Dinner With Sexists: An A Is For Guide to Thanksgiving

It’s coming.

You have been dreading this all year; coming up with strategies, attack plans, evasive maneuvers. But now you’re cornered. There’s no way out.

You’re going to have to spend Thanksgiving with your family.

It’s a shame that this fraught political climate has brought you to the point where an opportunity to eat food that’s a step up from what you put in your body the rest of the year, with people whose company you probably enjoy 85% of the time, has become a no-holds-barred slapfight if you have even one relative who doesn’t agree with you. But that’s 2017. Even the good things are kind of terrible. A Is For feels your pain, and we’d like to share with you some tips on how to keep your blood pressure low and your fists unclenched on Thursday.  

All bigoted families are bigoted in their own way, so we won’t be giving you talking points. One of you might have a relative who still thinks Planned Parenthood sells baby parts. Another might think that every woman with a #metoo was asking for it. And yet another might think that the pussy tape was cut together by a Deep State operative hell bent on derailing the Trump Train. No matter the flavor, it’s all sexist. With our macro approach to coping with misogynist relatives, no one gets left out.

Serve Up Patience: Your uncle’s refusal to acknowledge the basic humanity of women is going to piss you off. It should. If, despite your promises to yourself that you aren’t going to get sucked in this year, you find yourself in a dinnertime brawl with someone on the other side, the best way to get somewhere with them is to be calm and rational. They are going to say things that will make you feel like you’re staring into the Upside Down, but you can’t let them get the best of you. When they’ve knocked you off your game, they’ve won. Take deep breaths, stay steady, and remember that you’re in the right.

A Cornucopia of Facts: We might be living in a world where people can and do create their own reality, but facts still matter. Do you have numbers? Do you have the stats? Do you know this topic well enough to speak confidently while you’re being backed into a corner by an angry man who wants to scare you into agreeing with him? All of that is important. They may not believe you to begin with, and if they can poke holes in your argument, it’s all but over. Offer to send them printed copies of your resources.

Share Your Experiences: People change their attitudes and preconceived notions about things when they know someone who has gone through it. When they can put a face they love on something they hate, they are one step closer to accepting it. That said, read the room, and don’t do anything you aren’t completely comfortable with. You know your family better than we do, and you probably have a good idea of how they’ll respond to you saying you’ve been sexually assaulted or had an abortion.

Give Thanks for Like Minded Relatives: If you’re still on Thanksgiving terms with your family, they probably aren’t all nightmares. Bring in your feminist cousins, your progressive dad, whoever you’ve got. There’s strength in numbers. And if all else fails...

Give Thanks for Booze: ...or whatever your preferred substance is. We aren’t going to judge your choices. (This writer is partial to stuffing.) Unfortunately, you can’t win them all, but you did your best. You stood up for what was right, and you probably got at least one person thinking. Make a drink, have some pie, enjoy the tryptophan. There’s so much to be thankful for when you’re on the right side of history.

Natalie Tyson is a contributor to A Is For. Natalie lives in Virginia, where she writes stuff, bakes stuff, and drinks a truly remarkable amount of seltzer water. You can't find her on any social media - it terrifies her - but she's glad you asked. She accepts tips.

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