Feminism | Posted by Chelsea H on 10/28/2009

Dealing With Parents…

parents...

parents...

I live in an extremely Republican environment, and I identify as a Democrat. I am an extremely involved member in my Young Democrats Club at my school.  I was in the process of letting my mother know that I was campaigning for our upcoming local elections, and my stepdad cut me off and started arguing with me.

One of the things we argued about was gay rights.  I’m not homosexual, but I still don’t believe that heterosexuals have the right to tell others they can’t be gay. So with my quick wit, I won the argument. But then my stepdad asks, “Who’s the boy?”

I said, “There isn’t one.” (Because there isn’t.)
And he goes, “Well, when I was in high school, girls joined clubs to get the boy’s attention that they were interested in.”

So then I said, “What? I’m not allowed to think independently and form my own opinions, and do things just to get a boy’s approval? WOW! What a concept!!” (I love my sarcasm)

I continued to tell him that it was a sexist remark, and that I didn’t appreciate it. He then told me I couldn’t take a joke, and that I was “wound tight.”

I’m just really pissed off, and I really would like to know how to deal with these kinds of situations. Any advice?

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  • Haviland @ at 12:15 pm, October 28th, 2009

    Chelsea,
    you handled this like a CHAMP! I had to deal with BS like this growing up (don’t we all?) and you seriously handled this in such a even, intelligent way. I’m sure you shocked the hell out of your step-dad.
    Keep it up, and don’t let ANYONE get away with that “wound tight” crap. The best thing to say to that would have been “i’m sorry i can’t take what you call a joke…i guess you can’t take a really bright young woman who thinks for herself?”
    You kick ass, girl!

  • Katie @ at 12:25 pm, October 28th, 2009

    I probably would have cut his “joke” off with another joke.
    “Well, when I was in high school, girls joined clubs to get the boy’s attention that they were interested in.”
    “Yeah? Well things have changed a lot since you were in high school. There’s been women’s suffrage. Horseless carriages. Edison’s clever electric lamps.”

    Some adults just have trouble relating to teens. They treat them like children, joking around. The problem is that many children don’t mind being teased to an extent because they feel in on the joke and they’re getting attention. Whereas young adults who are trying to relate on a peer-to-peer level feel belittled and made fun of. That’s why you’ll hear a lot of “when I was your age…” and “Just wait until you get in the real world.” As if you live in Narnia or something.

    Hopefully as you continue to mature and pursue your passions, they’ll come to respect you as a serious adult. Until then, humor their sad attempts at conversation with all the good-natured sarcasm you can muster.

  • Cottonstar @ at 12:48 pm, October 28th, 2009

    don’t let them get to you! being surronded by conservatives everyday can be really stressful, but fear not because you are not alone. if what he says makes you uncomfortable or angry let him (calmly) know that you don’t appreciate his comments and you’d rather he try to see you as an individual rather than as the typical boycrazy girls you’re in school with. being the better person will always win you respect. i know how hard it seems to get your point across without raising your voice or turning red (i’ve been there, believe me) but just remember, when you are expressing yourself in the classroom or at home or where ever you may be, there might be someone who feels the same way and feels like they’re alone in their beliefs. when they hear you speak they’ll be reassured that they are not the only ones who feel that way. stay strong and keep your voice! good luck!

  • merlin @ at 1:42 pm, October 28th, 2009

    I woulkd suggest that if you continue to voice your views then you will find others that agree, or come to agree, with them. the only way, in my opinion, to win is through perseverance

  • Ertel @ at 2:44 pm, October 28th, 2009

    OH MY GOD. Honestly, I’m 26 and to tell you the truth nothing ever changes with them. My parents are by no means conservative but, of course, were brought up in a much different time and are part of a much different generation. Their humor (especially my Dads) when it comes to love and relationships, homosexuality etc can sometimes be so annoying/inappropriate to me but the fact remains that they love and care for you and really do feel they are joking around with you (most of the time). Some of the time they’re just saying things like that to purposefully annoy you. But I’ll tell you one thing. Let it go in one ear and out the other. Still rebut with facts/opinions but don’t get too upset. You’re in for a lifetime of it so just have your views and let them have their I guess (unless it’s really horrid or harmful thinking).

  • amber @ at 2:59 pm, October 28th, 2009

    with a parent you just have to be extremely calm, even if they aren’t, and as fair as possible. explain your point and wait for them to stop speaking before you counter theirs.. my dad used to really upset me because he didn’t listen to me.. but once i took control of my emotions i ended up making him look childish and he took my points seriously after that. i don’t use sarcasm in my arguments anymore because people don’t take you seriously when you do that

  • Zoe @ at 3:15 pm, October 28th, 2009

    That’s hard to deal with. I grew up with liberal parents so I definitely agreed with their ideas before I came up with my own, which in the end was mostly a lot of things my parents believed in. I’ve never had a big discussion about it with my parents but I get the impression my dad isn’t exactly for gay marriage. I don’t think he’s opposed to their getting rights, just not marriage. I find that when I talk to my parents and we end up disagreeing, we are all respectful of each other’s ideas and leave it at that.

