#SWAAYthenarrative
BETA
Close

2 Billion Under 20: Changing Millennial Stereotypes

Career

For Stacey Ferreira, invention is the name of the game. At the ripe age of 24, Ferreira founded two companies and she's not done yet. Her current venture, Forge, is an on-demand temp agency, in the form of a mobile app. Right now, the popular gig is to be an Uber driver or a Postmates delivery person. The trend of working in an open format, where you can set your own hours affords you the luxury of supporting yourself while pursing a dream or other career, such as acting. That is to say, Forge retains the concept of flexible hours, but takes it beyond courier or transportation provider, into stints as a retail sales associate or working in QSR.


Ferreira, who wrote the book 2 Billion Under 20, is a college drop out. While this may not offer images of success, the one-time NYU student aims to challenge the notion that there's one right way to do something, specifically that you need to go to college to be great.

No one needs to read the book to know that a formal secondary education is becoming more of a financial burden with lifelong repercussions than the key to success.

While some millennials are lazy and entitled, the same can be said of every generation. Ultimately, it comes down to media’s specific narrative, and the “lazy, entitled, etc.” narrative just stuck. Maybe it's because of social media, maybe it's because of the fact that most pre-teens have cell phones, but either way, is it Millenials fault that they were born into this digital time?

Another part of the Millennial narrative is the notion that they are over-dependent on their parents. Ferreira likes to give the credit of her initial success to social media, but really she should be giving her parents the credit. “If I hadn’t logged on Twitter and I hadn’t seen that Tweet coming through my feed,” she says, “we wouldn’t be where we are today.” The story goes that Richard Branson Tweeted about an opportunity to have dinner with him for the reasonable price of $2k a person. Being two “broke college students,” Ferreira and her brother borrowed money from their parents. Their parents said they wanted the money back in two months, (which was paid back using one million in seed funding from investors).

“If I hadn’t logged on Twitter and I hadn’t seen that Tweet coming through my feed we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

Ferreira isn’t just another trust fund baby who wouldn’t be where she is without her parents. But even if she were, is it such a crime to accept help from parents who are willing? It’s true that not everyone has that luxury, but does that mean that people who are able to get family assistance shouldn’t? That being said, few people who responded to Richard Branson’s tweet – irrespective of how they funded their invitations – did great things with the results. And there are certainly people who took more than $2K from their parents and did absolutely nothing with it.

There is no one way to achieve greatness, or even mediocrity or failure. The founder of Snapchat graduated from Stanford University, while Stacy Ferreira, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs didn’t finish school. Clearly, an education is more than just a degree.

Our newsletter that womansplains the week
5min read
Lifestyle

What I Learned From Dating Younger Men - It's Refreshing and More Authentic!

"There are no good men out there," yet another woman my age declared. At 50, I was freshly divorced after two decades of marriage and motherhood. My unhappy marriage had shattered my faith in men and romantic relationships. Based on my ex-husband's opinion of my sexual appeal, I was afraid my naked body would cause future lovers to run screaming from the room. Rather gleefully, I announced to my girlfriends that I was done with men, and sex, forever.


For the first year, I got tangled in my sheets alone every night, overjoyed to have the bed and my body to myself. I felt liberated by divorce—free to be me, skip showering, and make dinner for one. But it bothered me when women decried the scarcity of men, because I'd known so many good ones—college boyfriends, my brother, my best friend from business school, etc. The first of many naked truths gradually crept up on me: I was not going to find my juju again through self-help and yoga. The feminist in me didn't want to admit it, but going for too long without men was akin to starvation.

I didn't want another husband. But I needed men, a lot of them.

The universe signaled its approval by sending Mr. Blue Eyes to me at an airport. He was 29 and perhaps the sexiest man I'd ever kissed. Being with him convinced me, pretty decisively, that men were going to heal me, even though men had destroyed me many times before. I became the female incarnation of a divorced, clichéd older man: I bought a sports car, revamped my wardrobe, and took younger lovers. "I want five boyfriends," I told my best friend KC after that first tryst ended. "Sweet, cute, smart, nice. Enough that I won't get too attached to one." My message from the frontlines of divorce at 50 is that to restore your confidence as a woman, especially in the wake of a crushing breakup, try dating outside your comfort zone, expanding your dating pool to include partners you might never have considered before. It may not be the recipe for a lasting union, but in terms of rebuilding your self-esteem, it can work wonders.

The first thing I noticed—and liked—about dating younger men is that they didn't want to marry me or make babies with me. And I didn't want that either. Frankly, I didn't even want them to spend the night. Since I'd been 11, I'd been taught to seek out and value men who wanted commitment. To my surprise, I found it refreshing, even more authentic, to be valued not for my potential as a mate, but instead for my body, intelligence, life-experience and sexuality.

And the sex! I quickly realized that—warning, blanket stereotype coming—men under 40 are more straightforward and adventurous than older men, maybe since they were raised with the Internet. You hear so often about the scourge of crude, sexist online pornography; and I agree that the depersonalization of women as sexual playthings is deeply destructive to all genders. However, from sexting to foreplay, I found younger men uniquely enthusiastic about getting naked and enjoying sex. Every younger man found my most erotic zones faster than any man my age ever had, with a lack of hesitation men over 50 seemed unable to fathom.

Also, about my big fear of getting naked in front of a younger man? Completely unfounded. I started to shake when Airport Boy took off my sundress in our hotel room. Had he ever seen a woman my age nude? How could I stand to be skin-to-skin with a body far more perfect than mine? I had given birth to eight-pound, full-fucking-term babies. I'd nursed them, too, and at times by breasts looked (from my view at least) like wet paper towels. "You have a spectacular body," he told me instead, running his hand over the cellulite on my stomach that I despised. That night I learned that younger men who seek older women accept our physical flaws—they don't expect perfection in someone 20 years their senior. These men taught me to see my body through a positive, decidedly male lens, to focus on the pretty parts (and we all have them) rather than the flaws that we all have too, whether you're 19, 29 or 59.

I even found the pillow talk lighter, easier and more intellectually stimulating, because a younger man's world view differs so vastly from the pressures of my 20-something kids, annual colonoscopies, 401K balance and mortgage payments. They have simple financial problems, like "Can I borrow a few quarters for the parking meter outside?" or "Do you have any advice on consolidating my student loans?"

Everything feels simpler with younger men. Men under 40 seem less threatened by assertive women; they grew up with them. They like cheap beer instead of expensive wine. They don't snore (as much). Leftovers a 55-year-old would scoff at look good to them. Their erections NEVER last more than four hours. Their hard-ons end the old-fashioned way and 45 minutes later they are ready for more.

But what I enjoy most about younger men is not the sex, or the cliché that they make me feel young again—because they don't. Younger men make me feel old, and to my delight, I like that. I feel valuable around younger men, precisely because I am wiser and more experienced in life, love and between the sheets.

I know I'll never end up with one for good. The naked truth is we don't have enough in common to last. One recently put it exactly right when he told me, "I love this, but there's always gonna be a glass ceiling between us." That lack of permanence, the improbability of commitment and "forever," doesn't mean I can't pick up a tip or two about self-esteem, and enjoy the magic of human connection with younger men. And vice versa. The experience can enrich us both, making us better partners for people our own ages down the road.

*My viewpoint is from the perspective of a heterosexual woman, because I am one. But change the gender identification and/or sexual orientation to whatever works for you and let me know if the same advice holds true. Thank you.