BY JILL DOLAN
Director, Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies
Annan Professor in English
Professor, Theatre Program
Susan Patton is, of course, entitled to her opinion and to her priorities. And as a 1977 female alum, she was among Princeton’s gender pioneers.
But I regret that her rhetoric encourages current Princeton students toward a version of higher education that was popular in the 1950s which assumed – to everyone’s detriment – that female students enrolled only to find husbands – that is, for an Mrs. degree.
Ms. Patton might have used her time with our students to urge them to practice the work-life balance that hounds so many of us – men and women – as we struggle to find a comfortable equilibrium between professions we love and friends and family we adore. That dilemma formed the crux of the inspiring conversation between Wilson School professor Anne-Marie Slaughter and President Shirley Tilghman, which Ms. Patton attended but didn’t seem to fully hear.
Instead, Ms. Patton suggests Princeton women consider their four years of higher education as a competition ground for finding a husband. She assumes that all Princeton undergraduate women want to marry men; that they want to marry at all; and that they don’t have different priorities for how to organize their professional and personal lives.
In 2013? What a shame not to imagine more choices for our spectacular students.
Editor’s Note: All posts whose headlines begin with the word “OPINION” — including this Letter to the Editor — reflect the views of the individual author and do not necessarily represent the view of The Daily Princetonian or its staff.
©2013 The Daily Princetonian