When I moved into my first apartment, my mother solemnly slid a huge old cast-iron frying pan into my student Ikea trousseau.
“Come on, M’man. It’s way too heavy—I can’t flip eggs with that.”
“It’s not for flipping eggs.”
The frying pan had been given to her by her grandmothers for the same reason she was now handing it down to me: to break the skull of any man who might turn violent. I laughed because it made me think of some cliché image of a wife waiting for her husband with a rolling pin.
My feminist education, minimal as it was at the time, consisted of this: to not let anything happen.
It wasn’t until I read feminist literature in my twenties that I finally asked myself: Why is it up to me to defend myself? Are men not to be held accountable ...