CULTURE SHOCK

Life in Queens (the Most Diverse Borough of the Most Diverse City in the World)

Conformed Behavior of Girls in NYC (and basically everywhere else!)

We live in a city where girls are taught at a young age that it is okay to verbally abuse others. When petty fights are started because of unrealistic rumors (even at the age of 5), adults tend to automatically divert their attention from it, saying, “Girls will be girls”. But where does this double standard come in? Why is it a problem when a physical fight is started, but verbal abuse is tolerated? We’ve come to accept that girls crying in the bathroom and facing humiliation at the cost of their friends is simply something under the norm. It’s normal to be singled out by friends, because “of course they will fight”.

If this is learned at a young age, the same people grow up to follow the same understanding. This understanding is, “In order to rise, you crush others”. It is seen in the work force, in white collar jobs and blue collar jobs alike. Instead of helping each other up, it is “human nature” to step on each other instead. New York City is not always the kindest city. While it holds the golden pot of opportunity, it doesn’t come free. So, if people are constantly facing being put down by other, shutting out important opinions without fully comprehending what the individual is saying, or hiding progressive ideas purely to avoid being put down, how will the people in this city grow as individuals?

The most common version of these types of misconceptions and arguments begin when someone who doesn’t even know an individual begins to form an inaccurate image of them in their minds. As they say, the first impression is the last impression, so this type of image sticks, and therefore, starts rumors. I can’t say that I haven’t been one to do this, but I’ve also been on the other side of it. It makes you think, “How often have I been a hypocrite?”, or “How much of the blame can be put on me?”.

Us “90’s kids” had experienced a wide range of T.V shows, movies, and media news that highlighted that this behavior is “okay”. “Mean Girls” exemplifies this with the constant humor found in situations that cause others to feel uncomfortable or belittled. It gives an image of what a popular girl should be like, and how to become that girl. Of course, young girls would strive towards this image and follow these “instructions”. Meg Cabot’s How to Be Popular connotes a popular girl as someone who parties all the time and is mean to others who aren’t “up to her level”, while remaining friendly to those who seem to be “worthy”.

Eighteen

Yesterday was my long awaited 18th birthday. Now that I am finally eighteen, there is still not much more I can do. Is it weird that I don’t feel eighteen at all? But at least this inspired me to write about what other cultures do for birthdays. Of course, here in America we all look forward to our birthdays. Some see it as an opportunity to party the night away, while others look at it as a sign (or at least publicized noting) of maturity.

One of the crazier birthday customs takes place in Ireland. The birthday boy or girl is flipped over and then bumped on their heads the amount of times as their age. This is one that I would not really be looking forward to, although it is said that this is for good luck.

In Vietnam, although everyone has their own birthday, celebrations are not typically arranged on that date. Actually everyone celebrates their birthdays on “Tet” or New Years Day. Although this type of celebration could be fun, as it would enhance the caliber of the celebration, I personally would rather have the day all to myself!

 

Celebrations in Israel are actually really  hyped up. The birthday person sits in the middle wearing a crown made up of leaves or flowers, and the family, friends, and guests of the birthday party lift up the person in a decorated chair as they sing to the person. Sounds a bit like being serenaded, except by many people. That’s something I’d definitely enjoy!

There are countries in which the families that are more religious believe that you should visit the place of worship on your birthday to ensure a safe, healthy, and happy year. In India, the child touches their parents feet as a sort of appreciation for bringing them up, and later on they visit the temple and eat a sweet called dudh pakh, which is a type of rice pudding. Similarly, in Mexico, the birthday boy or girl visits their church prior to celebrating.

Although the types of celebration vary around the world, birthdays are always something to look forward to. Only 364 days till my next one! 😀


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