I recently reblogged a very controversial piece written by Susan Patton for The Daily Princetonian. If you haven’t read it, please do and don’t bypass the comments section in WordPress. You will see more emotion baiting, trolling, BS and politicizing than you would see at a peace rally getting crashed by Tea Partiers. Don’t shortchange yourself.
A lot of the people that were upset with Susan’s thoughts were clearly idealists who couldn’t accept that they live in a very materialistic and elitist society where a huge portion of the female population is more concerned with a man’s bank account and social standing than with his thoughts on the human condition. (Likewise, despite the fact that it’s sad, we do live in a world where many men prioritize a woman’s cup size and housekeeping skills over her ability to hold an intelligent conversation). I’m not saying it’s not sad; It is. I’m not saying everyone is like that, they’re not or couples like my parents would not exist. I am a well documented idealist who wishes many many things would change, but I am a realist idealist and I am capable of looking at people’s actions without rosé colored glasses.
Patton is clearly a snob with serious personal issues. And the audience she was trying to address probably has a lot in common with her. We’re talking about a general female majority at an Ivy League university: spoiled prep school princesses with incredibly large egos who would have a very hard time adjusting to life with a working class or middle class husband. Again not everyone fits this stereotype, but all stereotypes come from somewhere resembling the truth. She was simply speaking to younger versions of herself and I don’t blame her.
The reason I’m not offended by Patton’s piece on a personal level is because it has nothing to do with me. I never have and never will attend an Ivy League school. I don’t intend on getting married. I don’t intend on even dating men who would rather hit on me than read a book. I prefer to throw myself at the type that prefers books over women 😊. I don’t measure happiness by social status and I don’t measure intelligence by someone’s transcripts or diplomas. I don’t dream of a luncheon, benefit, country club, and Madison Avenue life for myself as I age. So I know I am far from Patton’s target demographic. So I simply accept that her advice is indeed very prudent and realistic for the audience she caters to and their superficial ideals.
Blunt realism is something I aspire to adhere to when it comes to any topic I come across. I think Susan neglected to point out an obvious but very logical caveat to her advice. Since her little Susanettes will now be throwing themselves at horny college boys who are highly aware of their marketplace value amongst superficial women, they must learn to employ smarter strategies in their man baiting. They are looking to get wifed by these junior lotharios, rather than used and left in the cold. Yet there are few of them who want to get locked down into a relationship, much less a marriage. And we’re talking about societies in which it’s highly acceptable for their fathers to have younger mistresses, so what would stop them from leading these girls on indefinitely. Ask any woman who thought she had a legitimate commitment from a man and later found out she was sorely mistaken. So girls in this situation prepare for some additional advice that you will find very useful:
Your courtship with the beau of your choice can be romantic and lovely, but you mustn’t ever forget the eternal war of the sexes and how it can impact your future happiness. If the idea of being in a loveless marriage 20 years from now when your beauty fades while you husband looks toward more youthful women doesn’t bother you greatly, worry not. There are many men for you as long as you make it abundantly clear to them that you are a mild tempered and tolerant girl. These traits are almost as desired as lovely skin and heaving bosoms, so fret not. A man who could love you is around every corner.
If you are bothered by this you need to find a way to take control early on, yet maintain a coy femininity that avoids emasculating your beloved. You have several possible options but the most airtight is one in which it’s clear that transgressions will be closely watched for and thoroughly punished if they occur. There must be no prenup (they are unromantic!), the fact that he will never see his children again should he stray must be implicit, social ostracism and a ruined reputation are to be expected and just for posterity, it’s wise to make it clear that the children could have been created with any man, but the only way he will ever know is if you choose to tell him. This should keep him in line despite much temptation.
Additionally it’s important to consider your virtue. Should you choose to keep it, you must make sure to keep reminding him of the jewel that awaits him after marriage (the sooner the better) and watch carefully should he be led astray by more wayward women.
A wiser woman might choose to thumb her nose at society’s expectations because she knows that she’s far more likely to keep a man throughout the college years if she takes it upon herself to make sure his carnal needs are met. This woman must be very adept at enforcing secrecy in addition to keeping a man’s interest after he has received her womanly gifts. The best course of action is to feed his ego as much as appears realistic while assuring a quick and early pregnancy which would prompt a quick marriage (it would also be quite prudent to involve the future mother in law in the indisputable decision to give her future grandchild a legitimate start in life, she can quell any doubt in her son before he decides he’s not ready). Thinking through the options is clearly very important and it’s highly advantageous to go into each relationship with a plan if one is to get what they want.
This antiquated advice is not from a vintage issue of Vanity Fair or a letter from a circa 1930 grandmother to a granddaughter.
It was a diatribe straight from my mind which was inspired by the war of the sexes mentality Patton espouses. I couldn’t help being inspired by her honest and earnest advice to her little prodigies. So I just wanted to fill in a with a but more pertinent advice.
You’re welcome, women of Princeton and other societies of privilege.
I had to be one of dozens to reblog this. And not in a positive light.
By SUSAN A. PATTON
Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had
Forget about having it all, or not having it all, leaning in or leaning out — here’s what you really need to know that nobody is telling you.
