Journalist Rebecca Traister’s New York Times bestselling exploration of the transformative power of female anger and its ability to transcend into a political movement is “a hopeful, maddening compendium of righteous feminine anger, and the good it can do when wielded efficiently—and collectively” (Vanity Fair).
Long before Pantsuit Nation, before the Women’s March, and before the #MeToo movement, women’s anger was not only politically catalytic—but politically problematic. The story of female fury and its cultural significance demonstrates its crucial role in women’s slow rise to political power in America, as well as the ways that anger is received when it comes from women as opposed to when it comes from men.
“Urgent, enlightened…realistic and compelling…Traister eloquently highlights the challenge of blaming not just forces and systems, but individuals” (The Washington Post). In Good and Mad, Traister tracks the history of female anger as political fuel—from suffragettes marching on the White House to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. Traister explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes; the varied ways anger is received based on who’s expressing it; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel. She deconstructs society’s (and the media’s) condemnation of female emotion (especially rage) and the impact of their resulting repercussions.
Highlighting a double standard perpetuated against women by all sexes, and its disastrous, stultifying effect, Good and Mad is “perfectly timed and inspiring” (People, Book of the Week). This “admirably rousing narrative” (The Atlantic) offers a glimpse into the galvanizing force of women’s collective anger, which, when harnessed, can change history.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Here’s an understatement for you: American women are angry. The daily reality of unequal pay, unchecked harassment, and misogynistic double standards has elevated simmering ire to combustible levels. And while the establishment has always rushed to suppress female anger, it may actually be exactly what this country needs. That’s the argument from bestselling journalist Rebecca Traister (All the Single Ladies), whose preternatural talent for capturing the zeitgeist is on full display. Her rigorous examination—and full-throated celebration—of furious American women ranges from Abigail Adams to Audre Lorde to Elizabeth Warren and looks at the shattered limitations, taboos, and glass ceilings they left in their wake.
In this trenchant analysis, journalist Traister (All the Single Ladies) explores the "nexus of women's anger and American politics," in which "noncompliant, insistent, furious women have shaped our history and our present." This emotion "has often ignited movements for social change and progress" yet often goes unacknowledged in a culture in which women in politics are "not lauded for their fury" while their male counterparts are. At the core of this analysis is the idea that the achievements of female political activists such as Florynce Kennedy, Rosa Parks, and Shirley Chisholm have been "erased from the record" rather than celebrated. Traister argues forcefully that women are an "oppressed majority in the United States," kept subjugated partly by racial divisions among the group. Four sections consist of essays, each capturing a factor in the current social and political climate the failure of the ERA; the role of women in the Tea Party; responses to Hillary Clinton's presidential run; and the birth of the #MeToo movement. Traister closes with a reminder to women not to lose sight of their anger even when things improve slightly and "the urgency will fade... if you yourself are not experiencing" injustice or look away from it because "being mad is correct; being mad is American; being mad can be joyful and productive and connective."