Dating bitterness anger
Inside, they might be seething with rage they have been taught never to express, anger they can barely acknowledge even to themselves. How many times have you heard people dismiss and belittle a woman who dares to express emotion by telling her she’s probably menstruating? The patriarchy is so scared of women's anger that eventually we learn to fear it, too.They’d probably be surprised to find out how common that feeling is. How many times have men in power — including Donald Trump — tried to push back and put down women who criticize them by implying that our opinions are nothing more than a mess of dirty, bloody hormones, none of it rational, none of it real? We walk around as if we were bombs about to go off, worried about admitting how livid we really are, even to ourselves.Society can cope with girls who are "broken" — but girls who burn with fury are a problem, and they need to be controlled. We’re livid, because what is happening to us is unfair and unjust.Whenever my friends and I have to deal with harassment, abuse, and threats from people who would rather we not talk about women’s rights, we can expect some sympathy as long as we talk only about how frightened we are. Boys learn to disguise their hurt and vulnerability as anger — girls, all too often, learn the opposite.Anger is not the same as hatred, although it's easy to confuse the two, especially in a political climate where hatred of others comes easy and rational rage is met with mockery. Anger itself is no more or less than the human heart rebelling against injustice, real or imagined, and often it has damn good reason. It’s all right to feel anything, in fact — as a society, we still fail to distinguish between emotions and actions, but it’s what we do, not what we feel, that delineates the difference between right and wrong.What matters is not how angry you feel, but what you do with it.Unfortunately, denying your anger does not make it disappear.It grows in the dark, away from daylight, into something twisted and unhealthy, eating away at you from inside.
If you stand up for yourself, if you assert your right to self-respect and bodily autonomy, if you raise your voice above a whisper, if you leave the house without a sweet smile slathered across your face, some people will inevitably call you shrill, a scold, a nag, bitter, a bitch. Bitches, in the fragrant words of Tina Fey, get stuff done.As a tiny white lady who passes as cis, I come across as "fiery" or "feisty," but someone else saying the same things might face more damaging stereotyping.“Race,” writes Roxane Gay in , “complicates anger."If angry women manage to successfully hide their inconvenient feelings, they are praised for being "strong." So often, "strong woman" is used to mean "a woman who doesn’t complain." At most, we are allowed to speak about fear, about upset.One of the questions I am asked most often, when I give talks about my books on gender and politics, is about anger.Young women ask me how I get away with expressing anger with such apparent ease, and they worry about men’s reactions if they do the same.
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When I was a teenager and going through a difficult time, I didn't know what to do with my rage, so I treated it like a stained shirt and turned it inside out, keeping the rancor close to my skin where nobody could see.