*Warning: well-deserved cursing ahead!
“I feel like you are yelling at me. It gets tiring to meet with negativity when I’m trying to help you,” he chastised.
His reaction was one I immediately recognized—disapproval. I had not asked for help, yet I had failed at behaving in the socially acceptable manner dictated by the patriarchy: one of being positive and grateful rather than angry and frustrated. My face flushed with shame.
If we want greater social equality: women need to start growling, crabbing, complaining, bitching, moaning, grumping, whining, and scratching. Collectively welcoming these micro-expressions of aggression creates accessible, vulnerable, accepting, and connected females and removes the patriarchal pressure from men to be emotionless protectors and providers.
The conversation with my male friend wasn’t much to speak of—a short exchange where I blasted a decidedly nonpersonal litany of frustrations about a digital platform we mutually utilize. There was no yelling, and there was nothing directed “at” him; I was straight up venting.
I had still broken the patriarchal social code. His social rejection of my behavior was as swift and strong as the shame that washed over me.
I felt an emptiness in my heart, as though a bullet had passed through me and left a clean gap in the centre of my body. Under patriarchy, being an “angry woman” feels a lot like being a lonely one. Shame leaves a gaping hole.
I texted a female friend to express myself. “I have a number of friends I know can’t handle that side of me. They’ll support us in our sadness, but not our anger,” she counselled.
Our patriarchal culture wants us to think women are eternal, natural arbiters of kindness, calmness, happiness, pleasure, warmth, and nurturing—embodying just the yin half of the yin-yang circle. We push women into demonstrating the qualities of yin: submission, weakness, softness, relaxation, and sadness while we hold collective contempt for the masculine, or yang, side of a woman’s vulnerability. We do the same to men when it comes to yin qualities.
It’s bred into us from childhood, embedded into us that “little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice.” Nobody mentioned on the playground that proper spice is some kind of vanilla—warm and cozy and inviting—rather than cinnamon, too much of which will make us shudder.
Boys get sticks and stones. And both genders feel disconnected, compressed, compartmentalized, and severed in half.
Female rage, irritation, and frustration are some of the most fucking powerful acts of anti-patriarchy. It helps us females balance our yin and yang internally, so they no longer need to rely on the limited patriarchal tropes of female-hood forced upon us. Anger is yang (or masculine), so we can connect our whole selves instead of just the half we are told is socially appropriate.
Women can drop our reliance on men for the yang qualities of assertion, strength, confidence, and expression in order to feel steady and balanced; we have access to these internally for ourselves.
Freeing men in the process: when we (women) have access to our anger, we no longer need men to be eternally strong, powerful, problem solvers, ready to protect us at every moment. This means softness or sadness can be recognized as part of the male experience. Men can access the entirety of themselves, embracing their yin, rather than simply standing on cultural guard to fill the emotional holes the patriarchy has created for women.
Fuck the patriarchy; it’s cleaving us all in half.
The system is set up to fail, and it does. Let’s use female anger to take it down. The patriarchy asks us to connect through our invulnerability, but in reality, humans connect through our vulnerabilities. Women’s rage is not only the last bastion of vulnerability, but it’s also one of the most powerful pathways to access connection and fullness: with each other and within ourselves.
Anger is not the story of why we are mad. It’s not in shrieking obscenities, raising our voices, or hurling abusive language while we fixate on who wronged us or what we are annoyed by. Anger is in the exploration of the reactions and responses below our own skin. That’s where power lies, for that’s where vulnerability, truth, connection, and wholeness reside.
As I sat on my couch and allowed the fury to envelop me, I could feel my anger like an irritant behind my bones, scratching at my soul—overwhelming and overbearing. I held my friend’s support, enabling it to bloom until the clawing inside me began to soften. Eventually, it no longer resembled internal skin being rubbed raw.
At first, it felt frightening and overwhelming; then, it melted into something powerful and genuine.
Underneath all anger is helplessness, and I was no longer helpless. It felt like meeting a new part of myself, where power and softness coexisted, shimmering from both sides of the yin-yang circle.
Without the ghosts of the patriarchy residing in our hearts, we can embrace that our feelings are never wrong. They are simply our embodied experience of our present truth.
What does our anger feel like? How do we describe it? Where is it in our body? What sensations arise? When was the first time we remember feeling that sensation in our body? What does this visceral presence reveal? How can we express these feelings?
When all we’ve ever known is repression and compression, it takes courage and vulnerability to explore anger. It takes self-compassion to embrace rage in the raw moments of the pain. It takes awareness to describe our bodily sensations, and it takes practice to discern what needs to be expressed to others versus retained inside.
Feeling our anger is allowing ourselves to access the rawest, juiciest, hottest, and most searing parts of our vulnerability. We can be who we are when we access our felt sensations, which is a portal for wholeness rather than half-ness. By deeply and honestly exploring our sensation, we can hold anger in our body, feel it, let it pass through us, express it, and marinate in our own balanced energy.
Who needs the patriarchy?
Female anger becomes a way of accessing our internal power, releasing us all from outsourced fake patriarchal power that has left us gasping for balance and freeing us from the requirement to acquire it through made-up gender roles. It obliterates the female reliance on men for power, which opens the door to men to have their own more whole experience.
There, we meet one another in the space of connection rather than shame, failure, and social disapproval. There are no holes to fill when we are whole.
Female rage is fucking powerful. Let’s give a big fuck you to “sugar and spice.”