In case you haven't guessed yet, I'm a feminist. *phew* Glad I got that out of my system!

I'd say I'm quite loud about my feminism. I have no problem telling the people I love that their words, actions or just overall belief system suck. If they offend me, I let them know. If they might be offending others, I let them know.

I also have no problem telling random strangers about themselves. I feel it's the least I can do to help move this world a few steps closer to equality.

It's those people in between that I seem to have a problem with. You know, the extended family, the family friends, the co-workers you aren't really close to yet. What am I supposed to do with them? How do I have "the talk" with people I don't really know but will continue seeing every so often?

Usually, I just make a face to whatever offensive comment they're making. Or mutter something under my breath. Or use my skills at sarcasm to make them think I agree when really I'm calling them an idiot. (This is by far my favorite because I like seeing the "wait... what did she say?" look on their face. SCORE!)

But, that's not really effective. And for the two steps I move forward by explaining to somebody why they shouldn't assign a gender for somebody else or don't need to cave in to the wedding diet crap, aren't I moving two steps back by not calling out the stuff all these other people say and do?

What do you all do? How do you have "the talk" with these other people? Do you just avoid it and wait until you've gotten closer to them? Do you treat them just like you would anybody else?


At Thu Aug 14, 03:00:00 PM Renee said...

For people that routinely offend me I simply disengage..I simply have little tolerence for other people ignorance. As for family after years of biting my tongue I now just tell them the straight truth. Of course I have to put up with the "you're too sensitive crap", or you have "been indoctrinated" by education but I would rather hear that than listen to their sexist, racist, abelist etc crap.
I was forced into this position by becoming a mother. I could not stand idly by and watch as my children learned this from their own family. It makes me an unpopular person but at least I am clear on what I stand for and if they don't like it, they don't have to invite me to their homes or visit mine.

At Fri Aug 15, 03:43:00 PM Shaminey said...

Oh sweet maude I have this problem all the time. My prof used to call it the differentiation between "teaching moments" and "non-teaching moments". I have a hard time discerning between the two. I feel like everytime I'm letting an opportunity to voice my opposition go by, I'm silently condoning comments or points of view I'm offended by. Like Renee states the alternative is to endure the "you're too sensitive".

I haven't found a technique that flies with casual acquaintances... in my head I think i'd like to say something civilized like "i don't agree with your premise" or "that statement offends me", but I'm never that polished. Sarcasm is my technique as well.

I'll keep reading to find out what others do!

At Mon Aug 18, 09:55:00 AM frau sally benz said...

Thanks for your thoughts! I encountered some of this over the weekend and wishing, once again, that I had a better way of responding. At almost every point, I ended up sounding very angry and challenging, but I got nowhere fast.


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