I don't equate a refusal to engage with being a "people pleaser."
He's the jerk, not me. So why should I let him set the tone for how I interact with academics--- even those as boorish as himself?
The point you raise that I think is important though, Horatio, is that women who refuse to engage in these patterns are usually called b*tches. But as a female academic you get painted with the "b*tch brush" whether your response to sexism takes the form of a verbal confrontation or a more taciturn refusal to engage. Doesn't matter. Nice or naughty, when a woman fails to conform the expectations of her male peers (or subordinates), the label "b*tch" is a handy and well-worn recourse.
I find the critique that I did something wrong by not dressing this guy down an interesting one... particularly because it persists even after I demonstrated that it would be fruitless.
No one, least of all me, said that you did anything wrong. Handle it how you want.
I gave you my opinion which you can take or leave. I don't care.
My wife and I ague about this sometimes; she's a classic "people pleaser" and wants people to feel comfortable and happy - and if someone else says something offensive, she wants me to shut up to keep the peace and not make things "awkward." And my response is always that the other person is the one who made it awkward by acting like an ass, not me for responding in the way most people would. Same applies here.
And yet, you don't understand when it's you acting like an ass on this thread.
In other words, you are always in the right, whether the misbehavior is on your part or someone else's. I'm sure that works out for you very well. It must be nice.
I'm not always right. But I won't apologize for giving an opinion.