The Angry Feminist//Renee Mikorski, M. S.

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        Anger has been on my mind as of late because I have been experiencing a lot of it. We as women are not supposed to be angry- we are supposed to be complacent, compliant and pleasant. Anger is reserved for men to use against women and against other men. Anger is violent and is not a “good look” for a woman.
However, I have been thinking about the pros and cons of experiencing and utilizing anger in feminist and social justice work. Audre Lorde states that “[Anger], focused with precision … can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change” (Lorde, 1984/2007). Anger can motivate and energize marginalized individuals to action against the forces of oppression and fuel that momentum for progress and change.
However, when does anger become destructive? Not to the oppressor but to the oppressed? As women, even if we are angry, there is an expectation that we will keep this anger inside because women are not supposed to be angry. Therefore, I think because of socialization we still keep these feelings inside, especially when we are not in circles where expressing that anger will be validated. On the flip side, how might consistently expressing that anger affect our interpersonal relationships and our mental health?
There seems to be a double-edged sword in terms of the role of anger in feminism and social justice. On the other hand, I do recognize my own biases in writing this article as someone who, on the spectrum of introvert-extrovert, falls more towards the side of introvert. It is my nature to keep things in and internalize. But, despite this predilection I imagine there are women out there who feel the same as me. And when this anger is held inside (whether due to introverted-ness or through socialization), it can be extremely destructive.
I’m sure most of you reading this have heard the phrase “anger directed inward is depression”. But, what if that anger is still directed outward but is not expressed? What does that mean and how does it affect our work as social justice advocates and as clinicians who are supposed to be emotionally available for our clients?
Anger can motivate and empower but it can also harm us mentally and interpersonally. I don’t know how to let go of my anger without also losing my passion for this work. I realize I am still growing in my development as a social justice advocate and radical feminist, but this is one growing pain that is hard to adjust to.

~Written by: Renee Mikorski, M. S.

Lorde, A. (1984/2014). Anger as a response to racism. In P.R. Grzanka (Ed.), Intersectionality: A foundations and frontiers reader (p.171-175). Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

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