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It's tough to be a young female New Yorker. The problem may not stem from the high cost of life or the poverty shown in the streets; rather, it stems from people's stereotypes and perceptions of the young single women living in New York's concrete jungles. Some insist they are well-educated, whilst others claim they depend on financial assistance from their parents at their respective homes. The most common myth is that a young woman cannot live in this city without the help of a man, mostly in exchange for a sexual relationship. These factors give the young minds a lot of a hard time, which does not only complicate their lives but also lowers their value on the face of the potential of this ruthless city. This report seeks to examine the independent life of a female New Yorker amidst varying perceptions against them.
Finishing school and learning to become financially independent is emotionally burdening to the young lady when New York is their city of choice. There are many opportunities amidst obstacles that are not only physically present (such as the high cost of living), but also psychological discrimination posed by the society (Bell, 2013).
First, if you are fresh from college and searching for a job, people see you as an armature, lazy, naïve and full of girl drama. Secondly, no one expects them to last. Be it a friend, an employer or a parent, they all expect you to get tired of their current lifestyle and switch to the next one. Finding a long-term commitment, contract or stable neighborhood is also a challenge for them. Some end up committing suicide when they cannot take the pressure anymore (Bell, 2013).
According to Bell (2013), balancing social life and professional pressure can be quite exhausting for young adults who are trying to figure out the course of their lives. They have the choice to move to anywhere they like, try different opportunities in various companies and try any lifestyle they have ever admired. It is a dream come true, as they now have wings to fly to wherever they want to be. Settling down on a formal job means that they have to forget all that luxury, and subjecting themselves to responsibilities (Gangestad, & Simpson, 2016). Many would consider this state as being stupid, although it is not. The decision to settle rests upon many pedestals; their social life, professional career, self-image, and comfort. If an observer looks only at their future, a stable job, and a happy family, they miss out on other aspects of a young person's life. This is the cause of the distrust that defines them. A boring life seems to be their worst enemy, as it keeps them on their toes, making settling a difficult decision.
Some have a flashy lifestyle, others have a very self-composed private life, but the majority have double lives. The behavior they portray at work and other formal circles are very different from the description you get from the friends. During the day they are calm, efficient and composed when they are with their parents, they are classy, obedient, polite and humble. However, when the freedom and privacy of a club, they can become wild, dance, and drink and repeat the lifestyle over the weekend. Their nights are short and their days very tedious. This is the life they live and has many struggles within it. Struggles they can choose to pursue, and others which they have to. This is what a normal eye would perceive. An anthropologist would see a fighter, struggling with responsibility, maturity and social life. As there is no award for the winner, every young New York lady does it her way. Survival of the fittest.
Financial freedom is a contentious issue that affects many young women in the society. The little they earn has to be balanced between mortgage, bills, social expenses and life savings. Most black New York's Black women are not as financially sound as they look. Their dress code at work, social behavior, and spending do not portray a person who is financially suffering. Others have multiple works where they aim to raise enough money for some projects; such as purchasing a house, furthering education and educating siblings (Gangestad, & Simpson, 2016). argues that to survive the harsh life in American urban centers, an African American woman needs to be hard working, and sacrificing their free time Behind the faces they put on for different occasions is a hardworking and responsible woman whose potential has not been realized. Even though this does not apply to every woman in New York, most are very hard working, a quality which can only be realized if they are given an opportunity to do so. A study in 2009 on young African American women and their responsibilities showed that 40 % of unmarried working women in New York City has to take care of either their parents or a sibling (Costello, Wight, & Stone, 2016). This was in form of either financial support, school fees or personally availing themselves often times for physical assistance. It also revealed that many had to take multiple jobs to achieve their goals as a single job could not satisfy their needs.
