THE text from my friend read: “I just feel so… angry.”
And then she immediately said sorry and followed it up with: “But I know lots of people have it worse.”
When we let it out, anger moves things forward and galvanises change[/caption]
She was referring to the prospect of a summer filled with socially distanced soggy barbecues, when it should have been festivals, holidays and falling in love.
But she could have been talking about any of the things happening in
the world right now.
And yet for some reason, female rage is still taboo – hence my friend’s apologies.
I think that women are OK with admitting when we’re feeling depressed, lonely, anxious and even suicidal – but angry?
Actress, writer and producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge has said that she finds angry women ‘exciting’[/caption]
Better bottle that one up and do one of those mindfulness colouring books until it goes away.
From an early age women are taught that being angry is inappropriate or impolite or unattractive.
We’re told that our anger will make people unhappy or uncomfortable, because angry women are “difficult” or “bossy” or “mad”.
As a result, I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life pasting on a polite smile when someone has said something that’s offended me, or pretending to be sad about something (a bad break-up, getting passed over for a promotion), when in fact I was flat-out furious.
Instead of making a scene, I have quietly seethed with resentment. But not any more. From now on I’m going to let rip.
Because I’ve realised that rage can be a powerful and positive thing. Look at the collective anger that has sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, or the fury that was unleashed in the wake of #MeToo.
When we let it out, anger moves things forward and galvanises change. It’s only when we push it inside that it festers and comes out in other, less helpful ways, like bitching about a friend, sending passive-aggressive emails or throwing your burnt banana bread at the wall.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who was inspired by female rage to create Fleabag, has said that she finds angry women “exciting” and pointed out that society views this particular emotion in men and women very differently.
The collective anger that has sparked the Black Lives Matter movement has been extremely powerful[/caption]
Angry men are heroes, angry women are harpies. “If we see guys fighting on the street we let it go because there’s so much male rage on display in movies and so on, but female anger is hysteria or: ‘Calm down, love’,” she said. “In fact, rage can be a really positive emotion – it got me writing.”
Although the wellness industry has led us to believe that zen and serene is the state we should be aiming for (preferably with the help of an expensive scented candle), I think being angry is nothing to be feared.
There is something clarifying about noticing what gets us fired up, because it highlights what’s really important to us, whether it’s a colleague who says something that rubs us up the wrong way, or a family member who makes our blood boil.
Being an angry woman is like a superpower, you just have to learn how to harness it and channel it in the right direction.
If you listen to your anger it will reveal what you need to do differently[/caption]
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If you listen to your anger and give it the respect that it’s screaming out for (rather than screaming into a pillow), it will reveal what you need to do differently, whether that’s writing to your MP, volunteering or ditching a frenemy. Because, take it from me, banana bread takes ages to scrub off the wall.
- Follow Kate on Instagram @katewillswrites
This Week I'm…
Listening to… About Race
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