Is The Pursuit Of Happiness Really Available To Everyone?

Is The Pursuit Of Happiness Really Available To Everyone?

...or is it just another privilege for white, heterosexual men?
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Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Three unalienable rights in the United States that are distinguishable from the rest. But unlike life and liberty, the pursuit of happiness is an unconscious commodity to the point that it has only been available to individuals in dominant social groups.

But in what ways am I defining the pursuit of happiness as a commodity?

Today, most people think of the concept of the pursuit of happiness as the right to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you do not commit anything illegal or violate the rights of others. But in reality, it’s a right only available to dominant social groups: white, wealthy, and heterosexual men. Categorized as a commodity in the way that it is deemed a good/service available to certain individuals of privilege; aimed at individuals who are deemed more valuable to society, who are able to contribute a skill or represent the ideology of the American Dream.

Since the foundation of the Declaration of Independence, minority groups were not considered part of this notion to pursue happiness. In no way was pursuing happiness made available to Native Americans, who were considered separate from American society; to women, even with the urging of prominent female figures like Abigail Adams for women’s rights nor to blacks or any other race that was not white—as seen through the ⅗ Compromise towards black slaves.

Rich, white, heterosexual men have always been the ones to benefit from this misconception that the pursuit of happiness is available to everyone, a concept that still continues today.

One might object that the pursuit of happiness is not guaranteed, that the meaning of the pursuit of happiness lies in its literal meaning: that individuals have the right to pursue their own form of happiness. Or that it’s true that minorities still face discrimination, it has gotten better through civil rights movements such as giving them the right to vote; the right to be represented. However, these two points are invalid in justifying the explicit commodity of happiness displayed through privilege. Yes, minority groups have been given rights, but it should have been there since the beginning.

But in what way is this a personal issue for me?

As a first-generation college student, with immigrant parents that came here for a better life for their children more than themselves, I am affected in the unfairness of how the pursuit of happiness has been commodified through privilege. Immigrants, like my parents, are urged to come to the United States for the American Dream— to pursue an education, better jobs, and a life filled with prosperity, or at least the promise of it.

But with the past and present xenophobia in the United States, in no way were immigrants given the chance to pursue the American Dream; to pursue their own form of their pursuit of happiness. Since they do not fit into the white, wealthy, heterosexual social group that is idealized by the United States, they have instantly been seen as low class and undeserving of any right or privilege.

The pursuit of Happiness is aimed at people that can actively contribute to society and in no way helps those that do not fit the idealized, dominant social group of our society. Instead, they promulgate the pursuit of happiness as an unalienable right available to everyone, when in fact it is a commodity aimed at the privileged class.

Cover Image Credit: Anthony Garand

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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5 Signs That You Were Meant To Become A Journalist

It really has always been in you.

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I think I've always been drawn to writing. Even form the time I was in elementary school, my teachers have told me that I'm a great writer. But that's not why I do it.

From a young age, the written word has always been better for me to express myself, and feel free and heard. I feel more understood when writing than when speaking. The words are the same, but for me, writing is a whole different vibe.

I noticed recently that traits I've had for quite some time, have always pointed to journalism, it just wasn't until now that I saw them. Here are the signs that maybe you should study journalism and become a journalist:

You Where A "Why" Kid.

I think my inquisitive nature got me in trouble at times. I always wanted to ask my parents why rules were in place and why certain things happened. Being a why kid means you keep asking that question until you get an answer, which is exactly what journalist have to do to public figures and officials.

You REALLY Like Stories.

I used to read a lot of books as a child and the fact that people could tell a story and create another world with only words was so amazing to me. I also used to be really captivated by the stories my parents told me about their families and from their childhoods. Even now, when I listen to podcasts, they're only using words to create a scene but you often feel like you're there and see what they see.

You Actually LIKE Short Answer Questions.

In middle school, I remember vividly how everyone was always so much happier when our tests were all multiple choice. Everyone except for me that is. I always liked short answer questions more because it gave me a chance to explain myself and even if I didn't know the answer at all, I could BS it and get some points. With multiple choice, if it's wrong, it's wrong and there's no partial credit or place to explain your reasoning.

You Want To Give Back Or Give Answers.

As far as local journalists are concerned, they provide information about everything in your proximity, from what's happening at city hall to what's happening in your school district, none of which you may know without them. Maybe that's the community you grew up in and you remember hearing that information on the news. Now you get to relay it to the next generation.

And with large national and international media companies, yes, there is social media but there are certain rooms only people with a press badge are allowed to enter and there is certain information that only large companies with an established name are rusted with by some sources.

You Value Truth and Honesty.

Honesty is one of the main principles/virtues that I try to live by. I always try to be as honest and authentic as possible and I hold others to that standard as well. Being a journalist means being on a constant quest for the truth. People will try to stop you and push you back but you will find that truth will always be one of your strongest traits.

Obviously, sure you can still be an effective journalist without any of these traits. But in my opinion, these are things that are instilled in you and make journalism an instinct rather than just another job.

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