Men were always wrong. Men were aggressors; men were rapists; men were stupid; men were obsessed with their penises; men were responsible for forcing my mother into a heterosexual marriage and motherhood.
Jennifer Levin: I don’t remember learning about feminism; I never had some undergraduate feminist “click” moment. The gender wars were part of my life from my first breath. A suburban working mother with twins in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, my mother was outspoken about feminism in any given situation. I had T-shirts with feminist slogans on them and when I was little, my parents thought it was hilarious to point out some instance of sexism in our environment and then look at me for the punch-line. With my hands on my hips I’d stomp my foot and say “Male chauvinist pig!”
I was an outspoken kid. I stood up for myself against bullies. I never hesitated to raise my hand in school. From an early age I understood that I was expected to make it on my own in the world. I could be whatever I wanted to be, career-wise, and men were not required.
When I was 10, I told my mom I was going to grow up to be a journalist, live in a loft in Paris, and have “a succession of live-in lovers.”
When I was 11, my mom came out as a lesbian and my parents got divorced. She had met a woman -- who she is still with to this day -- and they wanted to be together. My dad moved across the country and everything changed.