How sexist are your parents (if at all)?

I began to title this thread “Over 40 Dopers: How sexist is your dad?” but decided not to. There’s no reason to think sexism is exclusive to the ranks of the plus-60 male, or, for that matter, universal to them.

Anyway, here’s the sitch. My father received a check in the mail yesterday which he wants me to look into because he was not expecting it; supposedly it’s his portion of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit. Dad’s in his late 70s and not at all computer literate; even going to the website referred to the website is beyond him, far less Googling the name of the companies involved.

I don’t mind doing this. But what gives me pause is that the request came to me via my stepdaughter, who was with my father when he got the letter. She was there with my little sister, who’s an IRS investigator, and my favorite niece, a self-professed geek legendary in certain circles for her devious google-fu. As they were there when the letter was opened, my sister has already looked into it, as did her daughter But Dad’s not willing to accept her opinion on it because of her lack of a Y-chromosome. He won’t be convinced until I (or one of his other sons) gives him the word.

Dad would never call himself sexist, of course. And he’s not misogynistic; discriminating against women or doing physical or emotional violence to them is inconceivable to him. But he doesn’t really believe women are as competent, intellectually or physically, as men.

What about the rest of you–particularly those of you with plus-70 parents? How sexist are they, if at all?

My dad is going to be 71 this year. He’s very handy, and when they come to visit he often does work around our house. His first choice of a person to help him is usually Mr. Neville, rather than me or my mother (though because Mr. Neville works insane hours and is usually working from home, he usually ends up with me or Mom helping anyway). He didn’t really do much when my sister and I were growing up to pass on his knowledge of handyman stuff to either of us. We don’t have any brothers, though, so I can’t say for sure that he would have tried to pass that knowledge on to a son.

My mom is 69. I remember asking her for some sort of computerized toy as a child, and being told “those are for boys”.

It’s funny you should say that, because the second part there applies much more to my mom than my dad. My mom is very much of the “Math is hard, let’s go shopping” mentality, and it makes me crazy. She married at 18, has never had a full time job, and literally can’t imagine being alone, since “girls need someone to take care of them”. She has often described me as “As smart as a man” with a tone of awe. Oh, and she’s not even 60. I really can’t begin to tell you how crazy-making this is for me, especially since one of my sisters has turned out pretty much the same way.

Well, when I was a kid I wasn’t allowed to have Barbies because my mom thought they were sexist, but nobody bought me army men because both my parents thought they were boys’ toys. :slight_smile:

My dad thinks I, his precious daughter, can and should be an astronaut, or a mechanic, or President, or whatever I want to do. He isn’t sure other women should, though, and I doubt he’d vote for a woman.

My dad’s the same way. He’s in his late 50s. I was the one who was more rough-and-tumble as a kid, compared to my brother. I got the brains (not that bro is a dummy), I got the business sense, I played more baseball and did more karate, I can do all sorts of handyman stuff around the house. He’d probably vote for me for any office but he’ll be damned if he would vote for Hillary. And as we discussed in some other thread, he thinks all women should have long hair - it didn’t occur to him that I don’t have long hair until I called him on it.

My mom, age 43, is a very blatant misandrist.

Guys get called pigs at the drop of a hat, or for nothing at all, and a woman doing the same thing doesn’t get a comment what-so-ever.

I can’t think of anything more specific, but I do know that quite frequently I just think to myself how badly she hates men and for what appears to be no good reason. I will mentally be sad for her.


My parents are both dead, but both born in 1931 and I’m one of five kids. As kids, my father was just as likely to grab one of his daughters as his son to help install a toilet or wire a light and he’d take us to his construction sites (he was a construction executive). He always insisted each of us could do anything we wanted as long as we worked hard enough. He mentored women who worked for him so they got architects licenses. When we were girls, my mother didn’t like us to call boys, because they were supposed to do the calling, but she didn’t mind later on. They had all of us doing dishes by the time we could pull a chair up to the sink and stand on it. We were all expected to be smart and act smart. I’d say, for the most part, we were raised pretty equally. My brother had some extra expectations put on him, but it was more because he was hte eldest.

Zsofia - My mother wouldn’t let us have Barbies, either. (She didn’t think little girls needed a sexy ideal) But I got the flashlight, cowboy boots and pen knife I wanted. She didn’t mind that I never liked dolls, but she still tried to give me Madame Alexander dolls, anyway. It was just understood they’d go in the closet to become collectors items some day.