  • Rachel @ at 3:44 pm, October 28th, 2009

    Mostly? I just ignore it. When someone brings up an argument that seems completely absurd to me (anything implying that my argument is not based on facts, logic, and justice – “Who’s the boy” would fit here) I stop the debate. Most of the time, they are just trying to get a rise out of you. They don’t know what they’re saying, and you have in effect won the argument because they will go to bed at night thinking “What did I say?” and actually consider certain aspects, or the people who would keep ranting you at all would go to bed smugly thinking “I sure showed her” when in fact they have just proved themselves more the idiot. If they care about you in any way, the former is more likely.

  • rebareis @ at 5:23 pm, October 28th, 2009

    Man you rocked it out. My parents argue against me volunteering at Planned Parenthood. They associate with Democrats, but they really just do whatever my mom’s union tells her to (wow, my mom’s a think for herselfer). I informed them that I was phone banking for Women’s Health Care, and what I did made me feel involved (and I got a t-shirt and pen!) and they replied by telling me they would throw my shirt away! I stomped off saying I was taking my pen upstairs to abort a child :) Anyway, just do what your conscience believes, and f#*& everything else

  • Chelsea! @ at 6:31 pm, October 28th, 2009

    Holy crap! It’s myyyy submission.
    Ok guys thanks SO MUCH for your advice.

    I was really pissed off when I wrote this, so I forgot a lot of the story.
    I did in fact get upset and tried to walk away and be the bigger person, but when I got up, my step dad said, “You’re grounded!”, which isn’t even fair.

    And then he proceeded to tell my MOTHER that she raised me wrong because I didn’t agree with them. Like, we’re what you would call a “Christian” family, so he was like, “The Bible says it’s wrong, blah blah blah.” and so then I was like, “But not everyone believes in the Bible, it shouldn’t be everyone’s moral guide.” So now he thinks they raised me wrong because I formed my own opinions.
    Awesome.

    But anyways, ladies, thanks so much for the support!

  • Chelsea! @ at 6:35 pm, October 28th, 2009

    Oh, aaand.
    More to the story. Sorry. Hahaha.

    My step dad also has never talked or had a real conversation with a homosexual. He was like, “They just want their rights so they can be considered a minority. They want to get married to say the way they have sex is okay.”

    And my response was, “WHAAAAT? I have gay friends, and they don’t think like that.”
    and he was like “Well, they’re 16, they don’t know that they’re wrong.”
    and then I said, “And for one, not to be gross, but straight people have sex that way too sometimes. And secondly, marriage isn’t about sex, it’s an act of devotion and love. I don’t see why they don’t deserve that like you say they don’t.”

    and by the way, my step dad daily watches Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck. ’nuff said.

  • Katie @ at 10:37 pm, October 28th, 2009

    Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck? That changes everything. For the sake of your own sanity, just ignore him. There will be no changing his mind about anything. Ever. He’s not going to care about your perspective or facts.

  • Julio =D @ at 1:45 am, October 29th, 2009

    woo!!! go Chelsea yea your step dad is a major douche bag =/ it shows who the smarter person really is . and yea i remember him bragging about his youth …haha which wasnt as rebellious as he made it seem. anyways just keep doing what your doing =D

  • Steph @ at 10:23 am, October 29th, 2009

    Chelsea – first off, I’m sorry you have to deal with that.
    On the upside (and yes, everything has an upside), though – if you can deal with HIM, nobody will ever be able to get in your face and make you back down EVER AGAIN. And that’s a cool thing.

    In the meantime, hold tight, I guess. How many more years until you graduate?

  • Alex Catgirl @ at 11:35 am, October 29th, 2009

    While it’s especially sucky to be living with a right-wing loon, much of your frustrations are intrinsic to living under a parental dictatorship as exemplified by the immortal words “You’re grounded!”, which pretty much ends the argument…I tried to avoid arguments as much as possible when I was living at home, still spent too much of years 15-18 grounded.

    It’s part of the parent thing, no matter how trivial what you are arguing about it, they must enforce their authority. With me it was clothes and dates – mum didn’t like my clothes and dad didn’t like me dating older people..although dad was sorta within his rights, if he wanted to be a total douche he could of played the statutory rape card against my boyfriends.

  • Toongrrl @ at 3:13 pm, October 29th, 2009

    Chelsea H, the only advice I have for you is to graduate early. I know what you’re going through, I have right-wingers, right-to-lifers, and anti-gay rights catholics in my family. Some of them even watch Bill O’Reilly!! Oh and give your step dad some literature he needs to learn that things have changed since the 1950′s

  • Toongrrl(formerly known as Jess) @ at 11:52 pm, October 29th, 2009

    Sorry, I got a little emotional at that moment. That was the only advice I have.

  • Chelsea! @ at 12:21 am, October 30th, 2009

    I’m a junior in high school. blechhh….ahahha

  • Berlitz @ at 8:46 am, October 30th, 2009

    Oh god, I can only imagine. Thing sare already so tough for political activism in my area because it’s so conservative, and most of my friends lean toward the “Well, I don’t I don’t think it’s WRONG, just GROSS,” side when it comes to homosexuality, but if my family wasn’t a supportive as my views as they are, I might just go insane.

  • Jenna @ at 8:29 pm, October 31st, 2009

    You have a stepdad?

    Next time he argues with you over homosexual marriage, just shrug and say, “Marriage can’t be that sacred if I’m allowed to say that you’re my stepdad. You obviously can’t take it seriously if you’re divorced.”

    Bitchy? Yes. But logical.

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