Being young and recently independent, the women need psychological support, from men. This does not mean that they are dependent on men for sexual pleasure or money (Costello, Wight, & Stone, 2016). Rather, a male figure is associated with security, confidence, and faith that regardless of the prevailing conditions, the situation can improve. There are many young single mothers in America today which result from many men being depended upon for the psychological support, only to end up impregnating and leaving the women with more burdens. However, on realizing their ability to bring up their families without the men, these young women forge life ahead on their own. According to the National Opinion Research Centre at the University of Chicago, 72% of African American children are born out of wedlock. New York has a significantly high number of single mothers, most of whom bear children within the first five years of employment when they experience social freedom (Costello, Wight, & Stone, 2016).
Although they feel a lot of freedom, single black women in New York City have to feel discriminated by the society. As illustrated by Costello, Wight, & Stone (2016), this discrimination can be attributed to lack of concern by other members of the society. The society has issues of trust on them, ranging from their employers to those in their social circles (Costello, Wight, & Stone, 2016). Financial struggles also contribute to this feeling of discrimination. As some juggle two or more jobs to meet their obligations, they will meet wealthy people, especially men, who are only after having sexual relations with them (Gilje, 2014). This makes them bitter since they can feel that there is no love or concern, as the men are social predators, searching for an opportunity to devour them. When a young woman starts generalizing men and turning against them, Gilje (2014), says that their psychological perception of men is greatly affected, hence they might fail to ever trust men again in their lives. This is the cause of their feeling of discrimination and to some, withdrawal from the social circles in the community. This is a contributing factor to the high numbers of single-parent cases among African American women.
As an etic observer, one can argue that the young and unmarried African American women in New York are a highly independent group, regardless of the misconceptions that surround them. The society is convinced that they are a proud, unreliable and unstable group which should approach carefully or risk disappointment. This could be true to some extent, even though the society does not care why this age group behaves this way (Gilje, 2014). Psychological pressure manifests into physical characteristics; hence, the society should consider understanding the dilemma of this group and treating them more cautiously. Many factors contribute to changing an individual. However, responsibility is the most effective way of instilling responsible behavior to a group. It is necessary that the employers, spouses, and parents give more duties, trust and show them support in all their endeavors. Segregating these women makes them feel more distanced, and does not offer any positive solution to the community (Gilje, 2014).
Gender equality should be maintained in the society so as to comprehend and effectively relate with all members. A society where men are portrayed to have more wealth, more respect, and more power only makes the women vulnerable and lowers their self-esteem (Gilje, 2014). Young black women are very vulnerable to emotional pressure, which can lead them to submission to various circumstances. This is why there are many young black women in New York who are either in jail, pregnant, and single mothers. Appreciating and embracing them more as part of an elite society. Young people are prone to making mistakes and disappointing, all of which is part of their learning. Every great leader started somewhere; hence, the young college graduates attempting life on the streets of New York should not be treated any differently from other staff.
Conclusively, African American women in New York have specific characteristics, which make them stand out in the community. Their seclusion can be attributed to the struggles they face in their relationships with others in the society (Gilje, 2014). Many people fail to trust them due to many such factors. They are considered insecure, unsettled, and unreliable, even though when given a chance to be responsible, they perform beyond the expectations of many. Young working women struggle with financial balancing and meeting other responsibilities such as family and relationships. It is prudent to handle them as part of the society instead of segregating them. This will reduce hypocrisy, build a more responsible society, and promote women empowerment. Gender equality should be promoted in every society in order to facilitate women empowerment in the community.
Bell, D. (2013). Gendered fields: Women, men and ethnography. Routledge.
Costello, C., Wight, V., & Stone, A. (Eds.). (2016). The American Woman, 2003-2004: Daughters of a Revolution: Young Women Today. Springer.
Gangestad, S. W., & Simpson, J. A. (Eds.). (2016). The evolution of mind: Fundamental questions and controversies. Guilford Publications.
Gilje, P. A. (2014). The Road to Mobocracy: Popular Disorder in New York City, 1763-1834. UNC Press Books.
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