Women's Life Choices and Marriage - Do Kiwis Need To Fly?

The Kiwi, a Flightless Individual

(public domain)
(public domain)

Does a Flightless Bird Need to Fly?

The original question put by ayaniv was "Is marriage a necessity of life, especially for a woman?"

I answer with another question: "Do kiwi birds need to fly?"

The audience may respond, "What does it all mean?"

The Ongoing Riddle

My observations have been these: Even if women did need to be married, they may find marriage impossible to achieve in an area where there are no men to marry. In that event, these women must adjust to a non-married state of being or experience tremendous anxiety on top of social pressures to marry (in groups that expect or even demand marriage).

In some societies, arranged marriages are the norm. A woman that refuses these arrangements often incurs consequent wrath and social restrictions. She might be socially ridiculed or even shunned, perhaps denied employment. All manner of strictures may be put into place against her and she may find herself needing to move away from her home society in order to survive. This requires confidence, determination, and bravery. The same can be said for men that prefer not to have their nuclear families arranged for them.

In other societies, family and friends begin prodding a single woman in her late teens with questions, even in the 21st Century, like:

  • Why don't you have a man (boyfriend, finance, sugar-daddy, significant other, etc.)?
  • When are you going to get married (move in together, make a civil union, shack up, etc.)?
  • When are you going to have children?
  • When are you going to give me grandchildren?
  • Why are you going to college, all you need is a husband?
  • What's wrong with you?

Again, this can be said about men in certain societies as well.

The riddle is: If marriage is required for survival, then what is a woman to do that cannot marry? She may not even wish to marry.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

— Noel Coward

How Can This Bird Fly?

No wings. (public domain)
No wings. (public domain)

A Riddle Addendum

The wonderful kiwi bird has been called a genetic leftover. Are single women also called leftovers?

No Answer

Even in the 1990s, I could not extract an answer to the riddle from individuals and groups that believe(d) that all women should marry and not work outside the home.

Now, stay-at-home moms and homeschooling moms are superheroes to me, because that is an overwhelming, important, neverending job. I have to say a big Thank You! to all of them, because I think they do not hear it often enough.

However, these folks I mention believe(d) that no woman should ever work outside the home, because the King James Bible surely meant this by many of its passages. I think that is incorrect, looking at the original language. These folks stated that unmarried women should only volunteer at church and not work for pay, staying at home with their parents.

I asked the people what a woman is to do to survive other than work, if

  • She has absolutely no famly or property; no living relatives with whom she can abide; no friends that will take her in for free,
  • No men are available to marry or none of them wishes to make such an arrangement, and
  • The homeless shelters are full.

There was no real answer to this. The military is out, because it is work. Churches do not financially support single women that can work, except Catholic orders of nuns and perhaps some other faith groups. The Peace Corps might be a possiblility, but the stipend paid makes it a type of paid work.

So, my opinion is that the riddle needs to be eliminated from society, at least Ameican society. At the same time, we need not become cubicle-dwelling single entities depicted by the novel 1984.

The truth, I think, is that not every women - or every man - will become married and we cannot change this fact. Some will be sad about this, so friends and family can be emotionally supportive of them. Some will be happy about this - and if they are, let us leave them alone or congratulate them on their happy lives.

We can stop telling the kiwi it has wings (which it does not need).

Must She Be Married?

...No. Ship's Navigator Lt. jg Shaina Hayden
...No. Ship's Navigator Lt. jg Shaina Hayden | Source

The Numbers Don't Add Up

The US Census in 2007 reported 147,129,583 males and 151,627,727 females in the United States and this difference is usual for most years.

Even if all pairs (im)possible were forcibly matched, 4,498,144 females have no match possible. Further, since males live shorter live spans on average than females, some males will likely die before females can marry them. Therefore, why hound women about not being married, unless the sentiment is a cultural artifact, outright cruelty, or malicious spurring toward cat-fight competition?

Is a high divorce rate a method of providing men to more than one woman without committing bigamy? An interesting thought.

Regardless of all this, not every person in the US will be married, because very little is "all", except in the case of a fractal equation, which has no margin for error, no tolerance level, no wiggle room -- One nano-change and you have a completely different pattern.

Still, even all this is moot when we consider the premise that not everyone wants to be married and should not be forced to do so (civil rights) -- You cannot force someone to want to do so.

1st US Female Astronauts in 1978

Healthy adults fly or marry because they wish to do so, not because they must do so. From left to right are Shannon W. Lucid, Margaret Rhea Seddon, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Judith A. Resnik, Anna L. Fisher, and Sally K. Ride.
Healthy adults fly or marry because they wish to do so, not because they must do so. From left to right are Shannon W. Lucid, Margaret Rhea Seddon, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Judith A. Resnik, Anna L. Fisher, and Sally K. Ride. | Source

Mary J. Blige

I doubt that anyone ordered powerful entertainer Mary J. Blige to marry. It was her choice. (public domain)
I doubt that anyone ordered powerful entertainer Mary J. Blige to marry. It was her choice. (public domain)
Don't fly, kiwi.
Don't fly, kiwi.

