Photo by Maria Lorenzino
Alexi C. Cardona/Contributing Writer
The Student Programming Council presented “Think About It…find your husband before you graduate—advice for FIU women,” or so read the description on the University’s event calendar for Thursday, Jan. 30.
The ladies in the room for this student-led discussion jested about why they were there—to look for a man, to find out if it was really about finding a husband before graduation, or out of sheer curiosity.
To the surprise of the thirty-or-so students who attended the event, it was not about looking for a husband at all.
It was a discussion based on an article written by Susan Patton, a class of 1977 Princeton graduate who advises her fellow Princeton women to find their husbands before they graduate. The opinion piece titled “Letter to the Editor: Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had” was published in the Daily Princetonian on March 29, 2013.
“The cornerstone of your future and happiness will be inextricably linked to the man you marry, and you will never again have this concentration of men who are worthy of you,” Patton wrote.
Patton said that “it was seen as heresy” to express her desire to get married and have children while the pioneer women in her class talked about “navigating the virile plains of Princeton as a precursor to professional success.”
She also discussed how, as female students get older, the pool of men available for them shrinks.
Most, if not all of the students in attendance, considered her advice heresy as well.
There was generally disagreement about the topic among the students, but some tried to understand Patton’s viewpoint.
Several of the male students agreed that men who go to college are of better quality than men who do not attend college.
The discussion quickly turned to the topic of marriage, divorce, changing gender roles and successful relationships. While discussing the new role of some men as househusbands and women as breadwinners, Tennison Harmitt, a senior majoring in journalism, commented on machismo being a factor in men feeling inferior in these types of relationships.
“Men sometimes refuse to set their egos aside,” said Harmitt. “If men learn to put their egos aside, they can make any relationship work.”
One student asked how long a person should be in a relationship before they decided to commit, get married and start a family. Aaron Roberts, a senior majoring in criminal justice, commented, “It’s not how long you know the person; it’s how well you know the person.”
The debate ended on a neutral note: Stephanie Felix, the movie director for SPC-BBC and one of the event coordinators, said it’s all about how students read the article and perceive it.
Compared with how the event was marketed—a title and flyer that carried both shock factor and stereotypical undertones—the conclusion of the discussion was not as provocative.
Kaytien Franco, the marketing assistant for Campus Life, admitted that the name of the event might have been misleading, but said being provocative wasn’t their intention. She said staff members and students visited the Campus Life office asking for clarification about the title of the event.
“We didn’t mean to offend anyone,” said Franco. “It was a miscommunication.”
Felix said the event exceeded her expectations in terms of turnout and participation. She was concerned that people would not be open-minded about the topic of discussion and that they wouldn’t participate as much as they did.
Last Thursday’s discussion was the first of the “Think About It” series, and Felix looks forward to the others.
Jennifer Sans, the secretary and comedy director for SPC, said that one of the objectives of this discussion series is to give students a platform for expression. Felix agreed, and said she hoped these discussions would encourage students to be open-minded.
The topics for this series are supposed to be taboo, and Felix hopes that students will feel comfortable discussing controversial topics among large groups of people, not just in secret among close friends.