A Recent College Grad’s Take On Harrison Butker’s Commencement Speech

On May 11th, 2024, Harrison Butker, the Kansas City Chiefs’ placekicker, spoke at the commencement ceremony for Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. What everyone thought would be an uplifting, positive speech became harmful and degrading. While Butker spoke on topics such as abortions and LGBT+ rights, what upset most people was how he addressed the graduating women in the audience. 

Butker initially congratulated the females on receiving their degrees. 

But then he said that most women in the crowd were excited to settle down and finally become wives and mothers. He believes these are the most important titles a woman can hold. To make matters worse, he then said that while many women might be looking forward to their future careers, the true fulfillment for most would come from their roles as wives and mothers. After that, he mentioned his wife and said that her life truly began when she became a wife and mother to her husband and children, embracing her vocation as a homemaker. 

When I first saw the speech on TikTok, I was appalled. 

This man, who runs around a field with a ball in his hand, thinks he can tell women to focus on being mothers and wives. He said this to women who worked their asses off to get their degrees for the past few years. Are you kidding me?

The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. I just received my master’s degree in December and earned my bachelor’s degree in 2021. It took me over seven years to work toward my goal of obtaining my degrees. I cried, stayed up late, failed assignments, and wrote two 30-page thesis papers to get to where I am today. And now some man is telling me that it wasn’t worth it? He’s telling me that now that I have this degree, it’s excellent, but I can throw it out the window, find a guy to marry, and start having kids? And that, only then, will I find my life meaningful? Are we serious right now?

Where the hell did they find this guy?

What makes me so angry about this speech is the fact that this man, who probably has no idea how much hard work and effort all the students in the audience put into their degree, stood up at the podium and basically told women that they wouldn’t get anywhere in the world unless they became wives and mothers. 

What about the women who don’t want to get married and have children? Or what about the ones who can’t conceive and physically have children? 

I would love to get married and settle down, but I just spent over seven years sitting behind a desk and working my ass off to earn two degrees. I’m not just going to stop what I’m doing and focus on marriage and having kids. Right now, I want to live my life and enjoy it. I want to use my degree and enjoy the career that I worked hard for. 

My point here is that while I somewhat respect Butker’s opinion, I disagree with it completely.

 There is more to life than getting married and having children. You can be successful if you choose this path or not! If you worked hard for your degree and want to pursue your career, go do it! And if you don’t, that’s fine, too. 

But please don’t feel like you’re now “not good enough” because you decided to get a career before having a family. If that’s what you want, there’s plenty of time. Butker should have kept this opinion to himself while giving a commencement speech. 

Honestly, Butker should focus more on what he plans to do on the field rather than instructing young, strong, and successful individuals about their life choices (and maybe stay away from the podium for a while, Harrison).

Featured image via Karolina Grabowska on Pexels

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