***A BEST BOOK OF 2018 SELECTION***
NPR * The Washington Post * Book Riot * Autostraddle * Psychology Today
***A BEST FEMINIST BOOK SELECTION***
Refinery 29, Book Riot, Autostraddle, BITCH
Rage Becomes Her is an “utterly eye opening” (Bustle) book that gives voice to the causes, expressions, and possibilities of female rage.
As women, we’ve been urged for so long to bottle up our anger, letting it corrode our bodies and minds in ways we don’t even realize. Yet there are so, so many legitimate reasons for us to feel angry, ranging from blatant, horrifying acts of misogyny to the subtle drip, drip drip of daily sexism that reinforces the absurdly damaging gender norms of our society.
In Rage Becomes Her, Soraya Chemaly argues that our anger is not only justified, it is also an active part of the solution. We are so often encouraged to resist our rage or punished for justifiably expressing it, yet how many remarkable achievements would never have gotten off the ground without the kernel of anger that fueled them? Approached with conscious intention, anger is a vital instrument, a radar for injustice and a catalyst for change. On the flip side, the societal and cultural belittlement of our anger is a cunning way of limiting and controlling our power—one we can no longer abide.
“A work of great spirit and verve” (Time), Rage Becomes Her is a validating, energizing read that will change the way you interact with the world around you.
In this provocative analysis, journalist and activist Chemaly describes the many reasons women have to be angry. Though early instruction in gender conventions inures girls to objectification and teaches them to swallow their anger, Chemaly writes, the list of things "stressing us out and making us angry, sick, and tired" include the gender wage gap, the risks of pregnancy and "the immense social expectations of motherhood," pervasive sexual harassment and assault, and the normalization of pain and discomfort. Add to these the daily, constant stream of microaggressions like being interrupted, talked over, or perceived as less believable than men and the "fundamental bias" that they "are inherently less worth listening to." Chemaly offers statistics, studies, and convincing stories to justify this rage, but where phenomena like the #MeToo movement and the women's marches offer examples of turning collective anger into action, she dwells on the denial and backlash that occur when women try to identify or confront the "dense matrix of violence and discrimination" embedded in culture. She encourages women to cultivate "anger competence," or owning one's anger, with advice to develop self-awareness and finding a supportive community. Calling for a "wise anger" that can dismantle pervasive sexism and create a fundamentally democratic society, the book makes a persuasive case that angry women can achieve, not vengeance, but change.