April 24, 2013

JAMES TARANTO: To Serve Woman: Do female Ivy League graduates have a “duty” to work outside the home?

An additional factor, one Patton wisely accounted for, is female hypergamy. Women who are smart enough to get into Harvard or Yale or Princeton, and who place a high value on intellect and education, are unlikely to be attracted to men who are their intellectual inferiors. That makes the romantic pickings at the State U even slimmer than the raw sex ratio would suggest.

If elite universities succeeded in keeping out the aspiring housewives, then, it would contribute to the breakdown of marriage among the cognitive elite–the one segment among which, as Charles Murray noted in “Coming Apart,” the institution is still relatively strong. What’s more, the Goff proposal would doubly punish the marriage-minded young woman. Not only would it make it harder for her to find a husband, but it would leave her with a less valuable credential should she have no alternative but to pursue a professional career.

But probably in the end it wouldn’t have much effect anyway. Young women applying to Ivy League schools would learn to tell the admissions office what they want to hear. Come to think of it, they probably already do that. How many college applicants do you suppose admit their goal is to be a wife and mother?

Not too many. Meanwhile, in response to my post on this yesterday, reader Ken Chesebro notes that everything old is new again:

Great point that this argument was used to exclude women — if you want to make it even more concrete, Justice Ginsburg often tells this story about being:

accepted into Harvard Law School in 1956, one of a mere nine women in a class of more than 500. Early on, she crosses paths with Erwin Griswold, the dean of the law school and an eminent member of the legal establishment. Griswold is notorious for challenging Harvard’s female law students with a question: How could they take a spot that could have gone to a man?

Apparently Griswold wasn’t himself prejudiced, but was simply preparing them to answer a question they’d be asked a lot.

He’d probably be surprised the question’s still being asked more than half a century later, with a slight modification on whose spot the woman is taking.

Forward! Into the past . . . .

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