Dear Susan Patton, I'm Not Going To College For Mrs. Degree

Dear Susan Patton,

I am not going to college for Mrs. degree.  I spent my undergraduate career at Bryant because I strongly believe in the higher-education this institution provides, believe in the ability to walk away with a valuable degree that will only better as the years go on, and well I just got that "this is your place" sort of feeling when I stepped onto the campus about five years ago...pursuing a business administration degree was my purpose, not a Mrs. degree.

You’re a Princeton alumna and mother who wrote a letter to the Daily Princetonian urging the women on the campus to pursue a husband before they pursue a degree.  While I do stand by the study that shows about 28% of people went to college with their current spouse, I am not one to sit here and say your main focus, 75% of that focus by your standards, should be on finding a man who has a good education and high earning potential.  

It's 2014.  Most women today attend colleges and universities all over the world to focus on an education and career.  Years ago?  Mrs. Degree was the major.  I truly do applaud you on trying to start a conversation but you are going about it the wrong way.  You make the assumption that women don’t want children and if they do they are hush hush about it because God forbid you were to bring that up into the workplace.  What women are you talking about?  I cannot wait to have kids, get married, and maintain a strong professional career.  I already have it all planned out- engaged by 26, married by 28, kids by 30.  By the way, while that is all happening, I’m keeping my foot on the gas pedal.  I’m going to be leaning in to conversations, meetings, and projects at work.  I’m going to be climbing up the executive ladder at my company and probably waking up a little bit earlier than usual to deal with the morning sickness of pregnancy.  I’m not going to let motherhood or marriage stop me from pursuing a stellar professional career, and I will never be one to keep it on the DL that I want cute kids and a loyal marriage.  If the company I’m at cannot respect that then I guess I’m not at the right company.  

You mention it will not set women back to spend 75% of their time and focus on looking for the right life partner.  That ain’t happening on my watch.  If I spent 75% of my time looking for Mr. Right in my college career, I would have passed up my current boyfriend who made a mistake or two in the beginning. Then, he “wasn’t good enough” to your standards.  Sure I would have dated around, but I wouldn’t have learned and grown as much as I have in my current relationship.  I wouldn’t have found Mr. Right.  I also would have fallen behind in my career.  There’s no way I would have landed multiple internships, received job offers, balanced three different jobs, multiple leadership roles, and maintained a decent GPA if I sat around fluttering my eyelashes looking for that “perfect” guy.

I’m a feminist just like you.  I am fully supportive of equal rights and equal opportunity for women and have absolutely no problem with men in the workplace.  In fact, I hope to have many male mentors and sponsors throughout my professional career to advocate for me, guide me, and tell me of their good and bad experiences.  I agree with you, to some extent, that antagonistic feminists are the problem today.  I’ve come to the harsh reality that as much as women want women to succeed and have equal rights, we are not very likely to be advocates and mentors to one another when it truly comes down to it.  We knock each other down without picking each other back up.  Sucks, right?  Kind of.  

Instead of telling women to get plastic surgery to fix their evident flaws in high school, to spend their time in college looking for the perfect catch, and standing by your opinion that feminism has become evil, open up your eyes.  Women in all shapes, sizes, ages, and colors should love their body.  There is nothing more beautiful than a beauty mark, plastic surgery destroys what makes each of us authentic.  

College should be spent getting drunk on the weekends with your best friends, killing the presentation in that Monday morning business class, and finding a cutie here and there to kiss- it’s the time to explore who you are, figure out what you want in life, and pursue it.  Spending a majority of the time in college looking for that perfect catch is going to blur what’s really important.  

Lastly, feminism is not turning evil.  It wasn’t until my college career that I was confident enough with myself and my beliefs to stand here and say, “yeah I’m a feminist.”  It’s not turning evil at all, it is giving millions of women a day the confidence to say “no, I deserve five times more.”

Thank you for starting this conversation.  It needs to be made clear to millions of women, not just the college women at Princeton, that it’s not only possible to balance a family and career but it’s possible to absolutely rock it and rock it well.


The Bryant University Feminist