Why the 'find a husband' letter touched a nerve
The advice from the so-called 'Princeton Mom' raises issues about women's college and career goals.
That's exactly what happened to Susan Patton, the so-called Princeton Mom whose letter was published Friday in The Daily Princetonian, the university's campus newspaper. At its heart, the letter makes sense: Ladies of Princeton, you're smart and will want mates who are just as smart. You will never again be around such a high concentration of smart men.
But it's the way Patton wrote it that's provoking reaction from all corners. "Here's what nobody is telling you," she writes. "Find a husband on campus before you graduate."
That tone harkens back to the days when young women went to college to get an "MRS" degree. It hints at the long-abolished notion that single women in their late 20s and 30s were on their way to becoming old maids with little marriage potential. It's the kind of idea that infuriates women today.
Patton's letter also has an undercurrent of intellectual elitism that's hard to ignore. Princeton women have "almost priced ourselves out of the market," she said, because there aren't many men smarter than they are.
And Patton seems to think that women can't marry younger men. Freshmen women have four classes of men to choose from, she writes, but by the time women are seniors, they can choose only from their senior class, while men can choose from four classes of women at any time. Huh?
But the basic idea of Patton's letter, the idea of assortative matches -- finding a mate like you -- has been well-established in research, The New York Times reports. And women seem to feel stronger about this than men do.
But one potential problem with assortative matches is that they contribute to income inequality, writes Catherine Rampell. The rich and educated marry each other, and the poor and uneducated marry each other or, as is increasingly the case, stay single longer.
Patton, who this year divorced her husband, told New York Magazine she is astounded by the criticism that has surfaced on Facebook (FB), Twitter and other sites. "Yes, I wish I married someone who went to Princeton," she said.
Certainly, marrying the one you meet in college can work. However, the point of obtaining a degree is to have something that can never be taken away from you- a higher education. With your degree, you have the freedom to be able to take care of yourself no matter whether you are married or not. The simple truth is the majority of college men today are NOT looking for spouses- they have their eyes on good times and their own degrees. Women classmates should be under no illusions about that. Also, crushing tuition debt and feeble job markets do not exactly encourage a rush towards matrimony for either gender.
A large commonality is the appreciation for higher education.
Educate a man and you educate an individual .........Educate a woman and you educate a whole
If a young lady finds a guy or man in school going to College and falls in love, him with her also...
Sounds like a plan to me...
Two people to start out life together with and sharing the cost, maybe of their Educations??
Yup, sounds like maybe a good plan.?
She doesn't say not to make a success of college. Of course the women should get their degree, and take advantage of everything college has to offer. But she says don't concentrate solely on a career.
Look at all the women in their late 30's who still want children and husbands, who spent all their time on work.
Their potential husbands don't have to be braniacs. I think it's honestly more important to marry someone who will hold your hand during a cancer diagnosis, stick with you when the times get rough and be a great father to your future kids.
Smarts are nice but they ceraintly aren't everything.
I second the gold digger comment.
I would expect that a woman that makes a lot of money shouldn't care if her man does...she is free to marry for love and companionship instead of a pack-mule breadwinner. Instead, the wealthier women become, the wealthier their mate needs to be. Talk about pricing yourself out of the market!
It's a good thing men don't think this way or the human race would have gone extinct hundreds of years ago. Can you imagine how the world would be if men refused to date or marry women that were not as wealthy or highly-educated as themselves?
Here's reality...a wealthy, highly-educated guy can take his pick of women. You better be one smoking hot in-shape woman (no matter your education) and stay that way for the long haul. Otherwise prepare to get divorced by your dreamboat so he can replace you with a 20-something hottie. Mark my words.
Or, you could keep an open mind, find a man that truly loves you and that you truly love and not treat marriage as a business deal. Worry less about his education, family, and status and more about his heart.
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A basic income policy can actually ensure a decent standard of living for everyone.
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