You know that cliché about feminists being angry all the time, having no sense of humour and hating men?
I wonder if, after recent events in the US and #metoo last year, there aren’t an awful lot more people in the world that understand why feminists are so often angry.
As Danielle Muscato responded on twitter to the question “how are women not angry all the time?”
We are angry twice.
We are angry when we’re assaulted, underestimated, underpaid, marginalised.
And then we are angry again when we’re ignored, dismissed or disbelieved when we talk about any of the things making us angry.
Most of our socialisation is about not showing our anger. Why do you think so many women learn to be “passive aggressive” instead of openly angry?
We are angry all the time, and we’ve been angry for a long time.
We were angry in 1787 when women LOST the right to vote in all states (except New Jersey) despite having the right before
We were angry in 1791 when Olympe de Gouges published ‘The Declaration of the Rights of Women” and in 1792 when Mary Wollstonecraft published “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman.”
We were angry when de Gouges was beheaded two years later.
We were angry in 1807 when women in New Jersey lost the right to vote too.
We were angry in 1864 when the British government passed the Contagious Diseases Act, allowing the arrest and forcible medical examination of any woman, just in case she might give an STD to a naval officer.
We were angry in 1909 when Cicely Hamilton published “Marriage as a Trade”, lamenting the lack of opportunity for any woman wanting to be more than a wife or a mother.
We were angry when the laws of Britain in the early 20th Century stated that apon marriage, a woman ceased to be a person in her own right, as she now was the same entity as her husband.
We were so angry in the years before the 1st world war that we smashed windows, refused to sign the census (why pay taxes when you’re not allowed to vote?) and when women (and men) were force fed in prison, and when the British government, in the face of outcry over force feeding, passed a law saying that unwell hunger striking prisoners could be released, but must be rearrested as soon as they were well enough.
We were angry in the 60s, 70s and 80s that Marital Rape was still not considered a crime in Britain. We are angry now that there are still countries where it’s not a crime, and how limited the laws are that allow women full autonomy over their own bodies.
We are angry that the president elect of the USA is a self-declared sexual predator and alleged rapist.
We are angry that an anti abortion alleged sexual predator can be a supreme judge
We are angry that the criminal justice system makes reporting a sexual assault so traumatising that many women wouldn’t report it at all.
We are angry that women are then judged for both reporting and for not reporting, and shamed for speaking even to friends about the violence done to us.
We are angry that in courts around the world a man’s potential future is given more weight than a woman’s wellbeing. In 2018, a man’s career still has more worth than a woman’s life.
We are angry that “due process” has come to mean “criminal justice process” and nothing else
We are angry that every time we leave our house we have to carry out a hundred tiny checks so routine we barely notice any more just to make sure we’re not molested or harassed as we go about our business, and even then our rituals and plans and checks aren’t enough in the face of a man’s sense of entitlement to call us “darling”
We are angry that we’re told an unwanted “hello darling” from a stranger is a compliment
We are angry
We are angry all the time
We are so used to being angry, we barely even notice it any more. It’s a background buzz to our lives. Anxiety. Insomnia. Stress. Snappiness. Exhaustion. We repress and squash our anger just so we can get up and get dressed and get on the bus and walk the dog and feed the cat or the kids and not explode at the next man that decides today is a good day to tell us that not ALL men…
We are angry. Our anger is justified. Our anger is reasonable.