- 2012elections - 9/11 Special Coverage - aca - africanamericanalzheimers - aids - Alabama News Network - american - Awards & Expo - bees - bilingual - border - californiaeducation - Caribbean - cir - citizenship - climatechange - collgeinmiami - community - democrats - ecotourism - Elders - Election 2012 - elections2012 - escuelas - Ethnic Media in the News - Ethnicities - Events - Eye on Egypt - Fellowships - food - Foreclosures - Growing Up Poor in the Bay Area - Health Care Reform - healthyhungerfreekids - howtodie - humiliating - immigrants - Inside the Shadow Economy - kimjongun - Latin America - Law & Justice - Living - Media - memphismediaroundtable - Multimedia - NAM en Espaol - Politics & Governance - Religion - Richmond Pulse - Science & Technology - Sports - The Movement to Expand Health Care Access - Video - Voter Suppression - War & Conflict - 攔截盤查政策 - Top Stories - Immigration - Health - Economy - Education - Environment - Ethnic Media Headlines - International Affairs - NAM en Español - Occupy Protests - Youth Culture - Collaborative Reporting

Race + Gender = How Happy You Are

New America Media, Commentary, Various Authors Posted: Sep 30, 2009

Editor's Note: A recently published study suggests women today are less happy than they were in the 1970s, while male happiness has slightly increased. Some experts argue decreased female happiness is rooted in the stress of juggling many roles at once: the pursuit of higher education, a career, preserving the family unit, and upholding household responsibilities. According to the survey, black women rank highest in overall levels of happiness. We asked young men and women if women really are more stressed than men, and why black women are supposedly happier than other racial groups.

Success Creates Happiness
Nowadays, women don't stay home and wait for a man to bring home the bacon; they go to school, work and raise children by themselves. Women are independent, partly because lazy men dont help them out. If your husband doesn't work, will you die of starvation? No. Youll get your ass up and get a job application. That's what many women have done. I think women are more stressed than men because they work hard to pursue success. In my hood, boys don't go to school; they hang out on corners, in front of liquor stores and at just about any place that doesn't have anything to do with learning. Girls actually go to school, do homework and get good grades. Girls are expected to succeed, while the boys are expected to die or go to Santa Rita. I know black women are not happy. Most black women in urban communities are either middle-class or poor. These women can't be happy with changing diapers and welfare checks. The fathers of their children arent at home, nor are they financially supporting the women.
- Sean Shaver, 18

Black Women Have Stress, Too
A young woman could have a child and struggle, and thats stressful. At the same time, young men stress out because theyre so into making money and getting girls. Young black men cant get a decent job because of how they look or dress and because they are black. So thats why these young men follow the crowd and hustle on the streets to make money. I dont think black women are the happiest racial group because most black women live off food stamps and general assistance in low-income housing. These women are lazy. Happiness depends on how you choose to live your life and if you decide to make something of yourself. Black women have an option to go to college and not get pregnant by a guy who's selling them false dreams.
- Marina Saenz, 18

No One Is Completely Happy
I believe women are less happy than men because they want to be our equals, and reserve the right to be treated as such. But society still hasn't fully recognized their equality. Women work really hard to prove they can be our equals, and in doing so, they bite off more than they can chew. They take on everything in an attempt to prove themselves and to outperform men. Constantly having to prove yourself is stressful. Some men feel the need to be superior to women and to always be in control. These men perpetuate the "manly man" definition of what it means to be a man: strong, in control, never showing weakness or crying. Other men do acknowledge women, but they feel hesitant to treat them equally because to do so would make them less "manly." After all, "manly" men are superior and in control of women. Stating black women are the happiest racial group these days is a lie. No one can be fully happy because sexism, heterosexism, and racism are still issues that affect our happiness. Racism obviously has a lot to do with everyones unhappiness. The darker your skin is, the more you are discriminated against. Black women are less likely to be happy in this society. In the end, we really are just one people: humans. We chain ourselves to our own unhappiness because we eat up the lies and unfair gender norms that society feeds us in an attempt to keep us in control and submissive.
- Oscar D. Servellon, 17

Women Deal With Their Issues
Are men happier than women? Are women really that blue? I guess it depends. For myself, I would say that I'm fairly happy. Yeah, I'm stressed. It's hard juggling motherhood, work and a social life. But in the end it's fun for me and worth it. And, yeah, sometimes I feel like crawling into a ball and hiding, but so what, who doesnt? That doesn't mean that the guy or black chick next to me is lovin' their life more. The women in my life (my sisters, friends, cousins) are happy because they aren't like most guys I know. We don't hide our feelings. We aren't pretending like everything's dandy nor do we act nonchalant about every issue in our life. We actually deal with issues. If something is bothering me, especially if it's big, I'm not going to let it ride its way into fixing itself. It doesn't work that way. I'm happy because I know what I want, I fix what doesn't work, and I don't listen to these stupid surveys. It sounds stupid in my head to even consider race or sex when determining a persons happiness.
- Janet Lagto, 20

Living Life Recklessly
I think young men are less stressed because we live recklessly. We live as carefree as possible. Have you ever heard young people say, "So.... I don't care"? That response is the result of living recklessly. Black women are the happiest race group probably because they are the most comfortable in their own skin. Black women realized they can be independent and can offer the world much more than what they received while growing up. Black women have to fend for themselves, raise a child, all while attempting to get an education. It just goes to show that most women are good at multi-tasking. Young men get happier as they age because they gain an understanding that life has something to offer them and figure out what to live for.
- Roland Ballard, 18

Breadwinners Still Hit the Glass Ceiling
Long has the American perception of a revolution in womens rights been double-edged. Indeed, womens rights movements have elevated the status of women in society. However, the perception that women are now equal, that womens rights are a chapter in a closed book, is dangerous. The conversations cannot stop with the formal declaration of rights. Surveys such as these are critical; we must continue the conversation. The new role of women as both breadwinner and caregiver is paradoxical. While advancement of womens rights is one of the greatest achievements in the last century, wide acceptance of women in both spheres is often translated into the expectation that women must fulfill dual obligations to be considered truly independent and successful. While expectations remain high, society does not respond to the need of working women.

