Princeton University Mom Stands By Her 'MRS Degree' Op-Ed


When Ann-Marie Slaughter called for “the next wave of an equal-rights revolution” at a Princeton University female leadership seminar, it’s unlikely that she expected one of it’s speakers, Princeton Class of ’77 alum Susan A. Patton, part of the pioneering 200-strong class of women to first attend then all-male Princeton, to write this letter to the Daily Princetonian.

In it, Patton advises “the daughers [she] never had” to find a nice Princeton boy to marry (like her son! He’s single! He enjoys trips to Thomas Sweet and long walks in the quad! Here’s his social security number!) before it’s too late for your old twenty-something ass. Since the letter appeared and crashed the Princetonian’s website, Patton has elaborated in interviews on The Daily Beast and The Cut.

“I’m astounded by the extreme reaction. Honestly, I just thought this was some good advice from a Jewish mother.”
“I understand how retrogressive it is and yes I understand that not every woman on earth wants to get married and have kids, that yes you could marry a man who is not your intellectual equal. I’m just saying, you increase your odds of being happy in your marriage, happy in your life, if you find a husband who is appropriate for you. Which gets harder after you graduate…I don’t mean to be anti-feminist. This is truly the advice I would give my daughters if I had them.”

Patton and her husband separated between her older and younger sons’ admissions to Princeton (in 2006 and 2010 respectively), which she attributes to his lack of Ivy League swagger: “My husband’s academic background was not as luxurious as mine, and that was a source of some stress… I think he felt a certain level of resentment.”

(In case you didn’t adequately get Patton’s disdain for whatever University of Hard Knocks that her ex-husband attended, she elaborates on The Cut: “He went to a school of almost no name recognition. A school that nobody has respect for, including him, really.”)

As for her own family background, Patton in her youth sounds like a legitimate BAMF.

“My parents were both survivors of concentration camps, and all they wanted for me was to marry. Ideally they wanted me to marry a butcher, because then there would always be meat on the table. The thought of their unmarried daughter leaving home before marriage was a disgrace to them. So I applied to Princeton as an emancipated minor, I paid for it myself, and I went away to college against my parents’ wishes. And it cost me dearly and still does.”

It’s kind of depressing that she’s doubled back into these hysterically traditional values after defying her parents in order to get an education as an unmarried woman.

Image via gary718/Shutterstock

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