The Angry Woman Anthem

I’m a person with a lot of feelings. I talk about emotions all the time, I’m a huge fan of therapy, and I can’t make decisions without considering how everyone might feel about things. That being said, there is one emotion I never really liked much: anger.

For a long time, I didn’t like how it felt to be angry. Unlike other emotions, anger always seemed risky. I thought that if I got mad at a friend and yelled at her, she might decide she didn’t want me in her life anymore. Or if I fought with a boyfriend, he would think I was irrational and crazy. So instead of dealing with my anger head on, I would try to ignore it until it blew up. Long story short, it wasn’t a good plan. I developed a lot of anxiety, and my relationships suffered because I didn’t trust other people to love me even when I got mad. I was absolutely sure that anger was neither good nor normal.

But…why?

  Illustration and feature illustration by Emily Rice, @ricelikethefood.

Illustration and feature illustration by Emily Rice, @ricelikethefood.

Anger is an emotion like any other. The only thing wrong with my anger was that I wasn’t telling anyone about it; it was consuming me.

I think a lot of women are hesitant to show anger due to the stereotypes associated with female anger. In pop culture, women are depicted as insane or called "bitches" when they get mad. Even little girls that get angry are called bratty or ungrateful. The generalizations made about female anger are ingrained in women in ways that we don’t even notice. "Bitchy" is a normal part of teenage girls' vocabulary, and Taylor Swift’s "Blank Space" video makes a woman who is rightfully upset that her boyfriend cheats on her into a caricature of an insane murderer.

When men get mad, they are depicted as strong, manly, and justified. Their outbursts of anger are validated, while women are belittled and ostracized.

The gender segregation of emotions is messed up and damaging to all genders because it is totally fabricated. Everyone has a multitude of emotions throughout their lives, and none of them are good or bad. A feeling is just a feeling, and it shouldn’t be judged based on gender or anything else. If we are constantly told we are wrong for what we feel, we will always be oppressed by our own emotions.

Recently, I’ve been embracing my anger: it feels good. I realized the only person I'd been hurting by suppressing my feelings was myself. Telling people when they upset me is better for them and me because our relationships are more honest and tighter-knit. If we don't share our big feelings, we can trick ourselves into thinking they are unimportant, even though they are; and if no one sees how those feelings are affecting you, you can spiral out quickly. Feeling seen and heard for how you are feeling is validating, and we shouldn't allow our compulsion to stay quiet or lady-like take precedence over our sanity and health.

So ladies, next time you’re pissed, just go with it. Be honest with yourself and others; carrying your feelings in silence is unnecessary. Make Alanis Morissette proud.