I didn’t say anything about pro-choice or not, I said that more than 50% of Americans believe that the man should be the head of the household, which sadly is a number that has gone up about 10 points from 15 years ago. The religious right and other “traditionalists” saw that equality was making some headway and started a campaign to derail it. Unfortunately, they’ve been somewhat successful — and some portion of the people who believe that are women. I’m a broken record with the dominance hierarchy thing, but it’s really true. We’re all steeped in that, unless we deprogram from it, and so there is some expectation, particularly from those of us born a bit lower on the pyramid, that this is the state of things. If all the men in your sphere are domineering, possessive, stoic, and treat women like sex is their right, it’s very difficult to know to ask for anything different. It’s very hard to judge the properties of the ocean while swimming in it.

One of the hot books that’s making the book club circuit right now is called Educated by Tara Westover. It’s a memoir — she grew up in a very extreme Mormon family in Idaho. They thought the other Mormons were terribly sinful. Her father, and brothers were very domineering and abusive, but it wasn’t until she finally went against their will and found a way to go off to college that she started to see how wrong that all was. Even 10 years later, after having been at Harvard and Cambridge, she still was very torn, due to her early indoctrination. To go against her family and her clan was wrenching, even though to not do so was very dangerous to her.

Very interesting about your inner city LA experience, although it doesn’t really surprise me. When I first met James he was living at his aunt’s house in Anacostia, MD while on an unpaid internship. When she’d bought it 65 years ago, that was farmland. Now, it’s the hood, big time. Here was this really nordic White kid with his khakis and his blue shirt (it was the late 80s) and his briefcase, taking the bus to the Metro — the only White face around and he never had any issues at all. He only moved in with me because aunty was making him live in a part of the house that didn’t have central heat and his shampoo froze.

I think you’ve led a fascinating, if not always easy life. Perhaps that’s why you have so much to write about?

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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