Angry Women
September 25, 2015 7:20 PM   Subscribe

The Semiotics of the Kitchen video art mentioned in the article is worth watching.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:46 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Jane Anger (1589) needs her own action movie.

"that which my [bad-tempered vanity] hath rashly set was ANGER that did write it."

She said, tossing her cigar into a pool of gasoline.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:54 PM on September 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Interesting article. I will note that anger over inequality is it's scope. When it's 2am and it still won't compile isn't covered.

Edith Margaret Garrud needs her own movie. She was a jujitsu instructor who trained a suffragette militia, and managed to fight off the police with clubs when they came to arrest the leadership. You wouldn't like her when she's angry!
posted by adept256 at 10:33 PM on September 25, 2015 [7 favorites]

Wish this were meatier--great topic for a long, detailed, footnote-laden primer!
posted by Joseph Gurl at 12:01 AM on September 26, 2015

Does anyone but me draw the correlation of so many depressed women in the US with the endless demand for us to smile and be pleasant at all times? No one likes an angry woman......
posted by LuckyMonkey21 at 1:21 AM on September 26, 2015 [15 favorites]

It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman," a verse in the Old Testament book of Proverbs reads. What a striking thought: a reclusive existence wandering the wilderness is preferable to a woman who might dare to express any inkling of dissatisfaction. If a woman wants to keep both husband and home happy, she best tuck away her rage, place it in some mental file cabinet marked "do not open."

It seems a silly exercise to rewrite the text to make it say something unambivalently oppressive that we can get angry about. You could as easily rewrite it as a proud or admiring boast about women's power and assertiveness.
posted by Segundus at 1:37 AM on September 26, 2015

I've become disillusioned with anger; when I was young I thought of it as the natural ally of fervour and belief. Later I realised its damaging downside but still thought righteous anger could be enabling. Now I'm pretty sure it's wholly negative. Protest is good, assertion is good, courage is good: anger - we're better off without it.
posted by Segundus at 1:41 AM on September 26, 2015 [9 favorites]

Great article. Audre Lorde's speech (linked in the article) is worth reading in full.
For it is not the anger of Black women which is dripping down over this globe like a diseased liquid. It is not my anger that launches rockets, spends over sixty thousand dollars a second on missiles and other agents of war and death, slaughters children in cities, stockpiles nerve gas and chemical bombs, sodomizes our daughters and our earth. It is not the anger of Black women which corrodes into blind, dehumanizing power, bent upon the annihilation of us all unless we meet it with what we have, our power to examine and to redefine the terms upon which we will live and work; our power to envision and to reconstruct, anger by painful anger, stone upon heavy stone, a future of pollinating difference and the earth to support our choices.
posted by thetortoise at 1:52 AM on September 26, 2015 [21 favorites]

LuckyMonkey21, that is interesting. I remember reading this years ago, and re-found "Anger across the gender divide" which suggests that "...women who either try to mask their anger, or externalize and project their anger irresponsibly, were at higher risk for anxiety, nervousness, tension and panic attacks." nb They note that for both men and women anger is socially controlled and seen as wrong. I feel there is social pressure on women not to take the causes of their anger - say, injustice or powerlessness, - to expression. And even if they ask for things nicely, they are minimised and dismissed or diverted from their feelings about some systemic causes for this anger.

[They also note that age diminishes anger and its symptoms Segundus, so you are on trend!]

I often feel unable to articulate why something that has occurred is angry-making, and instead burn on a low level of unexpressed rage. I certainly feel that this came to light when we participated in the Emotional Labour threads here on Metafilter. There seemed to be an enlightening new vocabulary for the underlying resentful feelings women carry around as they are socially and culturally schooled to function for others, and often against themselves.

That this article argues for the systemic basis of this anger and women's representation of it, is definitely interesting. Unfortunately, in this article, not explored with much-needed depth.
posted by honey-barbara at 1:53 AM on September 26, 2015 [6 favorites]

Righteous anger can be a powerful force for catalyzing change, and it can be an impressive thing to see in action, so it's tempting to view it as an unmixed virtue, but it's also extremely dangerous and hard to tell from less righteous forms of anger. Also, it seems important not to lapse into gender essentialism here.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:25 AM on September 26, 2015

I know too many people that think anger = activism, as if having an emotion is the same as taking action.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:07 AM on September 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

I tried to do hardcore activism for a little while in the form of sort of informal whistleblowing and all it got me was grief from people I expected to be allies and very little pay off in terms of effective change, so my approach to activism now is to keep it humble and personal/local, and to keep anger as far away from it as possible.

But then I think I've kind of involuntarily been enlisted in a sort of de facto online political activist stunt anyway, so I don't really have a clue what I'm doing anymore.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:47 AM on September 26, 2015

> my approach to activism now is to keep it humble and personal/local, and to keep anger as far away from it as possible

You're a man, right? This is an article about the anger of women, which is a very different thing.

> Also, it seems important not to lapse into gender essentialism here

Which is probably why the article says "women writ large are no harmonious collective, and they perceive their powerlessness in different ways and from different directions."
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:44 PM on September 26, 2015 [3 favorites]

Fair points, the corpse in the library.
posted by saulgoodman at 4:10 PM on September 26, 2015

Speaking of angry women, the Re/Search publication "Angry Women" is a very very good read. Diamanda Galas, bell hooks, Karen Finley, Susie Bright, and others on women in society, women making society, and women's rights among others. Worth the effort and the money to pick up, as it's no longer in print.
There are others in the 'Angry' series too, but I haven't read them.
posted by Zack_Replica at 2:43 PM on September 28, 2015 [2 favorites]

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