Self Reliance, But Still a Community

Any single man or woman is less of a person, in my opinion, if he or she marries a partner solely in order to gain financial support and a roof over the head Some people do this, however, and they seem to make it work. That's fine. Some folks are supported in this manner without marriage and while I think it may not be the best course of action either, it is their own lives to live. Again, fine. If any of these individuals would ask me my opinion, I would give it objectively, but otherwise I leave them alone -- Just as I do any single person that wishes to remain single.

Remaining single and relying on long-term welfare is another matter, a part of the concern of Welfare Reform in the first place. However, some people simply need help. But in America, if a 29-year-old woman (or man) is working in a successful career and judiciously seeking help when needed from professionals, such as healthcare practitioners, attorneys,accountants, realtors, bankers, mechanics, and whomever else one may require; then why is anyone criticizing her for lacking a husband?

It is the unfortunate norm that as individual in a group betters herself or himself, the mass of individuals at the status quo grasp at the moving or rising person to draw that person back into the mass. This is rather like Odo rejoining the lake of the Dominion Founders in the finale of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine® -- It's a perfect visualization of the phenomenon.

Ladies and Gentlemen, do not be sucked back into the mass. You can chart your own course, meet your own goals, and yet participate in the community. Hopefully, each of you can improve it in your own corner and the whole will rise in function. This reminds me that the commune is making a comeback as well. Regardless, choose your own nuclear family. 

Don't get married just to get married and don't reject it just to reject it. Be yourSelf.

Content where I am, also hoping to improve.

— Asian proverb

What Do you Think?

Do women need to be married?

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • A fish DOES need a bicycle, after all.
  • It is a matter of individual choice.
See results without voting

© 2009 Patty Inglish

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Comments, Solutions & Proposals 8 comments

The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Well Patty, to answer your question at its simplest level, Kiwis, the Moa (now extinct), and many of New Zealand's other flightless birds didn't need to fly as we had no animals, and so no natural predators prior to human habitation. In consequence these birds, who's ancestors did flap around, lost the ability to fly as surplus to requirements. Now they do have this danger and extinction is almost inevitable.

More broadly, the urge to mate and reproduce is a strong and necessary human instinct. Although the requirement to do so is an individual choice, fortunately only a minority choose not to, otherwise one generation and humanity's history, an outcome of debatable merit.

Incidentally, as a sometime aircraft navigator, this Kiwi flew, but having only one wing, had to flap twice as hard to stay aloft, (and exercise some creative aerodynamics to stop from going around in ever decreasing circles.)

Cheers,

Peter.


H P Roychoudhury profile image

H P Roychoudhury 7 years ago from Guwahati, India

Marry or not to marry is an individual’s discretion. It is not the society to question it is the instinct of self. It is the biological need that compelled a person to come to a term of understanding to satisfy the needs of the organ. It may be legal as the by the contract of marriage or it may not be so. This is what life is in this Universe, which is said by the public sometimes good or sometimes bad as is present in all the happenings of the Globe.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

No, I don't believe that we live in a society that forces others to marry. Marriage certainly can cause much stress, but then again, so do inquisitive parents who insist that their children get married (even when they themselves had failed marriages, go figure).

I'm holding out for Mrs.Right. Shame on her she doesn't want to be with me!

As always, this was a well-written, well-researched hub, Patty. Thanks.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

@The Old Firm - Luckily, those descending spirals brought you safely to earth. You were not injured badly, were you? I imagine one wing would tire immensely :) Were you a war hero? I could imagine you as such, or as a diplomat that showed all the nonsense inherent in much fighting.

Perhaps the few humans that choose to forego relationships will not doom the species to extinction; which reminds me - I was taught in 1st grade that the kiwi bird was extinct. In my 30s, I visited the National Zoo and found living kiwi. It was a shock, especially when I thought they were an inanimate display and they started walking around and eating food.

@H P Roychoudhury - Most humans seem to have the drive to reproduce, but a small group just do not at all. I suppose that's in the mathematics of life.

@dohn121 - May Mrs. right come knocking on your door with a basket of her excellent cooking!


The Old Firm profile image

The Old Firm 7 years ago from Waikato/Bay Of Plenty, New Zealand

Nothing so exotic Patty, all my limbs are intact, albeit slightly creaky these days. Navigators in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (as in the UK and Australia) wear a brevet with only one wing, denoting their status as aircrew, as opposed to pilots, who have a double wing. Hence the "we have to flap twice as hard" bit. I kicked the Air Force into touch after 11 years, when I got stuck with a stint at flying a desk in Service Headquarters as an intelligence officer. Not only an oxymoron but an exercise in futility. Some of the fools there actually took themselves seriously. The more astute of us new better so just got tipsy over lunch. I chose to leave for the sake of my sanity - and my liver!

Regards, Peter.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

@The Old Firm - Thanks very much for the explantion of the one wing, which is interesting - I have not seen such a thing before. A desk job may often be futile, I think, expecially in an oxymoron status. Glad you stopped by!


Ginn Navarre profile image

Ginn Navarre 7 years ago

Very well written,I have tried both sides of this fence and simply found that "a piece of paper or a ceremony" does not make you love someone any more--or any less.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 7 years ago from North America Author

@Ginn Navarre - Wow, thanks for your experiences. My situation was that I was not permitted to have friends or to date through high school, then most of my class and those ahead and behind either married straight after graduation or went to wars and did not return. I met some very odd people that did neither and could not hold a job.

So, perhaps I should try another country??

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