The Blog

Susan Patton's Real Message to Princeton

Is this what an Ivy League alumna looks like when angry?

Shoptiques Susan Patton's Real Message to Princeton Women

Photo: NYDailyNews

Le, sigh. To comment or not to comment on the Princeton Alumna letter that spurred debates far and wide? 

If you are unaware, Susan A. Patton wrote a letter to The Daily Princetonian in which she encouraged undergrad women to hurry up and find a husband while they are still in school, because it will be really hard to do that after they graduate. 

"Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there," wrote Patton.

No, this isn't a prank or your grandmother trying to instill some backwards wisdom. Susan Patton strongly believes her stance, despite the staunch rejection she has received from the feminist community since her letter's publication. And, there isn't a single news outlet that hasn't yet commented on the issue, some offering their support, others their condemnation, and others yet their tip of the hat towards a worthy question: are Ivy League women resented for their education outside of the Ivy Leagues? After all, Patton claims her sole reason for the letter was that her ex-husband resented her education and that it caused multiple problems, and that she wished she would have chosen a Princeton man when she had the chance. 

Now, as a feminist, I understand that many an undergrad and grown woman alike are angry at the idea of a mother telling young girls to get married at or before the ripe young age of 22. But in a defense testimony that would never really hold up in court: she's upset, y'all. A recent participant in what she calls a "horrible divorce," Patton's words come from a sincere, albeit very dark, place in which she wants to help the young women of her Alma Mater avoid the pain she herself has been subject to enduring. I mean, as the nice Jewish mother that she is, it makes sense. 

Yet, let's back up for a moment. Since when have all men resented women with an Ivy League education? Since when did smart women start marrying off to men who saw their intelligence as anything other than sexy? Have I missed something? Because if the claims of this letter are true, and many a feminist response have yet to counter them, then feminism is much farther behind than I imagined. 

See, while most feminist blogs are attacking this woman's suggestion that an MRS degree will make you happier than your MS (that's Master of Science people…), the truth of her message is this: don't marry a man who doesn't love and respect every aspect of you, including your IQ. Toss away the "youth" requirement that Patton is suggesting and what she is really saying becomes obvious: don't do what I did. 

While no single news source to date has broken the issue down and asked her point blank what went wrong in her marriage, I would like to know because wherever this anger, this regret and, yes, even this resentment is coming from, it is certainly something worth exploring. After all, I once dated a man from Columbia. Did I tell people when we broke up in a slightly hectic way never to date foreign men? Of course I did, but only because the one I was with didn't much respect the person I was. In my momentary emotional weakness, I was unable to see that my overgeneralization about foreign men wasn't only irrational, it was unfounded.

One man, one experience, one relationship never, ever defines the world. Heck, even hundreds of men, hundreds of experiences and hundreds of relationships will not make anything fit neatly into a little gift box for you to unravel as a smart, omniscient and 100 percent true piece of advice. 

What we are dealing with here is a woman scorned and people of the world, beware. This woman scorned has a Princeton degree. Looks like when an Ivy League education turns rouge and goes on a hell bent rage, it does so by becoming famous. Touché Susan A. Patton. 


For everyone else out there, follow your heart to marriage, not an op-ed column.

Post Comments