Like Charlotte, I found the feminists’ reaction to Susan Patton’s letter truly mystifying. I thought feminism was about women leaning on and learning from each other? Patton thinks women should try to marry someone as well-educated and intellectually gifted as they are. What is the big deal? She didn’t tell all women that they should get married; she didn’t say that women should focus more on marriage than on career aspirations.
Feminists fumed at the very thought of intelligent women hustling around campus with big butterfly nets, trying to nab a choice mate. After all, everyone knows that the responsible modern woman focuses exclusively on her career until her mid-thirties, at which point it becomes acceptable to cravenly scour the earth for a suitable house husband who will clean and cook for her and help her navigate the one or two high-risk pregnancies she will endure in her late thirties. What could be more irresponsible than to encourage young women to “lean in” to their personal lives just as Sheryl Sandberg advises them to do in their professional lives?
It is a core feminist belief that marriage, particularly among intellectual and professional equals, always decreases the power of the woman and increases the power of the man. This is why The Atlantic positively teams with droll articles about the pros and cons of marrying beta males: it is feminist doctrine that a strong woman can never, ever survive a marriage with an equally strong male. A husband can be a sidekick, a fawning admirer, even a comforting confidant- but he must never be her equal. For the sisterhood, relationships always come down to power struggles in which women are at a distinct disadvantage.
Thus, when the National Marriage Project released “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America” last month, The Atlantic’s jubilant headline declared “Getting Married Later Is Great for College-Educated Women.” This despite the fact that the study actually found that women who married in their mid-twenties were happier, healthier, less likely to engage in binge drinking or suffer from depression, and wealthier than their single girlfriends. All of these benefits count for nothing with the feminists, because the study also found that delaying marriage for a decade or more after college increases the woman’s salary by eleven thousand dollars on average.
So, there you have it. The feminist’s advice to Princeton women: think only of your career, delay marriage until the last possible minute, find a dumb, submissive male at a bar or via internet dating service, and live the feminist dream. Nevermind the fact that “Knot Yet” found marriage increases men’s salaries enough to make up for that lost 11k. Your married friend might have more than twice your income at her disposal, a career, a family, and a virile and intelligent man in her bed throughout her twenties, but you will have that 11k, and be the boss of everything.