Princeton alumna letter

Taj

Loyalty to Loyalty
Why are people so up in arms over this?

Why are feminists cursing over and objecting to everything in this article all over the net?
I really can't understand why people are getting so upset

Letter to the Editor: March 29, 2013

By Susan A. Patton
Guest Contributor
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Published: Friday, March 29th, 2013
Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had
Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out — here’s what you really need to know that nobody is telling you.

For years (decades, really) we have been bombarded with advice on professional advancement, breaking through that glass ceiling and achieving work-life balance. We can figure that out — we are Princeton women. If anyone can overcome professional obstacles, it will be our brilliant, resourceful, very well-educated selves.

A few weeks ago, I attended the Women and Leadership conference on campus that featured a conversation between President Shirley Tilghman and Wilson School professor Anne-Marie Slaughter, and I participated in the breakout session afterward that allowed current undergraduate women to speak informally with older and presumably wiser alumnae. I attended the event with my best friend since our freshman year in 1973. You girls glazed over at preliminary comments about our professional accomplishments and the importance of networking. Then the conversation shifted in tone and interest level when one of you asked how have Kendall and I sustained a friendship for 40 years. You asked if we were ever jealous of each other. You asked about the value of our friendship, about our husbands and children. Clearly, you don’t want any more career advice. At your core, you know that there are other things that you need that nobody is addressing. A lifelong friend is one of them. Finding the right man to marry is another.

When I was an undergraduate in the mid-seventies, the 200 pioneer women in my class would talk about navigating the virile plains of Princeton as a precursor to professional success. Never being one to shy away from expressing an unpopular opinion, I said that I wanted to get married and have children. It was seen as heresy.

For most of you, the cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.

I am the mother of two sons who are both Princetonians. My older son had the good judgment and great fortune to marry a classmate of his, but he could have married anyone. My younger son is a junior and the universe of women he can marry is limitless. Men regularly marry women who are younger, less intelligent, less educated. It’s amazing how forgiving men can be about a woman’s lack of erudition, if she is exceptionally pretty. Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you.

Of course, once you graduate, you will meet men who are your intellectual equal — just not that many of them. And, you could choose to marry a man who has other things to recommend him besides a soaring intellect. But ultimately, it will frustrate you to be with a man who just isn’t as smart as you.

Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen?

If I had daughters, this is what I would be telling them.

Susan A. Patton ’77

President of the Class of 1977

New York, N.Y.
refinery29 went off
Princeton Alum To Women: Get Your Mrs. Degree (Basically)
By Neha Gandhi


Well, this is terrible. In today's issue of The Daily Princetonian , the student newspaper of Princeton University, Susan A. Patton '77, wrote a letter to the editor encouraging young women (the daughters she never had) to "find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there." Indeed, she did. And her argument isn't completely preposterous...until of course, it is.

Her basic thesis is this: "Smart women can’t (shouldn’t) marry men who aren’t at least their intellectual equal. As Princeton women, we have almost priced ourselves out of the market. Simply put, there is a very limited population of men who are as smart or smarter than we are. And I say again — you will never again be surrounded by this concentration of men who are worthy of you."

Should women value intelligence? Absolutely. Is there a lower concentration of driven men and women available to discourse on intellectual ideas, outside of a college campus where life learning is the primary focus (and we mean any college campus here, not just Princeton's as Patton suggests)? Probably. Should women and men both appreciate that wealth of intellectual curiosity when they're immersed in it? Again, yes.

But here's where the whole thing falls apart. Patton sends her readers off with this gem of an action item (and an unnecessary bit of snark, if you ask us):

"Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen?"

What the hell?

We have a few problems here. First, from the perspective of experience (full disclosure: This writer was a member of Princeton's class of 2004), so few women enter their 20s and 30s thinking, "Gee, I made so many good decisions about men between the ages of 18 and 22. Maybe I should let those rum-punch-informed ideas about dating and relationships be responsible for my future happiness. Because I was just so mature back then."

But even more troubling, beyond just the obvious elitism, and what we consider to be a pretty serious gap in logic, is the fact that Patton should represent so much more for Princeton women — and all women, really.

She was a member of the class of '77, the fifth co-ed class ever to be admitted to the school. Meaning she was part of only the second class to have women at the school as seniors — ostensibly as role models, to help create an environment of inclusion — when she arrived as a freshman. That in and of itself is amazing, from the perspective of sheer numbers. But more importantly, she represents change and progress at a school that was slow to welcome women and break with old traditions. She's a piece of history that is empowering and meaningful to so many women, including this writer.

And she's leveraging that history...to encourage women to be nicer to guys above all else? She's placing the value of finding a "good" man above learning, above forming the friendships that will shape the rest of their lives (although, in all fairness, she does open her story touching on the lifelong friendships she formed in college), and above growing and developing into fully formed people who contribute to society in the most meaningful way possible. Because eventually, the men will have more (and younger, even) options, and you'll be flat out of luck.

Seriously, we haven't felt this let down by a trailblazer of a previous generation in a long time.

maybe this is just a white feminist issue i don't get
 

ladyrastafari

Notchilous
my friends who went princeton said she wasnt talking about black women or women of color so ms gandhi (if she is indian) need not worry... lol.. according to them..
 

Hello BKLYN

Searching For Answers
I sort of agree with her, not so much on the marry in college because you will find your intellectual equal but in college you will find more like minded individuals...
i kinda realized that after college, you run into lesser and lesser like minded individuals or people with common goals... I still get astounded by the apathy the general public has about certain things... it just wasnt so in college.. everyone took some sort of stand or the other against something that wasnt right
 

Taj

Loyalty to Loyalty
I sort of agree with her, not so much on the marry in college because you will find your intellectual equal but in college you will find more like minded individuals...
i kinda realized that after college, you run into lesser and lesser like minded individuals or people with common goals... I still get astounded by the apathy the general public has about certain things... it just wasnt so in college.. everyone took some sort of stand or the other against something that wasnt right
yea i didn't see it as have a ring on your finger by grad but more make connections, maintain pleasant associations, start making that potential dating ppl deep for when you need it.

Oneshot what's wrong with that?
so woman should only marry a man smarter or as smart as her. interesting.
I notice men seldom follow that esp the rich ones
 

Oneshot

where de crix
Oneshot what's wrong with that?
I notice men seldom follow that esp the rich ones
Cause to me "intelligence" is not really the big deal, but the willingness or experience to learn new things. What is the sense being with a guy who has a PhD in Zoology, when really you just want a good husband. Which one takes more precedence?

What she is saying is based of her own experience. She didnt grow up with fb or linkedin or internet dating. I will agree, there is a competition out there for mates. But it is the same for males also. If we going to marry "down" or "up", most likely we marrying to lock her down, implying there is competition.

I will agree there is benefits from securing a loved one from the college days. But I hardly believe it is a priority.
 
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