Sense & Sensitivity

Stepfather's Sexist Remarks Irritate Reader

DEAR HARRIETTE: My stepfather has been making increasingly sexist comments whenever I visit him and (mostly) my mother. Now that they have been married a few years, I believe he thinks it's acceptable to let his guard down and spew his thoughts about how “women aren't really fit for the workplace.” I know it's a bunch of malarkey, but it still angers me that my mother doesn't say anything to him. She's been working for over 30 years! Is it not my place to speak up? I feel like he says this to get a rise out of me. -- Ignoramus Stepfather, Cambridge, Massachusetts

DEAR IGNORAMUS STEPFATHER: If your mother has yet to make a statement about her husband’s behavior, chances are, she doesn’t plan to do so. That means it is time for you to learn to ignore him. If you do not react to his comments, it is likely that he will eventually make fewer of them in your presence. You may want to figure out ways to spend time with your mother outside the house. Go on mother-daughter dates where the two of you can enjoy each other without him in the room. In this way, you will be able to avoid interacting with your stepfather for the most part.

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