For years (decades, really) we have been bombarded with advice on professional advancement, breaking through that glass ceiling and achieving work-life balance. We can figure that out — we are Princeton women. If anyone can overcome professional obstacles, it will be our brilliant, resourceful, very well-educated selves.
Read the rest of the letter at http://dailyprincetonian.com/2013/03/29/32755/
I look like the only white girl that could ever star in a hip-hop video as gyrating hot tub/sports car filler. Give you a mental image? Good.
For the men in the world, I want you to imagine what everyday life would be like if you were constantly looked at as a sexual conquest (or by the so-called nice guys of the world, a trophy girlfriend). Your everyday commute on your local transit system involves covering up, trying to look inconspicuous and avoiding eye contact with suspicious types lest they think you’re flirting. Appearing proffesional and put together for interviews and work functions involves extremely complicated wardrobe choices which look polished but avoid veering into pornographic. If you choose to wear something even mildly revealing in a social situation you have to come mentally prepared to carefully reject the advances of several drunken creeps. If you, God forbid, actually WANT the advances of particular people, you have to communicate the fact that you want to have an intelligent conversation within 1.5 seconds, before the subject places you inside the mental box called fornication. If you find yourself truly enjoying said subject’s company and want more, you find yourself frequently wondering if he’s only interested in you because of the way you look and if he’s even listening when you talk or if he’s just mentally undressing you.
This insecurity follows you all your life.
Now imagine the most difficult aspect of a life in a body like this: You have a mind. And feelings. When people discover these things about you, they seem surprised. Even then, they automatically assume you must be OK with being considered a sex object because of the opportunities it gives you in life. The only opportunities you have off course are being someone’s trophy wife, or a porn star or a prostitute. But who wouldn’t want that life, right? I want you to imagine looking like this, but actually being intelligent. Intelligent enough to be able to do something truly great with your life, if the stars aligned. Imagine being a compassionate person, who tries to be kind to others in vulnerable situations and tries to be selfless. Imagine spending all your life imagining what it feels like to be certain that your spouse’s love won’t fade when your looks do.
This is why I object to objectifying women. I can be very objective and see both sides of many of the other feminist talking points, glass ceilings, rape culture, misogynistic relationship hierarchies, etc etc. I have even made my peace with being personally objectified on a daily basis. But I can’t accept that so many other girls growing up in this world are given only two options: Accept being an object and spend virtually all your life selling your body (whether it’s to the highest bidder in a marriage ceremony or in a more literal sense) or forge a different path and be considered a frigid, man-hating prude. I’m not defending or sympathizing with women who willingly choose the first path, or those who blindly chase it in vain hope that jewels and designer shoes can make them feel better about being pieces of meat to their benefactors.
Those women I have no hope for or interest in. It’s the second type of woman and the young girl who will become that woman that I weep for. Because I have felt her feelings. Because I’ve been insulted when a male teacher is shocked to see me contribute something intelligent to a conversation. Because I’ve been accused of plagiarism when I turned in excellent academic papers. Because I’ve cried in my mother’s lap when older men in the community leered at me while I was still barely pubescent. Because I’ve skipped countless gym classes in order to avoid being looked at a certain way by my schoolmates. Because I had to learn how to be fearful and watchful when going home by myself at night. Because I fell for guys who told me they loved me for more than my looks. Because I’ve formed a suspicious, wary shell designed for staying safe in bars. Because I spent many years working in a bar and observing my tips go up when I wore more revealing clothes and flirted with my customers. Because I had to convince many of my proffesors that I was serious about my grades and wasn’t just husband hunting at university. Because I have to deal with constant inquiries from well meaning aunties about why I don’t just find a nice guy and settle down instead of trying to get by on my brains. Because people still seem shocked when I pull a book out of my bag and it’s not 50 shades of grey or some sort of chick lit with a picture of a purse on the front.
It’s because I’ve spent so many years being an object that I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else. It’s because objectification is the root cause of most of the difficulties facing the intelligent and worthwhile women of the future. And it’s because misogynists will never see me or women like me as anything more than slabs of meat which keep incessantly blabbering about respect while they’re trying to ogle our bodies. And it’s because misogynists are everywhere and could be any man we come across, including many that we think are different because they’re better at pretending.
I’m sorry this post wound up being so personal and rambling. These thoughts have been floating around in my head for more than a week and I’ve been trying to stir them together into something coherent, funny, empowering and interesting. But all of the humor I’m usually able to apply to difficult subjects has just completely escaped me. All I can say is that I despair for my fellow woman and all I feel at the moment is the deep psychic wounds of spending half my life wondering if every single man who is nice to me is undressing me with his eyes.
To preface this post, I would like to thank Veronique for her series of posts, the most recent being this one on the topic of overpopulation. Thank you for giving me the impetus to write this post before heading off to work.
I had the meaning of life figured out at 7 years old. There was no doubt in my mind then and there is none now.
The meaning of life is to reproduce. That is what our most basic human instincts push us to do, and the same holds true for every other being. It is true.
