It's encouraging to read someone simply telling it how it is on occasion - a dose of common sense to temper the too-usual silliness, as it were. In that spirit, I'm happy to share two recent pieces of writing that I have enjoyed for their candor as much as their analysis.
Successful business and career woman Susan Patton created a furor recently when she submitted an opinion piece to her Princeton Alma mater newspaper that she entitled: 'Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had'.
Susan had been part of one of the first classes of women to graduate from Princeton, in 1977. Since then she has held several high profile, national executive positions, started her own human resource consultancy, married (a non-Princeton man), become the proud mother of two Princeton-ian sons, divorced, and now lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
While participating in a Women and Leadership conference discussion that was recently held on Princeton campus, Susan noted that the female students in attendance were vastly more interested in discussing how to achieve successful personal relationships than they were in garnering additional career advice. This is part of what Susan wrote in her piece:
'Forget about having it all, or not having it all, .. 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...
Clearly, you don’t want any more career advice. At your core, you know that there are other things that you need that nobody is addressing. A lifelong friend is one of them. Finding the right man to marry is another...
For most of you, 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.
Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate.'
This was explosive stuff to the many who responded overwhelmingly negatively. I think it's interesting to read the entire original letter. Susan also replied to her critics in part here.
Not everyone was a critic. As a Wall Street Journal writer opinioned:
'By and large her detractors do not claim that what she says is untrue, only that it is "sexist".. If that is sexist, then Mother Nature is sexist. (Or, if you prefer, God is sexist, or natural selection if you don't go in for anthropomorphism.) If you think it unjust that our social institutions tilt the sexual playing field even further to the advantage of high-status men and the detriment of everyone else, then your quarrel is with those who espouse the ideologies that have produced that result: feminism and sexual liberationism.'
In the second example, Penelope Trunk audaciously addresses the wage gap between men and women on her Blog by suggesting that, 'In each stage of life, men and women care about different things', and that, 'Most women don't want to get past the glass ceiling', and then describing why it is so.
I agree with the underlying premise of both these articles: that men and women are intrinsically, inherently different from one another. I believe that. It therefore seems somewhat of a obvious declaration to suggest that men and women are likely to find their greatest satisfaction in pursuing the goals most suited to their by-nature-chosen roles.
What do you think?