Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Reply to "6 Reasons to NOT Send Your Daughter to College"

This post is a response I wrote to the article "6 Reasons to NOT Send Your Daughter to College. If you haven't read the original article and would like to, click on the link below:

Dear Mr. Alleman,
I want to thank you for your thoughtful article titled “6 Reasons to NOT Send Your Daughter to College.” As a part of the Christian community, you voice an opinion that is strongly felt through many churches, even if it is not directly addressed. Many churches are doing their part to make sure that this fundamentalist belief is held on to, whether it is by not encouraging women to seek out a vocation outside their own home, by making sure that the roles being a wife and mother are constantly reiterated and praised, or by refusing to let women hold any type of leadership position in front of a congregation or at home. Now, that’s not to say that all follow such admirable protocols as this, but I have been to enough churches that it makes me wonder if I will ever find one that will accept my person as it is.
Photo Credit: Mark Zoccali
Because, unfortunately, I am a woman who went to college.
What is worse than being a woman that went to college is I would like to say that I am a feminist. And no, I am not one of those bra burning bitches as I have been so kindly called in the past. I am a woman who believes in the opportunity for all women to have a choice, especially in the arena of career options. Now add these things all together with the fact that I am a strong and faithful Christian, and you have a real conundrum right there. How can a strong-willed, outspoken, educated feminist be a practicing Christian?
It certainly isn't easy—let me tell you that. Or should I get my husband to explain it to you?
Now, if this article had merely been some backward, I’m-kicking-it-old-school-way of voicing your opinion, I might not have cared as much. You want to let your eighteen year-old daughter not attend college? Be my guest. Although, I would like to point out that at the age of eighteen, your daughter has to right to make a choice as to whether she continues her education or not, or do we still live in the nineteenth century where dowries are real, and you might disinherit your child if she makes one move you find disagreeable? No? I didn't think so.
So really, my problem isn’t that fact that you have your own personal beliefs that help guide your lifestyle. What matters more is the use of twisted theology to try and make your point, a point that you really have no right to make since you are not a woman. (But let me point out to anyone that reads this that you probably think you’re credible enough because you are the head of your household, the one who makes all the decisions.)
Your first postulate is very interesting because what you don’t realize is that you have insulted your own sex. Men are lazy? What a horrible and stereotypical thing to say about yourself and others, and if men in our society these days are so incredibly lazy, then who should pick up the slack? Oh, I guess that would be a woman, but we can only sit on our hands and wait until our husbands “man up” and start taking responsibility. I am more likely to believe that there are many great men out there, who do work diligently to provide for their family. I also believe that we live in a society where two salaries are needed to be able to survive (and when I say survive, I don’t mean being able to keep the lease on a Rolls Royce or purchasing the new iPhone every year). So, why can’t a family be equally yoked where both family members are helping provide some type of monetary income?
In your next point, you make the temptation of pre-marital sex seem like the greatest sin of all. I would like to point out that as Christians, we are not provided with a numeric scale that rates which sin is worse than the other. Lying is a sin. Stealing is a sin. Cheating is a sin. If helping our children avoid having sex is of great importance, then we should be helping our children avoid ALL temptations (though I believe the only solution we have to avoid sin is to stop breathing).
Now, I can’t argue your next point: You don’t learn to be a wife and mother in college. You are absolutely right. You do not take Cookery 101, The Art of Imitating Donna Reed, or The Basics of Darning and Mending while you are working on a Bachelors, but there are a lot of others lessons you learn in college that help translate into the role of being a wife and mother. For instance, I am grateful for the fact that I didn’t have my mom around to clean my clothes or pick up my room because I have learned the importance of taking care of myself, of learning to be responsible. I also learned effective communication skills and time management, built a strong work ethic, and educated myself about handling my finances: all valuable in a marriage or at least I find them valuable in mine. And I accomplished all that while reading Kenneth Burke and analyzing Anna Karenina.
Though you make your next point seem straightforward, what you’re really trying to say here is that the parents have been brain-washed into thinking that college is the only path in life for their daughter, and it doesn’t give her the opportunity to become a mother, wife, and homeschooler. By now, I’m sure you think that I despise the savvy homemaker, that I secretly hate the woman devoted to her home, but you would be severely mistaken. I strongly support women who want to make a career in being a stay-at-home mom. In some cases, it can make more sense to stay at home, especially when costs like daycare use up the resources of one spouse’s paycheck. But what I hate most about this point is that it doesn’t consider how the cult of traditional marriage has its own pressures that make you feel as though you have to prove yourself. In the past three months of my own marriage, I’ve already felt the need to prove my excellent domestic skills and my ability to produce offspring (not that it’s ANYONE’S business, so do me a favor and don’t ask).
My next reply to your fifth reason is short and sweet: if the idea of putting a kid through college causes parents to use any type of birth control to prevent pregnancy, than it’s your son’s fault, too, so maybe we should just stop educating everyone and our problems would be solved. In turn, we would have nothing to do but make more babies.

You make some additional, and amended,  points after this, ones that I don’t need to pick apart because the fallacy of your rationalization should be clear by now. But let me close this note by telling you what I do believe and what I hope for my daughter, if I should have one, in the future. I truly believe that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I believe that I a beloved child of Christ who has been given strong desires, and I believe in passionately living them out. My desire is to be a great wife, friend, daughter, co-worker, and, someday, mom. There might be a time in my life where I give up work to stay home with my kids, and there might be a time where I want to return to a job or go back to college, but I also believe that my God would be proud of me no matter what choice I make, and I hope my daughter knows that one day, as well.