I wrote myself a letter, and answered it:
The senior guy in my field acts like a total jerk sometimes. He's working in an area I care deeply about - gender and taxation. But he trivializes and sensationalizes critically important issues. For example, I just heard him give a talk about the optimal tax treatment of goods primarily consumed by women, and he repeatedly used Coco Chanel perfume as an example. That makes it seem like gender-based taxation is about frivolous, unnecessary luxuries. It's not. O.k., he mentioned "tampon taxes" too, but that's not an interesting economic issue either. Because feminine paper is a small but absolutely essential purchase, taxing tampons is like imposing a lump-sum tax of about $1 a month on menstruating women. It's a salient political issue, and a sensational one too, but it's not economically meaningful.
The big issues in gender and taxation are gender-based income taxes (as opposed to gender-based consumption taxes), and empirical public policy questions, like which parent to target with benefits if you want more money spent on children. There is good work out there - but this guy didn't reference it once!
As well, his model assumed that all time spent outside the labour market was "leisure" and thus welfare-enhancing. So any policy that reduced the amount of time women had to work made women better off (though reducing women's hourly wage rate made women worse off, because they had less power within the household.) That's just ridiculous. Especially when people have young children, time at home is hardly leisure. Plus the model "black-boxed" the division of power within the household.
The icing on the cake was that the talk was sprinkled with gratuitous remarks about Chinese people. I've heard him speak before, and he does this every time.
What should I do? He's a journal editor, and highly likely to be refereeing my papers for the foreseeable future. I frequently encounter him at conferences. Directly confronting him would be career suicide. But at the same time, his influence is moving an entire field of research in an unproductive direction. A model of the household without children, household production, or any kind of bargaining is a fundamentally flawed way of understanding gender and taxation. What should I do?