YOU ARE THE ADVICE COLUMNIST: How Do I Handle Being Mean-Girled For Not Being Feminist Enough?

Our kids are in the same class so we will run into each other for the next several months -- what should I do?
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Our kids are in the same class so we will run into each other for the next several months -- what should I do?
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Recently, while volunteering at my sons' school, I met another mother. Within ten minutes of learning this woman's name, we were in a discussion about how she found one of my passions, a passion strongly connected to my former career, to be highly objectionable as a feminist and mother of girls. I tried hard to avoid coming off as defensive -- imagine someone taking something you've built your life around and ripping it to shreds -- but I politely clarified a few points she had incorrect, and then I brought up my concerns as a feminist raising boys. After that, our conversation devolved into a condescending rant about how many MORE emails she gets because she works outside the home. Mind you, I only stopped working a year ago. She also had a rant about something else that I "wouldn't understand" because she's "much older than me" ...by five years. (By the way, I never told her my age.)

 I never argued. I listened. I tried to show her I agree on several of her points, but it seemed like a Feminist Pissing Contest, and much of what she's said to me has really gotten under my skin. She ended the discussion by proclaiming that she and I "should have a cup of tea sometime." I am a feminist, probably one of the most outspoken ones I know, but this woman summarily called this into question in the span of 20 minutes. Since then, every time I see her, its like she makes a point of going out of her way to say something rude to me. Our kids are in the same class so we will run into each other for the next several months -- what should I do? It seems we are probably more alike than we are different, but it's as though she's already decided she hates me.

Signed, Failing Feminist

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