Susan Patton’s advice to female Princeton students made me laugh
Many women are very upset because of an open letter to the Daily Princetonian published last week written by Susan Patton. Patton herself is an alumna of Princeton and wrote the letter as a sort of motherly advice for “the daughters [she] never had”. I can understand the reactions of anger and women taking offense, but I myself got a good laugh from the letter. For me, Patton’s letter was another (humorous) example of the ideals and priorities of Western culture that I will never “get” because I grew up being very Filipina American.
My parents were born and raised in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States in the 1980s making me a second-generation American. Growing up, I was very much immersed in American culture. I watched Saved By the Bell and had the biggest crush on Zack Morris; I always wanted McDonald’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner; and I loved watching baseball and football. However, my parents taught me about Filipino culture and traditions and made certain that they raised me the way their parents raised them. That meant telling me that I could not have a boyfriend/love life until I was thirty.
Of course, my parents weren’t completely serious about this (I was seventeen when I first had a boyfriend). My parents just meant that I shouldn’t put too much of my attention on boys until I’m older and have already settled into my career. Most other Filipino parents also tell their daughters this.
You will most likely never find a letter like Patton’s written by a Filipina woman. My mother sure as hell did not question why I wasn’t engaged yet as an undergrad at DePaul University. Filipinos encourage their sons and daughters to devote their time to excelling in school. After you graduate from college and start your career, you can find a husband or wife and start making babies.
Furthermore, I’ve never been advised by my parents to marry a specific type of man in the sense that he had to have gone to this school or have that kind of job. My parents taught me that I deserve a man who will respect, love, and care for me. The ability to do those things doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with where he went to school or what field his job is in. In her letter, Patton implies that only Princeton men are worthy of Princeton women. Going to an Ivy League school does not mean that a man will automatically be a good husband. Besides, it’s up to women themselves to decide who is or isn’t worthy of their time. If female Princeton students feel the same as Patton, then great. If they don’t, that doesn’t make them wrong.
As I said, Patton’s letter didn’t bother me as it did other people. I read it, didn’t much care for it, and moved on with my day. There are far worse things being published out there.
What are your thoughts on Susan Patton’s letter?
Twitter: @_Camelia & @talkrealdebate