Soraya Chemaly, Rebecca Traister on Women’s Anger

Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it. Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger 

Now more than ever, the personal is political. Anger is personal. Anger is political.

More quotes follow.

I. Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger (2018)

A society that does not respect women’s anger is one that does not respect women; not as human beings, thinkers, knowers, active participants, or citizens.

Gendered ideas about anger make us question ourselves, doubt our feelings, set aside our needs, and renounce our own capacity for moral conviction. Ignoring anger makes us careless with ourselves and allows society to be careless with us. It is notable, however, that treating women’s anger and pain in these ways makes it easier to exploit us—for reproduction, labor, sex, and ideology.

In the coming years, we will hear, again, that anger is a destructive force, to be controlled. Watch carefully, because not everyone is asked to do this in equal measure. Women, especially, will be told to set our anger aside in favor of a kinder, gentler approach to change. This is a false juxtaposition. Reenvisioned, anger can be the most feminine of virtues: compassionate, fierce, wise, and powerful. The women I admire most—those who have looked to themselves and the limitations and adversities that come with our bodies and the expectations that come with them—have all found ways to transform their anger into meaningful change. In them, anger has moved from debilitation to liberation.

We minimize our anger, calling it frustration, impatience, exasperation, or irritation, words that don’t convey the intrinsic social and public demand that ‘anger’ does. We learn to contain our selves: our voices, hair, clothes, and, most importantly, speech. Anger is usually about saying “no” in a world where women are conditioned to say almost anything but “no.”

If #MeToo has made men feel vulnerable, panicked, unsure, and fearful as a result of women finally, collectively, saying “Enough!” so be it. If they wonder how their every word and action will be judged and used against them, Welcome to our world. If they feel that everything they do will reflect on other men and be misrepresented and misunderstood, take a seat. You are now honorary women.

II. Rebecca Traister, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger (2018)

The British feminist Laurie Penny tweeted in July 2017, “Most of the interesting women you know are far, far angrier than you’d imagine.”

Perhaps the reason that women’s anger is so broadly denigrated–treated as so ugly, so alienating, and so irrational–is because we have known all along that with it came the explosive power to upturn the very systems that have sought to contain it.

What becomes clear, when we look to the past with an eye to the future, is that the discouragement of women’s anger–via silencing, erasure, and repression–stems from the correct understanding of those in power that in the fury of women lies the power to change the world.

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