Usually when people talk about the meaning of life, they talk about the impact their life can have on the world. I think there can be no greater impact than raising an intelligent, selfless child who can better the world. Leading by example in relation to your kids, from actions as small as recycling to as big as helping impact education, teaches kids that giving of yourself is the correct way to live.
If you are an intelligent and selfless person, you are exactly the type of person the world needs more of, so please do the selfless thing and have children and raise them to be like you. Many unintelligent, un-selfless people are having many children and are under the false impression that THEIR genetics must be carried on. Please affect these statistics in the positive rather than the negative.
The planet as a whole is nearing the tipping point of over-population. What is unfortunate is that high birth rate is linked to poverty and lack of education. Whether it’s the Western world or developing countries, the poorer a citizen is the more likely they are to have too many children.
Notice I said too many, rather than any children. When fellow left-leaners talk about empowering and educating women, they talk about the positive side effect of those women having less children. This is true, when a woman has a job, she has less time to make, carry, birth and raise 10 children. Any woman who works and has children can relate to you the challenges of having even one child. Many will have the common sense, despite the logistical difficulties, to have at least two children, so that their one child doesn’t wind up suffering from only child syndrome. But few women who are given choices take the Michelle Duggar route.
When you hear criticisms of population reduction proposals such as education, universal health care (which closely ties to birth control), it’s usually from extremely right leaning groups. To hear their rhetoric is to have the impression that to fight overpopulation is to fight our very basic nature, which is to reproduce (or God’s mandate to go forth and multiply, if they’re more obvious in the religious motivation behind their thoughts). I have never in my life met a woman who emphatically refuses to ever have even a single child. I have friends, acquaintances and family members from a massive variety of ethnic, religious and socioeconomical backgrounds and absolutely none of them could truly say they refuse to ever have children. All of them want at the very least, one child. I think the same would hold true in any impoverished country in the world.
The reason that population reduction is the most ethical choice, is that life will be BETTER for the children that are born. They will have more of their parents’ time and attention, a bigger chunk of the limited financial resources many families deal with, a better planet earth with more fresh air, water and food. When we talk about a better world, we talk about passing down a better world to our children. There is no parent on the planet that can deny they want more time with their children, more economic opportunity for their children and a healthier planet for their children.
God forbid something happens to both parents (a much more possible reality in some parts of the world than others). 2 children for extended family members to now raise and feed, or 10? 2 children in orphanages, where they’re unlikely to ever get adopted, or 10? Who in their right mind would ever make the choice for 10 children to be left without parents. Yet many people advocate against birth control measures in areas with civil war conflicts and/or rampant AIDS crises. My sister and I were raised during a bloody civil war and we were lucky enough that both our parents were alive. Had one or both of them lost their lives, it would be a less challenging proposition for our extended family to raise us. Had they listened to our incessant begging for a baby brother or two, that would have raised the stakes even higher. Let’s not even discuss the devastation a parent feels when the child is sacrificed to the cruel world we live in. Had there been 4 of us and my siblings and I had been unlucky to be in the field of a bomb dropping while in the playground (as many others were), can you imagine the devastation my parents would have gone through in losing 4 children rather than 2.
Clearly, anyone who believes in uncontrolled population growth, especially in non-western countries, clearly either doesn’t value human life, doesn’t have an ounce of sense whatsoever or somehow magically believes that human ingenuity can outsmart nature.
Many pioneers in fields of crop yield optimization and the like, have warned that their innovations were only staving off the inevitable. That eventually there would not be anymore nature which science could manipulate to create the highest yields.
What we forget is that Mother Nature is the cruelest and most unfeeling type of mother we could ever fathom. She has allowed many of her children to go extinct. She has allowed many natural disasters to occur. She has allowed her most intelligent, yet impertinent and disrespectful child, the Homo Sapiens to completely disrespect her rules for a very long time now. But her rules are natural law and there is no way to take this kind of law to court. When a population upsets an equilibrium, it will eventually be whittled down by Mother Nature’s very cruel methods: famine, disease and the ugliest part of human nature: the us vs. them mentality that allows Westerners to turn a blind eye to the fact that others are suffering and that allows certain militant groups in other parts of the world to wage war blindly on the West for being cruel and imperial to the rest of the world. These ugly components of human nature get amplified when you cannot feed your children (be they 2 or 10) and you look for someone to blame. The fact that we band against each other instead of uniting is just another way our nature is very much against us.
If you are a woman, anywhere in the world who might be reading this. The power is yours to make the world a better place, even slightly. Have children, but don’t have so many that you risk giving them a life which you would never truly want for them. Have children please, but instill in them the values that will make the world a better rather than a worse place. You were born with the incredible blessing, honour and power of being a woman. Though there are many men in many parts of the world who like to believe they have the power and they convince many women of this lie, they are not the ones who carry, birth and raise children. If their wife loves them and respects them (and make them earn your love and respect) they get a secondary hand in raising children. But ONLY if the mother, a child’s most important Goddess, doesn’t minimize their influence. Every single woman on this earth has an incredible amount of power to make it better. All men can really do is try to convince us we don’t, or try to work with us.