Angry is Alright

Women are more emotional than men – fact. Or is it? Such a statement is difficult to prove/disprove as it is difficult to properly measure just how emotional women are in comparison to men. Even then, the difference between how emotional men and women are isn't as extreme as we think it to be. However, this is a concept that many believe.

This has led some people to dismiss women's thoughts and opinions as they are 'too fraught with emotion'. The very emotions women feel are invalidated as they are seen as exaggerated and not logical. Out of all the emotions, women's anger gets the brunt of this treatment with the common response being: "are you on your period?" Admittedly, even I ask myself if my anger is justified or if it's just me experiencing good, old PMS.  Since women are often expected to be natural nurturers, anger doesn't seem to fit with the typical female model. Even in times when we allow ourselves to be mad, we have to express such anger in ways that are easy to swallow and minimize what we feel.

It sometimes feels like I don't have a right to my own emotions or anger – and that pisses me off! And so to combat that, I've listed the top three reasons as to why women have the right to be mad.

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ONE: Keeping your anger in is unhealthy.

No, really it is. While the physical toll doesn't immediately show itself, it will eventually in the long run. Studies have shown that people who find it difficult to express their anger are more susceptible to chronic stress and tension. Generally bottling up your emotions can even lead to premature death. On the mental health side, adolescents who hold their tongue and anger have lower self-esteem and lower level of comfort when confiding in their loved ones (friends, family, etc. ). This, in turn, has affected their personal lives.

While swallowing your pride and playing the peacemaker is good and needed every once in a while…Don't forget about your own well-being and the effect bottling everything up can have on your life down the line. Let out some of that stress and tension if needed.


TWO: Expressing anger will minimize miscommunication.

There have been many jokes made about how women are not direct with what they say. It's like we have a secret code in where saying "it's fine" means the exact opposite. However, I believe this is a result of minimizing what we feel and trying to find validation for our feelings. We feel acknowledged when people see through our fake "it's fine" but ignored when they don't. And when we feel ignored, we further fuel the repressed anger we feel.

Being direct about your emotions would definitely clear up a lot of miscommunication -- not just between men and women, but with everyone in general. When doing so, I suggest speaking with 'I language' in order to avoid hostile confrontation. Instead of saying "you make me angry because…", flip the script and take responsibility for your emotions and say, "I am angry because you…."


THREE: The culture that asks women to hold in their anger is a dangerous one…especially if taken too far.

The very same culture that asks girls to swallow their pride because they are overreacting is the same culture that tells boys not to cry because it makes them look weak. Soraya Chemaly has a great TED talk on how we have practically gendered our emotions and given strict guidelines on who can and cannot feel such emotions. I believe this is an issue that goes beyond gender since we as a society are starting to dismiss the importance of having emotions in the first place.

Feelings are seen as illogical and we often think it would be better if we could just turn it off. However, the emotions we feel are also what helps us detect when something is good (happiness), something is bad (sadness), and when something is dangerous and you need defending (anger). Feelings are what makes us human and what helps us connect to one another, and turning it off would simply do our community a disservice.

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich said, "well-behaved women seldom make history", and that is true. Feelings -- anger especially -- is what compels us to move and make a change. And without it, we would be stagnant. 

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So Nyle, you may be asking, are you arguing that we should unleash the full fury of our rage? Well...not exactly. What I am definitely arguing is that we should allow ourselves to be more in-tune with our emotions and give ourselves healthy venues to express it. In the same manner, we should validate and acknowledge each other's feelings.

There's nothing inherently wrong about being mad. If anything, it protects us from perceived dangers and shows how much we care about certain topics. Rage and anger become dangerous when we use it to wish harm on others. However, if all is fair in love and war, let's allow ourselves to be pissed off and proud. And then, when we're ready…move on.