The necessary fire of women's anger in print—past, present, and future.
Anger is a very powerful tool for change. It's even more powerful and productive if you can take a few breaths and allow space around that intense fire energy so that you can respond rather than react. Easier said than done 🤪. Women need to be able to harvest that anger and then discuss, set boundaries, have conversations with those who need to hear. Whomever our anger is directed at won't know what it's all about if we just sit there and fester or alternatively yell and scream in frustration. Then we are only poisoning ourselves. Anger used productively can illuminate and pave a way for change. We all just want to be heard. ps: This only works with emotionally healthy human beings. No matter how many breaths you take, nothing you say will be heard by an abusive narcissist. You will end up tearing your hair out in frustration. Just leave it. I had to after 9 years. Thanks for your post Freya. 🙏
It has been so challenging for me recently (even though I am a woman who moved for their partner over a decade ago) to reconcile my anger with the healing practices I’m trying to incorporate into my life. Maybe I need a season of anger. Maybe a couple. Thank you for contextualizing our anger in a long tradition of women who have been through it and refuse to be silenced!
I need to re-read your post, Freya, too much information to be absorbed in just one reading. Thank you for introducing to us Jane Anger. Your words about anger brought to mind David Whyte and his book 'Consolations' - a truly amazing book. He writes: "Stripped of physical imprisonment and violent reaction, anger is the purest form of care, the internal living flame of anger always illuminates what we belong to, what we wish to protect and what we are willing to hazard ourselves for."
Also relevant (and exciting) - check the comments for the form link: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/elletwo_that-escalated-quickly-i-posted-about-activity-7130684487813730305-rUMt?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_ios
I feel so much of this, the anger being rooted in grief of being oppressed, constricted. The giving of more in agreement to gender roles- the unspoken acceptance of work discrimination and being a sponge to absorb all this crudity in a sexist misogynist society falls on the shoulders of a woman. Why? Why are we pressed for more, made to feel guilty for missing out on family time because we have careers, made to feel guilty by bosses for not spending more time in work because we have families and are mothers and daughters and wives to someone? Why it’s always us who should make room, make adjustments, make compromises for others?
Another question is why don’t we know more of Jane Anger than Jane Austin. I am gonna read her work this weekend, thank you Freya as usual to introduce me to another woman obscured by time and her angry work. Rage on! 🔥
"But those admonishments to never show anger are told to us because anger has power. Anger causes things to change. It’s a catalyst. I understand why so many platitudes tell us to let anger recede, to stay calm and carry on, to move forward from the past, to let it go. But for me, my anger feels more like a fire that reminds me I am lit from within, that without it, we move to acceptance of standards that discriminate and oppress". I found this very powerful.
And the Kate Manne book is great - a real eye opener for me.
Jane Anger is now my favourite woman in history 😍
I lean into my anger and rage as the daughter of a homicide victim (5 years this month with a criminal trial pending next month), but I channel it through the daily publication which seems to be the healthiest way for me. Thank you for covering this topic.
I always find it interesting that very young children, toddlers really, are so fairness oriented and so angry. A lot of their anger comes from being hurt, oppressed and painfully thwarted or from witnessing others experiencing those things. (Often for their safety, but even more often to be adult convenient). I don’t say that to infantilize women, but to note that anger and expressing it is a very deeply human trait.
“Anger is so much more than rage or wrath directed outward; it's about the grief of being hurt, oppressed, painfully constricted.”
This is so perfect. This is it, exactly. Thanks for this wonderful piece and for the mention in it. I’m honored to be a fellow angry woman!!
Read Rage Becomes Her after reading On Our Best Behavior - the seven deadly sins and the price women pay to be good - by Elise Loehnen
Love your piece. Thank you. Trying to fuel art and creativity with all my anger towards Patriarchy and the issues women are facing now.
hit-im-home!!! This is so good and SO important. Not too much at all 💥 Turn it up!
I appreciate you, Freya. ❤️ HOW have I never heard of Jane Anger until now?? (I mean, I know how...)
Have you read Rebecca Traister’s Good and Mad: the Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger? It’s a bit of a Trump-era time capsule, which may not always be a thing one wants to immerse oneself in, but I love reading what Traister has to say about just about anything.
-Sam from our Emily pilgrimage :)
Well said, Freya.
I love this! Reading Rage Becomes Her by Soraya Chemaly liberated me from my own suppressed anger which used to
Explode from me about once a year when the oppressions and demeaning became too much. Now having released all that suppression and knowing I do have a voice it is much easier to be direct and true and though there is still so much misogyny around I can see improvements in the young people around me and I know it won’t be like this forever. So yes let us let rip when we must because it is so immensely freeing and our voices need to be heard.