The Right To Anger
One of these days, some scientist in some hidden laboratory will find a way to turn the latent anger in women into a power source. And then, we can all stop worrying about finding sustainable energy and spend the next two centuries twiddling our thumbs. Because we’re ALL angry, ladies. We certainly have enough reasons for it. Across the world, men earn anywhere between 5% to 37% more than us and around 35% women have been at the receiving end of either physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Yes, I Googled. And don’t even get me started on the internet and #NotAllMen and #Femaleprivilege and all the cyber-bashing we get from trolls who believe a woman’s place is under a gag.
But are we expressing it? No sir. And I think it’s because we’re afraid of being labeled unladylike. Of falling into the Nagging Woman Stereotype that is so beloved of chauvinists. Nobody wants to be her. Nobody likes her. And we all know how important it is to be liked, right? So important that we champion the same belief that we’re a victim of. The belief that tells girls to stop being a drama queen, stop being so emotional. The belief that makes it okay to ask an angry woman if she’s on her period. Because apparently the only time a woman is allowed to be angry is if her hormones are awry. We believe being liked, accepted, approved of, is more important that our mental health.
But you see, all that anger we keep bottled inside us? It’s like undigested food. One way or the other, it will come out. As anxiety, depression, a spike in BP, insomnia, or to take a completely random and not at all autobiographical example, by polishing off an entire box of chocolates, we’d sworn we wouldn’t touch. Even worse, as a verbal lashing on someone who doesn’t deserve it. A crying child. A loyal pet. A poor maid. Let’s not pretend that doesn’t happen.
But then, what’s a pissed off girl to do? Channel The Hulk and go on a screaming rampage, damaging buildings and uprooting fire hydrants along the way?
Let’s call that Plan B. But first, how about you acknowledge that you’re angry (no more tears of rage), identify its cause (no more scapegoats), and express it in a healthy, mature way. Go for a run or punch a pillow. Or, since neither of those is possible in a conference room surrounded by the board of directors, you can take a deep breath and tell everybody to stop interrupting you all the damn time.
When you finally speak up, you’ll realize an important thing: an angry woman is a force to be reckoned with. Angry women get heard. They get stuff done. So let’s stop sexualizing the Angry Young Man, and say hello to the Angry Young Woman within us all. And take a leaf from Dylan Thomas: ‘Do not go gentle into that dark night. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.’
(This piece originally appeared on hermagic.com.)