Women and Anger : A continuing Taboo…


I allowed anger through in this piece – and did not control the order and rigidly enforce the inner logic of my thoughts the way I usually do. It may well be patchy. I don’t care. Rage is not tidy. It is not coldly logical. It is red and jagged and physical. I think this is why so many – men and women – fear anger: They cannot order it safely through the mind, nor can they control it. It is wild and scary – and some people would rather lock an angry relative up in a psychiatric ward than face their own deepest terror (of insanity) in the mirror.

Why is it that signs of fury in women are deemed almost sinful by some people? Why is it that any rage emanating from female lips and body and wildly-gesticulating hands is akin to hormonal imbalance – or, even more worrying, madness?

This is the excuse misogynists use to keep women under control. These are the weak weapons of so-called logic inadequate males pull out in order to assert their own dominance. Real men don’t need such oppressive techniques.

My title was chosen deliberately and with malice aforethought. Never said I was nice, now did I? You see, there are still a poisonous minority of those born with a penis who view all girlies as either Madonnas or Whores – and appear unable to distinguish between the largely made-up (or at least vastly exaggerated) effects of hormones upon a woman’s behaviour and the whingeing (by definition trivial, pointless and self-indulgent) moans of whores (which, according to the worst of men, is most of us!).

So: Woman angry? Time of the Month. Woman bloody furious? Menopause. Woman swinging shovel threateningly? Lunatic.

Turn that round, however, and start each question with the word ‘man’, a very different story comes out, doesn’t it? And not one which casts aspersions on the man’s sexual proclivities (or lack thereof) because, as we all know, the rules are very different for blokes, aren’t they? You don’t get whores in Manland; you get STUDS (fellow wick-dippers to look up to because they have plunged more often than you have, Woof!).

Men, it seems, are expected – and, therefore, allowed – to be aggressive and loud and angry and pissed off and threatening without it reflecting in a negative hormonal sense upon them. A fella with surging testosterone is admired as he swaggers down the street, balls so full of spunk that he can barely walk. No one says to him, when he slams a hand hard down on the table top (breaking Granny’s precious hundred year old tea set), ‘Time of the Testy month, is it?’ Although, there is, let us face it, a bit of a clue in the word ‘testy’!

Why is it that men’s hormonal response is seen as thrusting and purposeful and assertive and powerful – and women’s as dangerously mad, irrational, pathetic and weak?

Why is it that women are only allowed their anger in tiny controlled bite-sized portions, and then have to apologise endlessly, make reparation, admit they are pre-menstrual, peri-menopausal or plain barking bloody mad?

Why can’t we just blow a gasket without having to explain afterwards which part of the endless fucking dreary female cycle we are in?! Why can’t we be allowed to get utterly furious just because? Just because some bastard has pushed us too far, or some bitch has bad-mouthed us once too often, or life has been a stressful shitty series of apparently endless years and we have had enough, no hormonal cracks necessary, thank you very much!

Anger is human. It is vital. It is a force which operates equally in men and women. It is not intelligent enough to differentiate or judge. It just is. We are the ones who make these prissy and unhelpful judgements about anger. We are the ones who are so terrified of it that we confuse it with insanity and accuse those who rant and rave and scream and shriek (for legitimate reasons) of being off their heads!

Yes, as two lovely people (one male, one female) said in comments today, I have a right to my anger. I do not hate men. It is the attitude we, as a society, have towards emotions that bothers me so much, and this prevailing melodrama of woman as hormonal Bertha in Forbidden Anger’s Locked Attic. It is so sodding patronising. What it is saying is that we women are open to ridicule and impatience and all the tiresome menopause jokes whenever we break away from maternal, nay marmoreal, calm and placidity and submissiveness. Break out the strait-jacket for any woman who so much as raises her voice in minor peeve mode! Jeez!

What a trough full of dingo bollocks!

I am raging because I am frigging angry. I am not on the rag, or having a hot flush or oestrogen-deprived or afflicted by bats in my belfry! Being a woman does not mean that any of the above are obligatory, you know!

Anger is sexless. Anger is a force. It is not different for men and women, though the ghastly dregs of sexist control in our world would love it to be that way.

The reason so many women struggle with expressing their own rage openly is this kind of unthinking prejudice; it is this endless assumption that a womb and bosoms and the ability to be a mother somehow means that we should be rocking offspring or chained to the ruddy sink or wiping bottoms or calming everyone else’s anger down – and putting our own explosive feelings last, lest we damage anyone else!

Why do women find it so hard to express their rage openly? Why do they slice their own flesh and pull out precious tufts of hair and feathers? Because they are ridiculed, humiliated, patted on the head, locked up and punished for any show of temper. Because their fury is not taken seriously. Because they are seen as screaming harpies rather than human beings with a legitimate grievance and the right to self-expression.

My advice – to both men and women? Stop blaming female hormones for everything – and look at the reality: Rage is usually brought on by the behaviour of another, or others – and, all too often, the hormone argument is nothing more than a cop-out, a refusal to take responsibility for being a damned irritating little tit (of either sex!).

