Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Princeton advice on seeking a husband

A recent commentary here said:
A contrary point of view was powerfully stated by a Princeton University graduate, Susan Patton, who wrote a letter published in the Princeton student paper. It has kicked up a furious feminist response.
Here is Patton's advice:
She urged women students to plan for their personal happiness the way they plan for their professional careers.

“Use your time on campus to do many things,” she said. “But multitask a little further and look around you to see who among these guys you’d want to spend the rest of your life with, maybe.”

Patton said that while the men who graduate from Princeton grow more desirable with age, the women carry a “burden.”

“If we do want to marry men who are our intellectual equal, we’ve almost priced ourselves out of the market,” she said. “Finding a husband as smart as you is going to be hard if you don’t find him at school.”

Patton also said women should not wait until their 30s to get married because of potential difficulties in finding a spouse and bearing children at that age.
The current alumni magazine published a letter from a graduate who followed this advice, and is happy about it, but is ideologically opposed to giving this advice anyway:
As a member of the same Princeton class as Susan Patton and having read her entire letter online (Campus ­Notebook, April 24), I want to make clear that her attitude is not representative of women who attended Princeton in the ’70s. We were born in the ’50s, but we were not living in the ’50s when we were at Princeton. ...
But the ideas that women can marry only men in the same class or an older class, or that hunting for a husband is the road to a good marriage, are nonsense.

Unlike Ms. Patton, I’m married to a fellow Princetonian, and we’re still happily together after more than 35 years. However, in the worldview expressed in her letter, we wouldn’t exist — we didn’t meet until my senior year, and he is younger and from a later class than me (’78). - V. LYNN HOGBEN ’77 S’78
I was also a student in that Princeton class, and I can confirm that the general attitude was to mock the family stability of the 1950s, and to tell girls that it was nonsense to hunt for a husband or seek a good marriage.

Charles Murray has made the point that today's upper class tends to be conservative in their own personal decisions about marriage and family, but they are obsessively nonjudgmental of others. That is, they find the 1950s family to be good for themselves, but they refuse to say that it is good for anyone else.

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