Saturday, January 16, 2010

Anger Management

Why is it women in our society aren't allowed to get angry?

Seriously. Kids driving you crazy? You're a bad mother. See an injustice? You must sympathize with the perpetrator's horrible childhood. Screwed over? You must have deserved it.

A few years ago I wrote a short story where the heroine's mad about her co-worker/boyfriend dumping her and stealing credit for her project in one swoop. At the time, I was in a critique group with a guy and two gals. The guy commented that every woman he knew would blame themselves for the break-up. I looked at the other two women and asked if they've ever been angry over getting dumped.

(Insert crickets chirping.)

Maybe it's the difference in the type of women I hang out with compared to this gentleman and the other two ladies. My best friend was pissed as hell when she caught her boyfriend in bed with his ex-girlfriend two days after he'd asked my friend to marry him. And she laid the blame solely where it should have rested--the guy.

On another blog, a different slant on female anger came up. One of the commentators made a good point. (The following is paraphrased.) All humans fear feminine rage because we don't want to tick off the person we rely on for food and shelter.

In other words--I brought you into this world. I can take you out.

Any one else have a theory?


  1. The heroines of my books often have a chip on their shoulder over some wrong or other - and they aren't afraid to say so. It's given me grief upon occasion, in the form of snippy judges' or reviewers' comments that heroines should be ladies. Or at the very least nice people (rather than those who fantasize about applying voodoo needles to the offending part of the offending male stand-in's anatomy. ;)

    In fiction, readers accept edgy, even angry, heroines, however, as long as the author shows some measure of vulnerability. In real life, as you say, people continue holding a double standard, considering male anger natural and that of females a dangerous, generation-threatening aberration.

    Interesting post!

  2. It does seem that we're supposed to act like "ladies" no matter how angry we get. Don't over react, don't be bitchy or hysterical. Hold it in.

    No thanks. I don't need the ulcers.

  3. Thanks for stopping by, Colleen and Teri.

    This is something DH and I have--hmmm--discussed on occasion as well.