Women, let's get angry.
I was recently sharing with a group of friends that (fortunately) another written work of mine was chosen for publication in a zine due to drop in September. When asked what the piece was about, I shared that it is about my frustration with the men in my life telling me to temper my language against the Trump administration. Some of the men have good intentions; others are just blindly defending their abhorrent leader. One could gather then that my piece is not on the cool, collected side of writing, nor was it meant to be. When I shared that bit of information, one of my friends made an excellent point; women are not allowed to be angry. The only time that women are portrayed to “rage,” as she put it, in movies and entertainment is when the woman’s child or child-like figure is threatened. Even badasses like Ripley from Alien doesn’t go full badass until Newt, who is not her child, is in danger. I noted this and anted her argument by adding when “their man” and their relationship is messed with also. Women are much more than children and men. We are our own persons without these two factors. This is still a difficult concept for many to comprehend and why I feel women are not allowed to be angry.
I and the majority of women have plenty to be angry about. Even if you take out the factor that gets at me the most (45 and his crew of Cretans) there is still plenty that makes my temples pound at its very mention; I am not going to list them here because then I would write a whole book, but it comes down to a double standard. And it is a double standard that I have been especially aware of since reading Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons. Simmons comes to the conclusion of the passive-aggressive tendencies in women to the fact that from a young age women are told to "be nice." This is in direct conflict when it comes to expressing feelings such as anger, frustration, and disappointment. Because of that suppression, these feelings than manifest as passive-aggressive tendencies and, as shown in the book, some of the manipulative and callous behaviors some women learn and use, and that some may never grow out of. I constantly think about this book, even reading the book nearly a decade ago.
I found this idea especially poignant with the recent heated exchange during the U.S. Open between Serena Williams and the match’s umpire. Williams defended her ground and called out the umpire’s sexist behavior, which has now been officially recognized by the Women’s Tennis Association. But she was penalized for expressing her frustration like her male counterparts, but they were excused. The difference being she is a woman and not allowed to be expressive—the umpire wanted her to be nice.
I am tired of being nice. Telling a woman to “be nice” is silencing her emotions and discrediting the situation. And even more so, you are asking to be nice is quelling any motivation to enact change. Women are angry because we want change. Whether the change is in our personal lives and relationships or large scale like government policies. So, I don’t know about y’all, but I am ready to unabashedly rage.