I received an email from a student a few days ago, and I have been mulling over it over the holiday.
Without disclosing too much of it, the student (who is quite weak) compared my class to his other classes (incidentally, taught by older male colleagues), and suggested that my teaching methods are not up to par (I receive stellar evaluations each semester). In particular, he had complaints about my syllabus, where not enough emphasis was placed on homework, and told me that "no one else does it this way." However, I had taken the syllabus from a male colleague, and when I told him this, he apologized and backed off.
On reflection, I feel that he backed off because I named a very senior male professor who had done the same thing, and to criticize me was to criticize him. It feels sexist to me (I am female).
In the spirit of fighting sexism, I feel that I should maybe say something. But on the other hand, as a person on the higher end of the power spectrum, I feel that I would be bullying the student if I were calling him out on his sexist remarks (which, he is probably not aware of).
In the grand scheme of things, this is a minor issue, but this incident made me aware that even the young people can have sexist views, and that this will probably happen again in the future. So I am not necessarily soliciting an answer specific to my situation, but in a more general setting. If you witness a student engaging in a sexist behavior, would you call him/her out? How would you do this without making the student feel intimidated?