities including the need to provide for a family and a wife which no doubt the stress of these expectations hasten their earlier demise. We need to stop burdening males with preconceived societal expectations the same as we do for females.
Despite all our best parenting efforts will males evolve into a redundant or extinct accessory for the female species?
All species evolve and some do die out.
In Adam’s Curse: A Future without Men, Bryan Sykes, a university human genetics professor expounds his hypothesis that with the declining sperm count in men combined with the continual atrophy of the Y chromosome, that within 5,000 generations (approximately 125,000 years) men shall become extinct.
Perhaps females are evolutionarily preparing themselves for the inevitable demise of the male and are becoming increasingly self sufficient, independent and strong with the trend towards coupledom stagnating.
However all hope is not lost for the continuation of the male species. Professor Jennifer Graves says that men could follow the path of a type of rodent which still manages to reproduce despite not having the vital genes that make up the Y chromosome.