BY DAILY PRINCETONIAN EDITORIAL BOARD
In the aftermath of the publication of Ms. Patton’s letter to the editor, there has been extensive media response to the sentiments she expressed. While commentators have largely focused on Ms. Patton’s advice for young women who attend Princeton, the Board feels that there is a second issue in the letter that has not been given adequate attention by the national media. Specifically, while the Board is concerned by several of Ms. Patton’s contentions, we are particularly troubled by the elitism implied in the letter. Ms. Patton’s letter implicitly assumes that those who have attended Princeton are inherently better than others in society. Though many within our community reject her views on marriage, we believe her view of the superiority of Princetonians is far more common among the student body.
BY BARBARA ZHAN
The cartoon that ran on Monday parodying Susan Patton’s opinion letter easily summarized the most socially indicative part of her piece: Titled “A universe of women,” it depicted a male stick figure surrounded by multiple beckoning women. This was in response to Patton’s statement that “the universe of women” her junior son can marry is “limitless.” Although she seems to praise Princeton women throughout the piece, reminding them of their “soaring intellect” and saying that women have higher standards for their significant others than men do, it’s little statements like “universe of women” sprinkled throughout her essay, that show us exactly why the status of women is not where it should be by now.
BY LAUREN PRASTIEN
On April 1st, Fox News Insider’s Megyn Kelly leapt onto the bandwagon of newscasters attempting to parse out some logic from Susan A. Patton’s argument in her now infamous Letter to the Editor. During the interview, Kelly empathized with Patton’s call for Princeton women to find their husbands during their time at the University, citing that intelligence “doesn’t necessarily turn out to be a ‘turn-on’ to some men.” As to substantiate that claim, Kelly referenced comedienne and Princeton alumna Nikki Muller’s Youtube hit “The Ivy League Hustle,” which Patton first referenced herself in her Huffington Post Blog response on March 31. In Patton’s words, “The Ivy League Hustle” does not “address how unsatisfying it is for exceptionally well-educated women to be with men who are not their intellectual equal.” Perhaps not in quite the way Patton does, but Muller does address how dissatisfying it is to be with jerks who are her intellectual equal. Who, by the way, still don’t treat her well.
BY LAUREN SHANLEY
Class of 2012
Dear Ms. Patton,
I’ve dated your son and, thanks, but no thanks.
No, I haven’t literally dated your son, but I’ve dated Princeton (male) undergrads, both while in school and while a graduate. What I’m about to say is going to anger a lot of people moms: Just because a young man attended Princeton does not make him a good husband.
On March 29, The Daily Princetonian published a Letter to the Editor from Susan Patton, alumna and President of the Class of 1977. In her letter, titled “Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had,” she advises Princeton undergraduate women to “find a husband on campus.” She argues that Princeton is the best place for young Princetonian women to find partners who are as intelligent and accomplished as they are — “you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you,” she writes.
This letter has since generated nationwide response and debate. Should finding a husband be a priority for women in college? Should a Princeton woman’s main aim be to marry her “intellectual equal,” and is it more likely, as Patton argues, to find that person at Princeton? And what is the message to women who don’t want to marry men — or marry at all?
Patton’s letter is only the latest in an extensive and nuanced discussion of career-family balance and marriage in these pages and on this campus. Columnist Cameron Langford discussed how Princeton women could reconcile their desires to be “both a mother and a breadwinner,” opinion editor emerita Monica Greco suggested including extended family in child rearing to enable young parents to launch their careers, and guest contributor Margaret Fortney supported Princeton women who want to become stay-at-home mothers. And given the breadth of passionate responses to Patton’s letter — both on campus and across the nation — it’s clear that our community is far from achieving consensus on these issues.
We hope to provide a forum for our campus to continue the conversation.
The Daily Princetonian asked for reactions to Patton’s letter — below are some of the responses we received from alumni, students, faculty and parents.
Sarah Schwartz ’15