BY LOLITA BUCKNER INNISS
Class of 1983, Parent of a member of the Class of 2009
As a woman who attended Princeton and who holds deeply feminist views (and who, full disclosure, has been married for 30 years to the man she dated since freshman week), I have to say that while I disagree with most of Patton’s assertions, I don’t find them especially offensive. After all, women can take Patton’s advice or leave it. While Patton’s tone does seem overwrought and off key in several respects, I don’t find her message much different from any other piece of alumni advice. In fact, I find myself uneasier with the assumption by some women that Patton’s point of view is one that should be suppressed. I don’t agree with much of what Patton says. But neither do I think that Patton’s view should be silenced. Haven’t men told women to shut up long enough without women telling each other (for it is mostly women doing the silencing) to shut up? I for one think Patton ought to speak louder and longer to her points. If she did, we might engender fuller and more constructive engagement on the issue of women’s family lives.
BY KUNLE DEMUREN
Class of 2011
My issues with the letter by Susan Patton ’77 published in this paper last Friday would fill up many pages, but for this response, I will focus on just a few. An integral part of the foundation that Ms. Patton’s piece rests on (well, besides sexism) is that once her theoretical Princetonian daughters leave the Orange Bubble, they won’t meet very many “intellectual equals”.
This very sentiment is the kind of breathtaking arrogance that gives Princetonians a bad name. This attitude is a throwback to an era in which Princeton was a place only for the long-established “elite,” so I found it extremely disappointing that an alumna who seems to be heavily involved in the University as it is today indulged in this view. This is not to say that Princeton is not a place for the elite anymore, but that elite status is ostensibly based on some merit beyond who one’s parents are. I would not claim that the University has come as far as it should in that regard, but I believe that it is well on its way.
BY HELEN COSTER
Class of 1998
As a Princeton woman who’s been out of school for 15 years, I offer my own experience—and the experience of almost all of my female friends — as an argument for why you should ignore Susan Patton’s advice.
At Princeton I spent four years taking classes I loved, juggling 10,000 activities and spending time with friends. I would have liked to have a serious boyfriend, I guess, but I didn’t.
BY FREDERIC M. SMITH
Class of 1962
Susan Patton ’77 may find something to consider in the following paradox: My wife of 26 years went to Berkeley, but she has never failed to interest me every day of my life with her.
Frederic M. Smith ’62
BY APRIL ALLISTON
Professor of Comparative Literature
Susan Patton’s letter of March 29 reminds me of a piece that preceded Anne-Marie Slaughter’s in The Atlantic by a few years: “Marry Him! The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough,” by Lori Gottlieb. After becoming a single mother after age 40, Gottlieb realized she still wasn’t quite living the dream: “The dream, like that of our mothers and their mothers from time immemorial, was to fall in love, get married, and live happily ever after. Of course, we’d be loath to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).”
BY H. CAROL BERNSTEIN
Parent of a member of the Class of 2016
As an advanced-degreed executive officer of a publicly-traded technology company who has 28 years of experience in both for profit and academic institutions focused on science and technology (and Princeton parent of a male student), Susan Patton’s March 29, 2013 Letter to the Editor appears wholly inconsistent with my personal experience as a wife, mother, friend and professional, as well as mentor and sponsor to various men and women throughout my career and 20-plus-year marriage.
By SARAH CEN
Local attorney and privacy advocate Grayson Barber spoke about the increasing availability of drones to the government and general public as well as consequent changes in the nature of privacy at a luncheon held by the Center for Information Technology Policy on Thursday afternoon. She followed the talk by piloting an Internet-purchased drone from her cell phone. Continue reading
Has mental health become a parody?
For the past month, photographs of students have been plastered all over campus, from light poles to residential colleges. These photographs are part of the “What I Be” initiative, pioneered by Steve Rosenfield. However, unlike most photo shoots, this one requires participants to bare their most uncomfortable insecurities to the public. The exposition of these sensitive issues, ranging from weight to depression, enables members of the community to realize they are not alone — we are all suffering from insecurities and various self-esteem issues. Just because we don’t talk about it doesn’t mean that it isn’t real.
Recently, this project has been made a mockery. Offensive images have begun to circulate on the Internet, images which portray trivial issues as “insecurities.” In fact, I received one of these images in an email from one of the mailing lists to which I am subscribed. The insecurity alluded to was facial hair.
I concede that there may be students who have not experienced low self-esteem or social anxiety, or others who don’t realize how their jokes — although they may mean well — impact other people. However, our community needs to understand the emotional investments behind volunteering to participate in this project. I can understand the concern or fear of potential judgment, or the worry of people discovering an aspect of your life that even you have not yet made peace with. These are all struggles — struggles that affect our interactions with other people. Trivializing these problems gives the impression that our personal issues are unimportant and that the life-changing events that caused these insecurities mean nothing.
Henrietta Keazer ’16
BY SHRUTHI DEIVASIGAMANI
I logged onto Facebook last Tuesday afternoon to behold a sight that I’m sure was not unique to my computer screen. Somehow, over the course of the previous few hours, it seemed as though all of my friends on Facebook had changed their profile pictures from idyllic spring break beach shots to the same graphic of a pink equal sign on a red background. I was initially confused, and with good reason, but a quick Google search told me what was going on.