Tuesday, March 10, 2009

If it makes you happy

I'm back up at the student-center coffeehouse, doing my distract-myself thing. Work wasn't, well, working, so I decided to eavesdrop on the conversation next to me. An instructor has been evaluating students' performance for the quarter. The class, if my ears do not deceive me, is called Career and Life Planning. It's for undecided freshmen and sophomores.

The girl he was talking to first seemed like a bit of a moron. He asked her what she wanted from life, and she said she wanted a job where she could make a lot of money. And she wanted to get married, giggle giggle giggle. "Obviously I want to marry a guy with a lot of money." Giggle giggle.

I rolled my eyes. Really? But then the instructor started in on her. He started talking about how men will take advantage of her, how men in cities are awful, and a story about his sister/cousin/friend-person was married to a rich guy, but he was abusive.


Now, clearly his grade was not based solely on her desire to marry a rich dude. With grade inflation as high as it is, the only way to get an F is to fail to turn in any assignments or physically assault the instructor. But still, he obviously thought what she wanted was wrong.

But is it? I firmly believe that you have a right to do what makes you happy, provided it doesn't harm anyone else. If marrying a wealthy person would make this girl happy, who am I or anyone else to say she's an idiot? She doesn't speak for all women; her desire to marry rich doesn't "set us back fifty years." I judged her and I shouldn't have. If the instructor wanted to take her to task for it, he should have asked her what her plan is. I know several women who have always wanted to be stay-at-home mothers. I used to think they were crazy until I stopped stomping my feminist boots long enough to listen. Marriage and kids do for them what a career and 401k do for other women; neither one is less of a woman for it. It's crappy that women can't choose one path or the other without being criticized - or unfairly judged by the nosy anthropologist next to them. Guilty as charged and sufficiently chastened.


Anonymous said...

I really like this post. I get a lot of really shitty looks from people who ask why I'm not in college or have a job. Right now, I'm a mother. She's my job, and for me, it's more rewarding than a paycheck.

Thanks for understanding :)


Kristina said...

I can't believe there is a class on "career and life planning". I probably would have gotten an A in the class but then would have had the same crappy and difficult experience as I transitioned from college/grad school to "the real world".
And you are right. Everyone needs to find what "fits".

MelissaS said...

i feel badly for the girl.

i'm single, work hard and have supported myself my whole life. i do think that if a man is rich, it's a WONDERFUL perk, as long as he's nice, funny, smart, open-minded...

with this economy, no one wants to be poor. now that i think about it, maybe that girl was quite brilliant!