It's hard to know exactly how to respond to a sexist comment. Let's face it: Sometimes it's so shocking that, in the moment, all you're left with is a raised eyebrow. I know that in the face of sexism, sometimes I just feel really small and sad and I just try to make myself invisible — and I'm a pretty outgoing, confident person, so trust me, this stuff is hard for everyone!
Still, occasionally the timing is exactly right for just delivering a perfect comeback instead of a withering stare (though, yes, that works too). I've covered witty comebacks for mansplaining and catcalling, but this time, let's take on less easily categorizable instances of sexism — the kind of stuff that gets said even by well-intentioned men and women some of the time. In these moments, there's nothing more exciting than lobbing a great comeback, delivered perfectly, right in the moment. Who knows — maybe you will be the one leaving him speechless for once.
Here are some common sexist scenarios, and some good rejoinders. They haven't been tested in the wild yet, so I make no claims about their efficacy; however, if you use one and a bunch of people go "ooohhhhhh!" and "damnnnn" in response like you're a sassy lady on the Jerry Springer Show, please let me know.
1. If: A Dude Says, "I'll Calculate the Tip — Girls Can't Do Math." ...
Ah, the hackneyed old stereotype disguised as a joke. How original.
Say: "That's Not True, But Clearly This Girl Can't Pick a Good Dining Partner."
2. If: A Dude Says Something Gross About a Female Politician...
You know, your standard jokes about Hillary Clinton, for instance.
Say: "This Attitude Is Exactly Why Men Shouldn't Be Given Any Kind of Power."
3. If: A Guy Says, "You Seem Annoyed. Are You On Your Period?" ...
This is none of his business, but just to go along with it...
Say: "Yup. What's Your Excuse?"
4: If: A Guy Says, "Meow! Catfight!" ...
Why do guys seem to get sexually excited by the idea of two women having a fight?
Say: "Actually We're Two Grown Women Having a Polite Discussion. Sorry to Disappoint You, Perv."
5: If: Someone Says Something Like, "When Are You Going to Get Married?" or "When Are You Going to Have a Baby?"
Because all women want to have kids and get married, of course. Except no, they don't.
Say: "When Aaron Paul Starts Returning My Calls."
Insert your celebrity crush of choice.