Author Topic: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL  (Read 3799 times)

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Iris

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*sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« on: January 15, 2013, 11:36:03 PM »
FIL has always had a tendency to tell long winded stories with himself as the hero because he is quite insecure as a person. However, the last few times I saw him these stories have started to take on a bit of a racist and sexist tone. Nothing completely overt but things like mentioning race or gender when it is just not necessary or appropriate. Frankly, I am just at a stage in my life where although I can recognise that it's his insecurities acting up, and for valid reasons - he's had a hard year, but at the same time I just don't see why I should politely listen to his rubbish. The last time he did this and I couldn't get away I was blunt probably beyond ehell approved limits.

Bean dip doesn't work, I walk out of the room when it's an option, I have already minimised my contact with them as far as possible and the cut isn't really an option at this stage (I see that as being DH's call). Is there anything I've missed or is this just a cross to bear until he gets through this phase?
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

JoyinVirginia

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 12:32:22 AM »
Bring a book or magazine to read and start reading it and ignoring him when the stories start? Bring knitting and suddenly have to run of and find the instructions?

Slartibartfast

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 12:36:37 AM »
Same thing we see here on eHell - don't be shy about asking things like "Why is her ethnic background important to the story?"  It won't get him to stop telling stories, but hopefully it will make him think before he includes race/gender as shortcuts for racist/sexist stereotypes about the people in them.

(Not saying that everyone who's been called out on including extra demographic information in eHell posts is racist/sexist/ableist/whatever!)

Iris

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 01:07:10 AM »
Same thing we see here on eHell - don't be shy about asking things like "Why is her ethnic background important to the story?"  It won't get him to stop telling stories, but hopefully it will make him think before he includes race/gender as shortcuts for racist/sexist stereotypes about the people in them.

(Not saying that everyone who's been called out on including extra demographic information in eHell posts is racist/sexist/ableist/whatever!)

Yeah, that's what DH and I have been doing so far. A remark similar to that is what I was concerned about going to E hell for. But you're right, people do it here all the time so I might take my cue from that.

Bring a book or magazine to read and start reading it and ignoring him when the stories start? Bring knitting and suddenly have to run of and find the instructions?

This has been my approach so far but I got stuck next to him at a restaurant last time. I did what I could by visiting with other guests until the food arrived.
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

sweetonsno

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 01:58:36 AM »
The tricky thing here is that it's not always immediately evident whether or not the gender/ethnicity/whatever is relevant or not. It's also entirely possible that he's just trying to give you some more information so you can picture something. . . you know, like telling you that someone has red hair or a great mustache. Obviously, I don't know him, so I'm not aware of his tone of voice or general tendencies, but as a general rule, I avoid calling people out as sexist/racist unless it's blatant. I tend to "hear" extraneous information about people in a story the same way I hear extraneous information about the weather. Unless there's so much extra detail in there that I am getting lost or someone is definitely referencing stereotypes, I don't mention it.

I understand your annoyance about him going on and on and on. That's definitely irksome, even with someone who is 100% P.C. I'd vote for listening to one story politely if you get cornered and then making your excuses. Maybe you need to paint the lawn or something.

TootsNYC

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 10:26:51 AM »
When someone is hogging the conversation, i don't see anything wrong with grabbing it back and hogging it for a bit  yourself.

I think you can even say, "That's a cool story, FIL. My turn!"
Or even, "Oh, I want to hear what Person to My Left has been up to--I think it's her /his turn now." (just be sure to support her/him with some questions to get them started--no fair tossing them the ball so suddenly unless you're willing to help)

Or even, in a neutral observant way, "FIL, I think you've done all the talking! Joe, what's up at work for you?"

poundcake

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 12:15:34 PM »
Same thing we see here on eHell - don't be shy about asking things like "Why is her ethnic background important to the story?"  It won't get him to stop telling stories, but hopefully it will make him think before he includes race/gender as shortcuts for racist/sexist stereotypes about the people in them.

(Not saying that everyone who's been called out on including extra demographic information in eHell posts is racist/sexist/ableist/whatever!)

