In New York to address an audience of 1k+ girls at the Apollo Theater attending the "Power of the Educated Girl" event organized by Glamour magazine, Michelle Obama said:
For me, this is personal. When I think about the 62 million girls not in school, I think of myself and my daughters—all my girls, all our girls. I think about where I would be in my life if I didn't work hard in school and had the opportunity to go to college and law school. I wouldn't be here. It's imperative—and it's my passion and my mission—that every girl on the planet has the same opportunity that I have and my daughters have. And I want to make sure that all of you here in the United States are taking advantage of the opportunities that you have as well. Get that education because it will be the key to your future.
But, the First Lady then added:
There is no boy, at this age, that is cute enough or interesting enough to stop you from getting your education. If I had worried about who liked me and who thought I was cute when I was your age, I wouldn't be married to the president of the United States.
Over at FirstPost.com, Sarakshi Rai went, as Fr. Z would say, "spittle-flecked nutty," compiling a menu of criticisms thrown Mrs. Obama's way for being so retro as to insinuate that young women should go to college to get the right guy.
Really? Mrs. Obama insinuated that? Who'd have thunk?
To wit, Rai notes:
As Daily Beast put it, Michelle Obama implied that girls should go to university to "become the kind of woman the president of the United States would want to marry--rather than be such a leader herself."
In India where girls are married off in some cases before 18 and are not allowed to complete their education, isn't Michelle sending the ones who do go to incredible lengths to get the education they deserve a message that instead of being the leader, marry a future leader instead?
According to UNICEF statistics, India has the highest number of child brides in the world. It is estimated that 47 percent of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday.
One quick Google search on "finding husband in college" later, it seems it's not that rare a conversation topic. From articles on "50 colleges where you're most likely to meet your future spouse" to books advising you to "Marry Smart" that says women should spend 75 percent of their time in college looking for a man, it's apparently quite the thing.
According to an Princeton alumnus who writes in her book, "Here is another truth that you know, but nobody is talking about. As freshman women, you have four classes of men to choose from. Every year, you lose the men in the senior class, and you become older than the class of incoming freshman men. So, by the time you are a senior, you basically have only the men in your own class to choose from, and frankly, they now have four classes of women to choose from. Maybe you should have been a little nicer to these guys when you were freshmen?"
Women, while in college, should invest their time and energy not in finding a husband, but in starting their careers. Prioritising their careers over men. Not the other way around.
Should we women be defined by our choice in men? Absolutely not. In a country where a Quora thread asks "Do uneducated, poor Indian girls make better wives then well-educated and professional Indian women?", it's time to change the social order.
Who's "retro" in this narrative?
Let the discussion begin...
To read about the event, click on the following link:
To read Rai's assessment over at FirstPost.com, click on the following link:
To read Fr. Z's blog wherein he discusses "spittle-flecked nutty," click on the following link: