‘Princeton mom’ is more progressive than many critics in the media
When Susan Patton wrote a letter to The Daily Princetonian last week, she probably had no concept of the controversy it would create. What she later described as merely “some good advice from a Jewish mother” has earned her the scorn of feminists everywhere.
Why? Because in 2013, you’re not supposed to talk to modern young women at an elite liberal university about the value of getting married.
Patton, a pioneering Princeton Class of ’77 grad herself, with two Princeton sons, advised the women of her alma mater to make the most of their opportunities there — and find a good Princeton young man to marry.
“Take a good look on campus now for a potential life partner,” she told CNN after her letter sparked outrage from self-appointed gender experts who cringed at the perceived elitism and provincial outlook in Patton’s kindly advice. “You have access to this extraordinary community of extraordinary people. Find a man who isn’t threatened by your capacity for greatness.”
Never mind that that hardly sounds like someone who wants to keep women in big skirts and baking aprons. It is quite clear that Patton wants women to match up with men who share their ambitious values.
Nevertheless, feminist commentators online — at Gawker, Jezebel, Slate and elsewhere — took her to task. New York magazine’s Maureen O’Connor derided Patton for an “excruciatingly retro understanding of relationships” and for “pushing women to define themselves by their spouses.”
And there’s the first rub. Patton’s advice acknowledges a reality that feminists don’t seem to want to believe: We are, whether we like it or not, defined by our spouses to some extent. The federal government, the tax code, mortgage lenders, health care providers and insurance agents all take great interest in who our spouses are.
Society, too, seems keenly aware, as any number of gay-marriage advocates will tell you. Getting married is, importantly, redefining yourself as “someone’s spouse.”
Now, I admit, Ivy League educations don’t guarantee good character. I went to an Ivy League school where many of the young men I met weren’t fit to be good lab partners, let alone good husbands.
But what’s so subversive and “retro” about the idea of talented, ambitious young women finding a suitable partner from a pool of talented, ambitious — and geographically accessible — young men? Isn’t that what we do later when we try dating someone from work, dating within our social circles or finding someone online who meets our customized criteria of height, weight, hairline and income? How is that experience any less elitist?
Read more HERE: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/feminism-article-1.1305920