My mother-in-law is sexist. She doesn’t trust women doctors or lawyers or anything like that. She never would vote for a woman president.

My father? Hmm. Maybe. I know that when he saw my dog run over and killed, he called the house and asked for my husband and told him, not me (I answered the phone). But I don’t know if that was sexist or just not wanting to tell his little girl that her dog was dead. I’m pretty sure I’ll always be 6 in my Dad’s eyes.

He does like to make jokes about women, though. But no more jokes about women than my Mom makes about men. He also likes to joke about how my mother’s family is all kind of flighty. Let’s say my mother’s maiden name is “Smith” and my father’s (and my) name is “Jones.” He’ll say stuff like “Oh, it’s just the Smith genes, what else could you expect? They’re not Joneses.”

He was jibing with me once, and I got him good when I said “You don’t know if I’m wrong because I’m a woman or right because I’m a Jones.” That made him think. :smiley:

My parents are both gone now; if they were alive, they’d be turning 96 this year.

I was not brought up to be sexist in any way. Both of my parents were artists and didn’t fit into any stereotypes. My mother always worked, and neither of them ever forced any kind of male mindset into me or my brother. They never pushed me to play sports, which I hated; and they even bought me a doll house for Christmas one year, because I wanted one.

You cannot generalize, based on someone’s age.

Dad just turned 75, mom’s turning 70 on Friday.

They have pretty well-defined roles in the house along gender lines. I think dad is just barely competent enough in the kitchen to keep from starving if mom goes away for a week. He probably eats over at my sister’s most of those days.

Other than that, not sexist even one little bit. When I was 11 or 12, I was on a football team. We saw a girl’s team practicing, and thought they were pretty bad. I told may parents about it, saying that dumb girls are so dumb and play dumb football. I was grounded for a week for that.

My parents (both dead now) were racist, sexist and every other -ist you can think of. Until it got to real life, that is.

In real life, they stayed in their neighborhood as it changed from all-white to mostly black AND made friends with AND socialized with their neighbros. In real life they didn’t care whether they worked with a man or woman, young or old, any color, as long that person knew their job. In real life they accepted (well, let’s say “came around to”) the idea that I would marry someone of a different race. In real life they didn’t cringe when their kids (or grandkids) played with opposite gender toys.

But they could and did say things that would make me cringe. It was an odd example of “do as I do, not as I say.”

My parents (mom’s dead but dad will be 80 this year) were always supportive regardless of what any of us wanted to become in life. They themselves were a traditional June and Ward Cleaver couple for most of their married life, but to this day my dad remarks on how hard it is to run a smooth, highly functional household. They were a great team.

I think overall, my parents are not sexist (and they’re both either over or approaching 60). With one exception: relationships.

My parents said not one word, and in fact like, my sister in law. Who is a SAHM, and never got a college degree (although she did work in retail before and during her first pregnancy).

Mom has specifically told me that I should avoid bringing guys to introduce to my dad who aren’t “smart”, and I think her definition includes some sort of advance degree.

I already hold a DVM and I’m working towards another degree. I do not believe in limiting my already rare dating experiences and chances even more.

My grandfather was old-fashioned in a way… But I think he found his precious grand-daughters to be as good as anyone, and he did make that clear and encouraged academic accomplishments.

My dad, somewhere in his 60’s has definite ‘gender roles’ ideology. Growing up, I was not taught to mow the lawn, even when my older brother was gone and the younger too young. It was men’s work. I also got a lot of flack for refusing to learn how to cook.

Now, my dad did on one or two occasions do things like laundry, but 30 odd years later the family joke is how he shrunk my baby blanket in the dryer. He also made no comment when I became a firefighter, or took a razor to my hair.

My parents are both in their early 60s and not sexist at all, AFAICT. I’m almost 100% positive that both of them have voted for women in political office many times. (All three of their federal reps are women and Democrats…although my dad does hate Dianne Feinstein and refuses to vote for her. But it’s not because she’s a woman, it’s because she supports the flag burning amendment, which he considers a violation of free speech.) I got the whole Free To Be You And Me treatment when I was a kid, and I think they split up the parenting pretty well. Of course, my parents are baby boomers and total leftie hippies.

