On September 8, a blog called “Fix the Family” posted a horrific OP about why sending girls to college is a bad idea. When I first read this OP that was circulating among outraged normal people, I thought about writing a post about it, but then I decided “Nah, this is just one crazy non-LDS guy’s not-very-well-written rant on an obscure right wing blog. What does this have to do with Mormonism? It’s not even close to mainstream Mormon thought.”
I stand corrected. For some reason, a week later the Deseret News decided to publish an article about this blog post under the guise of neutrality (we just report the news, er, blog posts). I concluded long ago that the Deseret News was heavy on deseret, light on news, but this article sinks to a new low.
The blog post lists 6 reasons NOT to send your daughter to college, but amends that to 8 reasons because the author was so delighted with his screed that he just couldn’t stop himself. To wit, here is my boiled-down summary of his list with a quick excerpt of each:
- It turns men into Peter Pans. “those lazy men who are looking for a mother-figure in a wife are very attracted to this responsible, organized, smart woman who has it all together along with a steady paying job with benefits. So if he wants to go to work he can, but if not he can always fall back on her income.”
- The college environment is a slut-machine. “Is a degree worth the loss of your daughter’s purity, dignity, and soul? Catholic OB-GYN Dr. Kim Hardey notes that a woman is naturally very observant of a man’s faults as long as she is in a platonic relationship with him. Once she becomes sexually active with him, she releases hormones that mask his faults, and she remains in a dreamy state about him. We can see why God would arrange things in such a way so that when in a proper state of holy matrimony, she would be less sensitive to his faults and thereby less tempted to be critical of him. . . placing her into an environment that will tempt her to lose this barrier is unfair to her.” Any married folks out there want to refute this nonsensical and completely unscientific claim? Like, 100% of the married people maybe? How did this ridiculous assertion pass anyone’s sniff test?
- Her uterus doesn’t need a diploma. “Nothing that is taught in a college curriculum is geared toward domestic homemaking. On the contrary, it is training in a very masculine role of a professional career. . . These abilities cannot be learned in any college.”
- She’s not worth the financial investment. “it can often be difficult or impossible to get an adequate payoff for the investment. The most common example of that scenario is the job of a school teacher. More commonly now we’re seeing situations where not only is the income not enough to support a family, but many are strapped with student loan debt . . . It makes much more sense for a young couple to have a husband with a skill that brings value to the marketplace that has reasonable compensation to go along with it and a wife who is willing to be frugal.” I grant that tuitions have risen to ridiculous levels in the last ten years, but the author is only asserting it’s not worth it to pay for the girls’ education, not the boys’.
- You can stick it in the eye of your “worldly” friends that you reject their worldly sending-girls-to-college ways. “Often homeschooling parents feel they have to prove that they have done a good job in educating their children and are validated by them going to college. But the confounding thing is that they went through all this effort to raise and educate their daughters themselves but don’t give their daughters the opportunity to do the same by locking her into a career.” That last sentence doesn’t even make sense.
- Parents of college bound kids should be breeding, not fretting over tuition bills. “parents may avoid having more children with contraception, sterilization, or illicit use of NFP to bear this cost. To assume that all of our children will need a college degree is quite a stretch, particularly for girls who will likely be mothers.”
- She won’t appreciate it later anyway. “more and more women are coming forward to tell their stories of regret for having by-passed the more meaningful things in life to opt for the approval of feminists who cared nothing more about them than being statistics to reinforce their agenda.”
- Debt is a barrier to religious vocation. “seminaries and religious orders do not accept candidates who have substantial unpaid debt.”
Bear in mind that the church’s pro-education stance puts its money where its mouth is and actually counters most of these ludicrous points. BYU provides a churchy environment full of suitable returned-missionary males (not horny frat boys hellbent on date rape) where the cost of tuition is low and “slut” is redefined to mean any girl who holds hands on a first date. Additionally, we aren’t anti-birth control (point 6), and our missions (point 8) are available to all, whether you have debt or not.
Usually when we talk about the two newspapers, it’s the Trib that has the anti-conservative comments while the Deseret News comments sometimes look like Rush Limbaugh acolytes could have written them. In this case, the comments are pretty well reasoned in demonstrating why serving up these leftovers from a right-wing religious blog is not food meet for a Mormon audience:
“I’m grateful for a wife with a college education. It makes her a better partner, a better parent, and a more fulfilled person in general. Plus, I never would have met her if she hadn’t made the decision to go to college. Based on our experience, we’ll be encouraging our daughters to go to college as well.” On the Other Hand, Riverdale, MD
“The religious right makes itself seem even more insane posting articles like this. It is painful to read. Not only that, but the logic implies that the person writing isn’t familiar with remedial principles of reasoning. Which only furthers the opposition’s point of why people should attend college…” BYUCOLORADO, Castle Rock, CO
“LDS women have the highest educational achievement rates in the US, surpassed only by Jewish women.” DistantThunder, Vincetown, NJ
“I am embarrassed to see this article in the Deseret News. Why give any more attention to such a negative, backwards argument?” SP, Salt Lake City, UT
“President Hinckley told women that the sky is the limit. Ridiculous article. Mature educated women don’t date the wrong type of men.” NeilT, Clearfield, UT
The article differentiates “getting an education” from “going to college,” pointing to the excellent information available on the internet as an alternative to higher education. Ironically, this article (replete with grammatical errors) was found on the internet, pointing to the problem of primarily being self-educated via the internet.
A few questions:
- Why does the Deseret News think this article is suitable for a Mormon audience without explaining how it contradicts Mormon teaching? Do you take the DN or the Trib? Or neither? Is this typical for Utah newspapers?
- Is this article being served to Mormons a byproduct of too much uncritical peer alignment with the religious right? If so, isn’t this a dangerous trend, especially since they think we are a cult and we believe in prophetic counsel, not just mimicking other faiths to blend in?
- Are Mormons caught up in double speak about female education? Is female education as important as male education in the church? Why or why not?
- To what end do we seek education? To earn money? To better ourselves? To become gods? Do these reasons apply equally to both sexes? Why or why not?