How to Deal With a Misogynist

by Genevieve Van Wyden

    This world is made up of all types of people, including men, women, feminists -- and misogynists. Speaking plainly, misogynists hate women. They hate everything a woman represents, too. You’re going to run into one and it’s likely you’re going to hear his loudly proclaimed opinions. Dealing with a misogynist requires courage, humor and the ability to stay professional.

    You do yourself and other women around you no favors by staying quiet. Using a courteous tone of voice, speak up and let the misogynist know that what he’s saying is misogynistic and wrong, suggests the Corporette website. Some appropriate responses could include: "Wow. And here, I thought you really respected women. I guess I was wrong." Or, "Be careful! You're revealing your hatred of women." While you’re thinking that he’s a jerk, don’t call him any names. Once you’ve said your piece, change the subject. If you’re at work, bring up a work-related topic. Depending on your work environment, you might be able to get away with being blunt.

    Whether online or off, you’ve probably heard the precaution: “Don’t give him any attention. Don’t feed the troll.” However, doing so in the face of misogyny tells the misogynist that he’s free to continue spouting his opinions. Instead, point him out. At work, alert your immediate supervisor -- or his. If he’s in a position of authority where his hateful words wouldn’t be appreciated by his own supervisor, he’ll soon find out just how wrong he was to say what he said. By pointing out just how misogynistic his words were, you’re giving other women the ability to speak up, according to Jessica Valenti at "The Nation."

    Get offended or get away. You have a choice. If you choose to get offended and give the misogynist a few truths, you might be verbally slapped with a name or accused of suffering from PMS. Besides, if you have to work with this man, losing your temper might cause future interactions to be strained and less than productive. Another option -- you can walk away. Find someone else to talk to during your work day.

    Interacting with a misogynist when you know you’re going to be dealing with him indefinitely requires that you find inner strength. You’ll also have to believe that, eventually, you’ll be able to find that tiny nugget of kindness in that person. Listen to what he says and realize just how clueless he sounds, find the humor in it and laugh. If need be, laugh in front of him.

    If the misogynist is a professional colleague, keep in mind that he’s not your friend. Work only to keep a professional working relationship with him. In short, take the high road. At the end of the day, go home knowing that you interacted with him as courteously as you could. You might also encounter a misogynistic neighbor or relative. As soon as you realize his -- or her -- mindset, remember you'll likely have to interact with this person on a regular basis. Try not to make your situation any more difficult. Be courteous, even if you can't be friendly.

    About the Author

    Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.