I’m scratching my head over an encounter my sister Smackey had with her friend’s husband. I guess this guy is one of Riceman’s (my brother-in-law) underlings. Riceman just made Master Sergeant, by the way, so he deserves some props, yo.
From what I gather, the husband (not Smackey’s) was grousing “about a woman that he thought was talking down to him (that’s another story),” according to Smackey, and then he actually said, “I am sick of these Texas women that think they are smarter than me when I’m a man.”
Inside her head, Smackey thought, “AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!! I want to kill!!”
What she said was, “What do you mean by that?” She said he changed the subject. Smackey is driving herself nuts because she’s so pissed at the guy, but I think partly she’s wondering what she should have said. Since Riceman is this turd’s boss, she doesn’t want to cause problems for their working relationship, and the woman married to the turd is a friend, too. So what to do?
My reaction upon reading it was to check the year on my calendar, then scratch my head in wonder that there are still people with this attitude in 2004. I got into a huge fight with one of my ex-husband’s best friends when we were all in high school, because he was a sexist pig.
Smackey’s right. She went on the explain that she thought to herself that most women she knows are probably smarter than this jackass. I think the reason it’s bothering her is that it always bothers us when we’re confronted with the ignorance of bigotry in any form, even more so when it is directed at a group we belong to. How dare this dumbass think for one moment that he’s smarter than someone else because of his sex organs, miniscule though they undoubtedly are. (And no firstname.lastname@example.org, if that is your real address, that comment wasn’t directed at you, so no need to get your panties in a twist.)
I think Smackey’s response was the correct one. She called him on it, made him aware he’d said a dumb thing, and he changed the subject. However, she wasn’t confrontational, either.
How do you react when you hear a bigoted comment? What would you have done?
6 thoughts on “Blatant Sexism”
You're right, I think what's bothering me is I keep thinking I let him "get away" with the comment. I think it's best to bite my tongue and try to avoid him. He has no worries with Rice. Rice is a pro (and too damn calm!).
Wow. I thought it was only in Pennsylvania that you encountered this ignorance. I live in a very male-is-better area and it's sickening. They (the men) dismiss you when you talk to them and the women cower away and let the men do all the talking. I don't know which drives me insane worse…the arrogance of the men or the patheticness of the women. Your sister handled it well enough though, but I can see her frustration – I don't know that I could have kept my tongue as well!
I think it helps to ask the person to "say more"..(nicely if possible). Sometimes, just listening to yourself say something stupid is all that is needed. Unless of course, the person is truly an idiot and just doesn't get it….In that case, there really is nothing to be said that will change the person's mind.
Here at seminary, a white guy (visitor on campus) stopped me and asked me "excuse me, are you with housekeeping?" WHOA!!!!! I calmly asked him (in front of my white girlfriend, who was waiting for me to cuss him out)..I asked him: "No, but please, why would you say that?" He was floored…and couldn't stop apologizing…
but that is another story….I have learned to "explore" with people their opinions….
In the vein of people saying broadly stupid and prejudiced things, I've now lost count of how many times someone has assumed that I'm gay-including gay people (!)-just because I am involved in the performing arts. I used to think it was just because this is the south and southerners love their stereotypes, but now I've heard of it happening to other straight guys in the arts in the north and west.
Much like you I shake my head in wonder, roll my eyes and think, like I tell my son, "just because someone says something stupid doesn't make it true". The trick is calling him out on something like this. It would've been hard not to look at him and say, "I understand how you're feeling, you are completely right because it's common knowledge that the brain is located in the penis."
I think you and Andrena have it right: call them on it, and remain calm. Usually, my blood pressure boils, and I'm left wondering what kind of angry shouting would work best, then I realize no angry shouting would be best, the moment is lost, and I have to go on with the rest of my day wondering what the hell I *should* have said.
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