Only my grandfather gets to call me young lady and I am not your honey.
August 20, 2011 9:02 PM Subscribe
How do you confront sexism constructively? Without damaging friendships, relationships with coworkers, or coming off patronizing?
posted by whoaali to Human Relations (25 answers total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
As I get older, I find that I can't just let the sexism roll off like I used to. Part of it is I can identify it more easily and part of it is that as I rise higher in the working world, I find myself interacting with far more senior people who still wish we were in the 1950s, when men were men, and I was getting them a sandwich...
It some ways this is a question without an answer because many of things I'm trying to avoid (namely coming off as a total bitch) are exactly the kind of tools that are used to shut down women who stand up for themselves or have ambition. I'm not looking to for a showdown when someone says something mildly or moderately sexist, but I also don't like saying nothing, which essentially just promotes the idea that it's ok. I'm basically looking for subtle, but effective things I can say that shuts down the comments, but doesn't overly chastise the person or turn it into some sort of war. Basically something that ends it, tactfully and succinctly voices my disapproval, and then it's over and done with, the conversation moves on with no one losing face too badly.
I realize I've focused on work here, but I would also like to include other instances of sexism. Especially with people I otherwise like a lot, but who sometimes say things I find very offensive.
Some examples are situations where my looks or being the token woman have gotten me chosen for special assignments at work (unfortunately this is likely true in at least some of the situations, not that I have much choice in the situation, or course in other situations the men are routinely favored over the women, but that's just "normal"), comments about how a rash of low level, low paid women being hired was because their looks, "diversity", whatever, comments about older single women being desperate to find a man, men not being able to control their "animal desires" and women just need to accept their bad behavior because they can't help it, men are more "logical" better at math and women are emotional, etc.