Let’s Normalize Female Rage

Let’s Normalize Female Rage

Jaiden Herzog, Staff Writer

Everyone gets angry sometimes.  A car cuts you off, a peer smacks your stuff down, someone tells a lie, your teacher gives you 4 assignments in one day, and so on and so on.  Sometimes anger develops into more: into rage.  Rage is not small and petty like anger.  Rage is blinding and much more powerful than anger.  


     Male rage is accepted, normal, and even justified most of the time.  From such an early age, people are shown men fighting in angry brawls, throwing fists and hateful slurs.  Men are praised and supported when they lash out in anger and hatred.  It’s often justified with the phrase “boys will be boys.”  Yes, boys will be boys, but this doesn’t mean that anger is exclusive just to that gender.  What about women?


Feminine rage is rarely seen in films, and, when seen, the woman is portrayed as messy, emotionally fragile, dramatic, and in the wrong. (Pictured to the right, a scene from Hidden Figures that portrays feminine rage.)  It is wrong for women to be angry and right for a man.  On the other hand, it is right for a woman to be open about sadness but wrong for a man to express the pain he feels.  Many argue this is why male rage is generally accepted in society: because men can only express their pain through “tough” means.  Society tells men that they have to be strong 24/7, and pain expressed through anger is the only accepted way of showing their pain.  This toxic gender role, or gender rule, is detrimental to men’s mental health.  On the flip side, women are told “let the men be tough” and “don’t yell, it’s not very ladylike.”  The structure of society and its societal norms put all of the power into male hands.  Women are the weak, while men are labeled as strong.  It really is unfair to both genders; everyone should be allowed to express themselves when they need to. 


Additionally, male anger is seen as dominance, while a woman is labeled as “out of control” for similar outbursts.  Researchers have consistently found that women feel anger and rage as frequently as, and in levels equivalent to, men.  A woman “loses her demeanor and elegance,” while a man “is being a manly man.”   “I think it’s wrong that women are expected to be more emotional, hysterical, or irrational and that women are out of place when they show anger,” says female student, Falon Dowdy, “It’s disgusting.  I want to express how I feel just like a guy can.  I don’t get why I can’t do that without people judging me,” she continues.  


So why is feminine rage seen as wrong by society?  Men built this world and have formed our social society ever since our start. Women have always been the minority, the inferior of the 2 genders.  Women and men alike have gender roles.   A woman is supposed to get married, have babies, and take care of the house while the man must work and provide for his family.  Beyond the domestic, women are supposed to play the role of “the delicate, sensitive, and sweet flower who only sheds a tear every now and then.”  In part, society defines emotional femininity as the quality of being dainty, not fussy.  In fact, anger equates to a fuss.  Women are called hysterical, irrational, mentally ill, insane, crazy, and every word under the sun for showing this “just-for-men” emotion.   “For so long, systematically, women had to be reserved and calm.  That’s why it’s such a big topic now,” states Rae Hobbs.


Furthermore, women’s anger is often dismissed as menstruation and mood swings.  

“Oh, someone’s on her period,”

“It must be that time of the month,”

“Steer clear of her.  It’s shark week,” men say.  

These are all common misogynistic comments concerning  women’s display of anger.  Yes, periods do sometimes cause mood swings, which can lead a woman through all sorts of emotions, including sadness and anger, but anger is not restricted to only one week of the month for women.  Anger is not this switch that the female body turns on every 28 days.  Anger is a common, simple, and human emotion felt by everyone individually.  


To all the ladies out there, don’t be scared  to show your anger.  Stick up for yourself, let it out.  You have every right to, and there’s absolutely no shame.