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When do you decide someone is sexist?

As a woman (or for the gentleplums out there, as a man), when do you hit the point where you decide someone's poor attitude or treatment of you is due to your gender? People are assholes; they are assholes for many different reasons. Sometimes it's obvious; sexually based or using obviously gendered pejoratives.

But sometimes, it can go on for a while until enough subtle hints or clues come together to prove that it's sexism. I feel like more often than not, we tend to err on the side of "I'm sure they didn't mean it like that", until you get to a point where it's undeniable and you often feel silly for not realizing it before as the pieces come together.


But what about those that jump the gun? My thoughts on this are brought about by a co-worker who has been spreading and warning our entire office that our newest client is completely sexist and won't work with women. Her reasons are because he was a) rude to her on the phone b) was not as rude to a male colleague she asked to work with him and c) he is from Turkish, and she assumes he's Arabic.

However - and while I don't want to dismiss someone who feels like they've been discriminated against, another female coworker had more admittedly brief dealings with him but said she didn't have any issues with him. I'm also really offput by the fact she's assuming he's sexist simply because he's Turkish. And last - she's quite honestly not particularly good at her job, nor is she easy to work with (I'm a little ashamed to admit that my first response was to whisper to a coworker "Well, if hating her is sexist, I guess I have to turn in my feminist card"), and the male co-worker he worked with is better at the area that the client was trying to work in.


So I'm torn by not wanting to dismiss someone's claims - especially because we work in a tech company and we DO get this shit sometimes, and I want to stand behind ladies. But I also don't feel like her complaining to say, our CEO was justified, and nor do I want to stand behind someone that is trying to cover up other problems by prejudicially declaring someone as sexist based on their frustration and their cultural or religious background.

Thoughts, experiences, Jezzies?

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