I  am allowed to express my anger because I am me! My reasons should not be trivialised because I am female and possess hormones!

Thanks to D. and S. for their great comments!

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16 thoughts on “Women and Anger : A continuing Taboo…

  1. There are consequences to our anger, some men just don’t see it. Remorse, hurt feelings, looking like a fool, loss of credibility are some consequences. Yes women’s anger is unfairly judged and dismissed but so is the softer side males have. The social norms are changing slowly and fathers are teaching sons that there is more than one emotion(anger). It’s confusing for men as to what society wants from us. Trump is setting a bad example for males. Please don’t assume we aren’t trying.

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    1. An excellent comment, with which I heartily agree. I was angry and upset when I wrote the above, and it was very much centred around the more dysfunctional males in our society. Most men I know have the ability and the willingness both to accept my anger and to show their own softer side, and I honour them for it. But historical beliefs and trends cling on, don’t they? Which is why I think both sexes are in a state of confusion and flux. Trump is a bad example of what it is to be human, let alone male – and, let’s face it, our very own, now late (many would say, ‘Thank God!’), Margaret Thatcher wasn’t exact;y a sparklingly wonderful example for women to aspire to, and Theresa May isn’t much better as far as I can see!!.

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      1. I get it and women have been getting the short end of the stick forever. Many men use their anger to control women out of fear. Women are amazingly strong, smart,nurturing intellectual beings that operate on a different level that we men can’t understand. It’s easier to hold someone back then to learn and realize ones shortcomings. Too many broken men and women are left to deal with it.

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  2. it all harkens back to the RC church, the year sometime around 1128 when the pope was annoyed beyond belief that the NUNS, how dare them, had more money, land and respect than his little priests did…….so he wrote in that Mary Of Magdala was a whore..stuck that right into the bible on his own and got away with it, and started denouncing strong women as whores, witches and insane. for some reason this was acceptable to the men of the time.

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    1. But anyone who has done any of their own theological research knows that, so I don’t think it’s helpful to stay stuck in the mode of blaming men long dead. It’s good info to know, but the more important thing is bringing truth into the relationships right in front of us.

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        1. Doesn’t it just! We can learn so much from it, I feel – and part of that process is facing the taints and stains of the Patriarchal initiative which has dominated human society and thought for so long. Thanks, Suze. xxx

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      1. And we do that by facing – and, with luck, overcoming – the layers of imbalance between the genders and the historical dominance of one sex over the other. Truth is cerebral. It is not a feeling. We can only access the abstracts through feelings (which come from the body, not the mind) – and that starts with being honest about those feelings, without weaving censoring thought-patterns into them.

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    2. Patriarchal roots indeed, Suze – and, to me, amazing and sad that so many people still believe in man-made rules and call them the laws of a a deity. The Creator is, to my mind, more force than smiting grandfather – neither male nor female in other words. xxx

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  3. Yes, you have to own your anger. We all do, men and women. It seems if women suppress their anger they become passive-aggressive bitches, and that can do as much damage, possibly more, than out & out anger.
    But let’s be clear, this is a minority who hold to the swaggering testosterone Madonna vs. Whore view. Most men I know have figured out how to not break Granny’s tea set, and express their “hormonal language” either in terms of sexuality or anger in a healthy way.
    As a woman, I recognize both my own Madonna and Whore sides, and many men are respectful of both those aspects of who I am, as I’ve come to be able to own and express those attributes, among many others, in myself. I find it the case that few woman are comfortable accepting those attributes in tandem in other women.
    Unfortunately double & unhealthy standards do still exist. As much as a woman may be judged as raving mad or on the rag when she gets angry, so is a man labelled weak or a sissy when he cries or expresses vulnerability.
    So rage on as you need to… no excuses. But part of owning it is not blaming it on others… ultimately it’s our own choice how to express our anger, or any other emotion. Female and male.

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    1. My use of such words/phrases as ‘misogynists’ and ‘poisonous minority’ make it very clear that, despite my anger, I am NOT blaming all men – and that, in fact, it is society’s slant on such things (which,let’s face it, implies an equal input from my own gender) which annoys me so much. Anger which is bottled up is dangerous to the individual, be that person male or female. In terms of owning up to my anger, that it precisely what I have done in this piece and several others. I also am fully aware that all my emotions are in my ownership (ie they belong to me; of course they do!). I think there is a big difference between blaming others – and, as is the case in long-term abusive relationships, recognising the damage that a toxic partner has done to one. My anger is part of a long-drawn-out phase of coming to terms with abuse.
      I am me. I do not have to subscribe to either madonna or whore, both of which are very shallow puddles of a woman’s vast capacity for emotional depth. Women are every bit as guilty as men when it comes to keeping the more damaging aspects of an outgrown, Patriarchal-religion-based status quo! As long as we continue to see our sisters as bitches, and our brothers as superiors, and our own emotions as undesirable, there will be no change!

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