This is a tactic I use as well. Puzzled look, plus "I don't understand, why does the fact that he's Hispanic have anything to do with this?" A couple of times, it's gotten my racist relatives to say "Well, you know how those people are," to which I can respond, still puzzled, "No. I don't know what you mean?" and finally "Really? You really think that. Well. Okay. Moving on." I've noticed one uncle in particular has toned down the racist stories around me.

Iris

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2013, 02:50:17 PM »
When someone is hogging the conversation, i don't see anything wrong with grabbing it back and hogging it for a bit  yourself.

I think you can even say, "That's a cool story, FIL. My turn!"
Or even, "Oh, I want to hear what Person to My Left has been up to--I think it's her /his turn now." (just be sure to support her/him with some questions to get them started--no fair tossing them the ball so suddenly unless you're willing to help)

Or even, in a neutral observant way, "FIL, I think you've done all the talking! Joe, what's up at work for you?"

The other day DH straight out said "You've told me this story before Dad." and summarised the end of the story to show that he knew it. FIL just kept talking. MIL said "FIL! DHName just said he'd heard that." FIL raised his voice and said "I KNOW! I HEARD HIM!" And then finished the story *anyway* but at a louder volume to cover the other conversations we had started.

He's been a bit like this for years and all the Ehell techniques have stood me in great stead, which I really appreciate. But he is so much worse lately. If I didn't know about the external issues in his life, or have known him long enough to see the pattern, I would be worried about his health.

poundcake - good to know that can work. I think that's what I'll do. The long winded stories I can deal with for DH's sake, but I draw the line at listening to someone else's semi-veiled bigotry (You know the kind, I'm not racist but I saw people on my holiday who were doing X wrong thing, and I'm not racist but everyone I saw do it was Purpleino. I'm not racist though, just making an observation.)
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

TootsNYC

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 03:03:29 PM »
There's a difference between "I've heard this story" and "I would like a turn to talk."

girlmusic

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 03:23:14 PM »
In my husband's family, they say "May I have the floor?" which was a favorite saying of his grandfather's.

Hmmmmm

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 01:44:05 PM »
Try taking him down a path justifying his inclusion of the information that he never gets a chance to finish his story.  He'll soon learn to leave out this part of the conversation.

Him:  So I was driving past this purple woman the other day and she had a flat and I knew she wouldn't be able to fix it so I....
You:  Wait, what?  How did you know that?
Him: Because it was a woman.
You:  Wait, do you think all woman don't know how to change flats?  You do realize I do, right?
Him: Well back to the story, so I pulled over and...
You:  Hold on, why did you include that she was purple, does it matter in the story?  Or do you just think purple woman don't know how to change flats.
Him:  Would you just let me finish
You: Well no, because your story is confusing me already and I'm trying to clarify.  I really don't understand why her being a woman or being purple has to do with the story and it would help me understand if you could explain that. I don't like being lost when someone is telling me a story.  Why just the other day, I was talking to Darla, Mother in law, you remember Darla don't you?  She's my purple friend.  Well anyway, I thought you'd remember her.  DH, you know Darla, right.  Yeah, she's real sweet and works with me at x.  Anyway, she was telling me a story about her grandmother and she used a term I didn't understand and she had to tell me the story 3 times before I realized why I wasn't following her.  Oh gosh, what were we talking about that got me started on Darla.  Oh yeah, you were telling me about the purple woman with a flat.  Now tell me again why it's important for us to know why it was a important to know it was a woman and she was purple.
Him:  Never mind.

Giggity

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 04:04:34 PM »
I vote you let your husband deal with it, since this is his father.
Words mean things.

JeseC

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Re: *sigh* Another IL question - sexist FIL
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2013, 06:06:59 PM »
Same thing we see here on eHell - don't be shy about asking things like "Why is her ethnic background important to the story?"  It won't get him to stop telling stories, but hopefully it will make him think before he includes race/gender as shortcuts for racist/sexist stereotypes about the people in them.

(Not saying that everyone who's been called out on including extra demographic information in eHell posts is racist/sexist/ableist/whatever!)

Unfortunately I've had  somewhat less success with this.  Typically the response I've gotten is someone patiently explaining that, you see, men and women are just different, in the tone you'd use to talk to a child.  Or "it matters because I'm a straight male, duh!"