Men do less domestic work than women, and labor norms continue to function under the assumption that the primary earner is not the primary parent. While women have gained entry into the labor force, let us not ignore the fact that our society continues to function under institutionalized and socialized gendered norms in systems of education, employment, justice, and within the family. As breadwinner, women still face a glass ceiling and are paid less than their male counterparts. As caregivers, society continues to diminish the importance of domestic work. We limit understandings of productivity solely to labor force contribution and monetary reward. We must stop restricting definitions of productivity to waged labor and must consider the increasing responsibilities women face in the modern world. Failing to do so reflects and reinforces a silent hierarchy of worth.
- Liat Krawczyk, 22

Happiness Isnt About Race
I think women have more to juggle then men, especially when a woman wants to have a baby. I think women stress more then men. Some men dont really stress about little things, but the littlest thing will cause many women to stress out and complain. Being happy doesnt have anything to do with what color you are. Happiness depends on how you are doing and what you are trying to do with your life. It depends on the individual. You can be a broke white person and be happy, or a rich black person and be sad.
- Ricky Rollins, 18

Men Rely on Women for Support
Growing up, I used to think young men have it harder than young women, especially black people because of the history of discrimination against black people. Nowadays, its still tough for black people, but times are very hard for everyone. I think young men are less stressed than young women because they dont feel as many burdens as women. Young men have a slicker advantage because they often rely on us for support. I totally disagree that young black women are the happiest racial group. Young black women typically have to deal with a lot of things at once.
- Kendra Davis, 18

Despite Adversity, Black Women Still Smiling
I agree that women are more stressed. Women try to work too much and end up tired and stressed. That's why they age quicker than us, too. We are stressed, but not more than women. Women go to college after high school in addition to working. A man can get a career easier, doing less, simply because hes a guy. It may be unfair, but its true. Men don't have to prove themselves as much as women have to. This is just the world we live in, I guess.

As far as black women being the happiest racial group, I guess theres some truth to that. Let's say a white woman is dealing with what she perceives as a "big problem." To a black woman, that issue might actually be a little problem. Since the black woman has experienced more adversity, this "big problem" is no big deal, so she is happier than the white person because she's accustomed to dealing with problems and overcoming them.

A young black woman is usually born into worse-off circumstances but these women still have smiles on their faces amidst hardship. An example: a woman in Hunter's Point is on not living in luxury by simply living of just welfare. She is living well with all that she wants in the 'hood: cheap rent and a little bucket happy kid. Another girl, who isn't black, might not react to living to Hunter's Point the same way, and they might panic and be really unhappy living there.
- Amanze Emenike, 20

Its All About Your Accomplishments
Happiness really comes down to the cards you are dealt and how you choose to play them. Where you're born in the hood, you grow up having to fend for yourself. Others who are born into a family with money have more choices. In the hood, you find a lot of black women who are usually playing the role of mama, and there is a lot of juggling with having to raise a kid in the hood. You also have people who try to leave the hood for a better life. Most black women I know are from the hood, and a lot of them arent really trying to better themselves. Instead, they spend a lot of time and money getting high and drunk because that is all they have to look forward to. I do know some black women who are actually very happy and very accomplished, but they didnt come from the hood. I really do not think that black women are the happiest race group, although I do think they make the most out of what they got. The truth is, regardless of your race, when youve really accomplished something great, you start to get happier.
- Chris Vargas, 20

Family Means Happiness
The role women used to have is rapidly changing with more women choosing to not be stay-at-home moms anymore. Now, a lot of women need to get a job to support their families as the economy becomes worse. I think that could be one cause of the increasing stress in women. For example, my dad told me that he might lose his job as a sales person, so my mom is working extra hours at Community Christian School to pick up the slack. This burdens her more.

Right now, women seem to have more job opportunities than men, even if the jobs dont pay as much. Women are the ones being kept on the job when their spouses are being laid off and becoming a part of the unemployment line. I believe that most women show stress a lot more than men. Here is an example: If you tell a man he is gaining weight, he might shrug it off or laugh. If you say the same thing to a woman, she may pretend it doesnt bother her, but deep down, it usually does. Maybe thats the reason the study shows women are taking more anti-depressant drugs. It doesn't seem to me that black women are the happiest racial group. However, maybe the reason black women are happier is because they worry less about what other people think of them. If I was to guess which racial group is the happiest, I would expect it to be Latina women because they are very family-oriented. They get support from their families. My girlfriends family is really glued together. They have dinner together almost all the time and you just know that they are close. To me, familial closeness is a real measure of happiness.
- Chris Alvarez, 18

Page 1 of 1




Just Posted

NAM Coverage

Youth Culture

Why There Are Words

Aug 10, 2011