In last Friday’s Wall Street Journal, Susan Patton (known as The Princeton Mom) penned an op-ed “A Little Valentine’s Day Straight Talk“ in which she advised young women by saying, “You should be spending far more time planning for your husband than for your career—and you should start doing so much sooner than you think.” While her advice sounds dated, the more troubling aspect is that, in our view, it is simply wrong and not consistent with the facts. Grown and Flown took a look at the research and Lisa has written a rebuttal which shows that marriage has changed radically and our views of women’s roles need to alter as well. Her story appears in The Atlantic.com.
Susan Patton is attracting a great deal of attention with her polemic on the virtues of attracting a husband in college. Her underlying theme, that the university setting is the ideal feeding ground for husbands, leaves many women up in arms over the suggestion that the goal of getting a guy should be right up there with getting a degree. In what can only be described as scare tactics, she offers her version of motherly advice, which is that women need to find the smartest guys in college and pursue them as marriage prospects. It may be in her upcoming book she will fill in the facts that back up her many assertions, but her argument does not hold up, not because the message is offensive, although it is. Rather, because the argument does not square with the facts.
Patton begins her argument on sure footing. Marriage, or some other form of relationship, is a big factor in women’s happiness. But the fact that she neglects to mention is that marriage is even more important for men. It is men who should be far more desperate to find a partner, as their health, happiness, and longevity depend on it. Multiple studies show that married men have a lower risk of disease, less loneliness and depression and that men with more educated wives enjoy a lower death rate. One cannot help but wonder if it is not men who should be seeking out college educated women as life partners, rather than the reverse.
Patton argues that spending the decade of one’s 20’s focused on career will leave a woman with few marriage prospects as they approach 30 because men reaching this milestone will look for younger women as partners. She exhorts future thirtysomethings not to put themselves in the precarious position of having to compete with girls much younger. But again, the problem with this argument lies in the facts. On average, men marry women two years younger. Two years, not ten years.
To continue reading at The Atlantic.com