So just to kick this off. I'm going to talk about George. George is the average mid to late twenty something male. He's a collage graduate, he has a job -not amazing pay but no slouch either, he's tall and attractive enough he doesn't immediately repel women. He's got enough going for him he would be considered marriageable material.
We came up with three reasons why George isn't feeling a strong enough need to get married to actually do anything about it. Here they are.
This isn't what you think, I'm not trying to point to the many many many mindless hours George spends playing video games. I'm talking about the sense of accomplishment George feels after playing a game. I'm talking about the average first person shooter game where the player has to shoot all the bad guys and saves the world from nuclear detonation.
In our culture George feels pressure to be the best. At anything. At everything. The strongest, the fastest, the smartest, the best worker. Our society is set up to be very competitive specifically for males. And the thing is, there is always going to be someone better than George. That's got to be extremely defeating for him; maybe not even consciously, but subconsciously. So to enter the world of fantasy where he is hero of the world, hero of the universe even, suddenly has a lot more allure.
The problem with this is that its completely false. While feeling like he has accomplished something when he wins this video game, he hasn't actually. He hasn't made a single contribution to the world.
Why this doesn't hold up for women? Even though statistics show more and more women are playing games, they aren't these kinds of games. They are playing Candy Crush and Farmville. They aren't getting that false sense of accomplishment. In fact, they are experiencing exactly the opposite, but that's another discussion for another day.
This brings us to Television. Speaking of providing a false sense, TV does just that only for companionship. There are multiple studies out there that show that people will turn to TV when they feel lonely. And the problem with this is that in the end, they feel even more lonely because they haven't actually interacted with a real person. So when George feels like he needs a friend, he switches on the TV to watch his favorite comedy. He has a few laughs and it wiles away the evening. So now he has no time left to interact with a real person, cutting him off even more from real companionship. But at the end of the night, he has had just enough to fill the need.
Why doesn't this hold up for women? I'm not sure that it doesn't. This is not based on anything other than my sole opinion. However I believe that women are more social in general. And so even though they are going home and turning on the TV, they're also more likely to talk to a friend, make a phone call, maybe even watch the TV show with someone. But I might be wrong on this one in that women are falsely filling this need with TV too.
Lastly, sex. I'm sure every one has encountered the whole "it is more socially acceptable for women to engage in sexual activity which means sex is more accessible for men, leading to less marriages." However, I want to add another angle on this.
Obviously porn is everywhere. Its on the internet; its free, its accessible, sometimes you get it without even wanting it. Everyone knows about it. (Except apparently Eminem.) So George gets home from work and feels that oh so familiar "need". Instead of having to actively seek out a woman, or even go to the corner market to buy a naughty magazine, he just goes to his computer and takes care of it. Bam, need met.
Why doesn't this hold up for women? While female masterbation is on the rise, women just do not meet this need in this way nearly as much as men. In fact, as my husband and I discussed this, we came to realize what sex and even physical contact is, is completely different for men and women. For men, its just the physical act. Its that moment of release. For women, its not about that at all.
The bottom line is basic needs of accomplishment, companionship, and physical needs that might compel our friend George towards marriage are now being met in other ways. And they aren't even being met perfectly. Like I said, none of these substitutes are nearly as good as the real thing. But they are good enough. And women aren't getting these same substitutes. So it is creating a ever increasingly large disparity between the number of women that want to get married, versus men.
I'd be extremely curious to hear your thoughts! Chime in on the comments below!