My dad’s a pretty good cook, if necessary, but he definitely seems to be lacking some traditionally female skills and seems to be disinterested in learning them. For instance, he likes to make challah, but refuses to learn how to braid, so he has to get someone else to do the braiding for him. I offered to show him how, but he didn’t want to learn. Which is…weird. It’s not like braiding is difficult or anything.

My mom does end up doing more traditionally female things, like food preparation, but I think it’s actually because she enjoys cooking. She doesn’t, however, enjoy cleaning and my dad’s obliviousness to messes he creates is an area of conflict between them. I’m not sure if that’s a gender role thing or a personality thing, though.

My dad was cool as far as what he thought girls were capable of doing from an intellectual perspective. Eg/ He would teach whichever kid showed interest how to use the power tools. So I’m pretty sure my sister got her own child’s tool box way before I ever did (it had various saws and real wood working tools scaled down to fit smaller child hands). And he showed both of us how to build and wire a lamp from scratch when my sister and I were 6 and 5 respectively.

The weird thing is that he seemed to have strange ideas about male vs. female physiology. Like he was shocked that my sister “didn’t throw like a girl” because he thought male and female shoulders were built quite differently. He didn’t think women could, for example, hang vertically from a pull-up bar because “it was physically impossible” for a woman to raise her arm straight up and down (which in his mind exaplined why girls “throw like girls”). Similarly, even though I took martial arts for years, he thought it was physically impossible for guys to do the splits. He saw a Jean Claude Van Damme movie and thought something was wrong with JCVD’s pelvis.

But other than that, no my parents aren’t sexist. I can’t think of anyone in the family who is actually. My dad would be 75 today.

But there was a kid (boy) who wasn’t allowed to play with us after his dad saw us “playing with dolls” one day. He’d seen us clubbing each other with the Six Million Dollar Man action figure (…until Steve Austin’s head popped off… then that became a projectile weapon! :cool: )

My parents aren’t noticably sexist. When I was growing up, my mom definitely undertook the stereotypical wife roles while my dad went to work and did the “manly” household chores. Since all their kids left the roost and my mom started working, my dad has started helping more with the dishes and stuff. My in-laws are much the same, although my FIL is much worse than my dad and just learned how to run the dishwasher (he’s 61) while my MIL was recovering from surgery.

Now my grandparents-in-law on the other hand are both chauvanistic. I mean, my FIL and I can do no wrong in my GMIL’s eyes. It’s to the point where I start to buy into it and forget that my wife is probably capable of stuff like figuring out GMIL’s computer problem herself rather than waiting until I can make it. My GMIL was really proud of my GFIL’s progressive thinking when he declared that pants really were practical for my wife to wear while teaching. She also uses the old-fashioned and in my mind paternalistic practice of addressing letters to my wife as “Mrs. Brian C. Baracus”.

Yeah, I’d say so. I’m 23 now and my sister is 21. They hardly ever let her go out. When she asks why I was allowed to go out when I was 16 and she still can’t when she’s 21, they say, “It’s different, he’s a man.”

My sister and my mom will always get men to do heavy lifting for them. And by heavy lifting, I mean anything in the 5 pound range, other than their purses. The reason is that they’re either incredibly weak or are just using men to get their work done. Which might not be sexist I guess, but it really annoys me. I’m not too big on the whole sexism thing. I’m okay with treating them differently and I’m okay with treating them exactly the same. I just don’t like it when women want me to do both at the same time.

Also, when my mom and/or sister are alone at work they’ll lock the doors. If I’m in there, the doors will remain unlocked. I’ve actually been meaning to start a thread about that.

My parents are in their 60s. My father isn’t the slightest bit racist or sexist, and in fact has made some stands on those principles. Go figure. I’m quite proud of him for that.

So what do you eat?

My parents are both smart, capable people, but I think my mom definitely does the “men are all just little boys!” schtick way too much. She likes to knock on how men are foolish and they all need a woman to take care of them. My dad meanwhile is a great guy and never tried to force gender roles on either of his girls.

I was a total tomboy and I remember he bought me a kids tool set when I was 8 and gave me scrap lumber to nail together, and then he had me help him out when he was building our deck. I did set construction for the school plays and he never said anything to discourage it. He’s an engineer and works with a lot of smart and capable women, and my sister and I are both pretty smart cookies, so he always encouraged us to do what we wanted to do. I liked to play with Barbies and She-Ra dolls as a kid, but I had kids tools and Legos and things as well.

I really wish Mom would get over her “Men are useless!” stereotypes though. They’re both in their 50s now.