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Rage Becomes Her?
Notes on the Containment of Female Rage
A society that does not respect women's anger is one that does not respect women; not as human beings, thinkers, knowers, active participants, or citizens.”
― Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger
Disappointing. Overwhelming nastiness. Personal attacks. Bullying. Nasty. Spiteful. Vindictive. Disgusting and bigoted. Nasty snide piece. A disgrace to any feminist. A divide and conquer piece. Inappropriate. Hate filled. Attention seeking. Cruel. Actually bigoted. Splitting the message. Undermining the movement. Slezoid coward. Mean spirited. Rejecting allies. Spitefully attacking. Written by a troll. This take hurts everyone. Needlessly cruel. Her personal attacks demean her. She’s wrong.
These are some of the reactions to the Joey Brite essay which appeared in UGM recently—they are what I could write down on one page of my journal as I scrolled through twitter observing the reaction to The Four Horsemen of the Gender Critical Apocalypse this weekend. It dropped on Friday and triggered immediate outrage. I deliberately stepped around it at first, hoping to avoid wading into the controversy. The outrage grew exponentially and so I finally relented and read the piece. I could feel the rage oozing from the words, words which I felt uncomfortable reading, and yet whose veracity I could not deny.
For context I watched a discussion between Joey Brite and Erin Brewster about the decimation of the lesbian community over the past three decades. I observed the outraged reaction to Joey’s article, some of it quite passionate and animated, all of it highly judgemental and filled with pain. And I heard Pema Chodron’s voice in my head we are so good at escalating. Oh my, aren’t we though? The immediate instinctual reaction to discomfort—avoid—translated into deflecting the discomfort felt at Joey’s raw and rageful honesty. The intensity of the deflection, commiserate with the intensity of the discomfort felt for those in avoidance response mode.
Few individuals engaged with the message Joey conveyed in her powerful essay, so seductive did they find the female rage which delivered it. This intrigued me. As an Aspergian crone with a flaming red hot temper and prone to limbic storms I recognised the virulent reaction to female rage. For this reason, essentially for self compassion and in an effort to be a better friend to myself, I refrained from judging the essay and I have thought a great deal about Joey’s words and her message and the pain of decimation she has watched. I read the thoughtful responses too, and took these to heart also.
When my half brother first told our mother and his sisters, myself included, about his HIV+ diagnosis in the early 1990s, we all watched as something tragic swept across the gay community. Walter watched most of his friends die. These were still days of rampant hatred of gay and lesbian people and the impact of HIV/AIDS on the gay community proved devastating. And here we are, decades later, and lesbians have no spaces left and female is a dirty word and the phrase ‘i ❤️ jk rowling’ now equals transphobia simply because JK Rowling said sex and same sex attraction are both real and not identities nor props for identitarians. And, despite all that gender has taken from female humans, the entire world still expects us to be kind and ask nicely! Why? Why do you all need us to put on kid gloves to talk about anyone promoting a movement that is trying to dismantle sex as a protected right?
So, I’ve been thinking that the term patriarchy is a misnomer—it implies that male humans are the problem, when in actuality it’s everyone, both male and female people. I don’t buy the myth that female people aren’t a part of the patriarchy—of course they are, that’s what Handmaid’s Tale is all about and Margaret Atwood has spoken and written about that in the past. Why do I say this? Well, the reaction to female rage (and female sexuality too however that’s a separate essay) was not confined to men, women reacted quite intensely—scroll up and read the reactions to remind yourselves.
As mentioned, I have a notorious temper and know those around me would have bridlescolded me if that was still a thing. My rageful rants are a thing to behold, those close to me will tell you. My limbic storms are even beyond this and I remember witnessing my aspergian mother in the throes of limbic storms and the smallness I felt in the face of her unbridled power. Female rage is so powerful, isn’t it? Like Vonya from The Umbrella Academy—utterly bewildering and stunning. Vonya caused the apocalypse. Growing up her father was so frightened by her immense power he drugged her and told her she had no powers. When she grew up and discovered she was the most powerful of her 7 siblings, she could not contain her immense power. I cannot help but see Vonya as a metaphor for female humans and how society confines us. Human beings simply universally feel threatened in the face of raw female rage.
Joey reminded me that female people are never allowed our rage, we must perpetually be the mothers of humanity, always thinking about how you all will feel about the honest rage we carry inside like some kind of nuclear reactor in a delicate balance. My best friend of 40 years and I talk about this often, it’s a running joke actually—humanity simply cannot appreciate how much female people transform perpetually. And you would all rather we lie to you about our feelings than have to sit with how we feel, about the things you’ve (humanity, the gender movement) taken from us and continue to take from us.
Why must we be nice when you have your steel-toed booted feet on our necks? I cannot judge Joey Brite, just the same as I cannot judge Posy Parker. I refuse to, it’s a futile distraction and my judgemental reaction then makes it about me, and the message is subordinated to my fragility. So I choose not to react that way. And I choose not to judge the reactions of others. I merely observe the universal truth—female people are not allowed their rage, humans, both male and female alike, simply cannot endure it.
I have deliberately not discussed the message of the article here, my intent was to discuss the reaction it received because that intrigued me. Relationships challenge us, because we cannot control others as we wish, and because putting down your nafsi nafsi to understand the other person feels like surrender, and rather than feel as though we unlock a new level when we choose to push past and try to understand, we feel as though it’s a defeat. Yet, we come from the same source and so you are me and I am you—your pain is mine and this is the human condition.
The gender movement is harming female people. The trans movement is harming female people. These are undeniable truths from which we can no longer look away. Westerners are complacent and arrogant in our privileged abundant societies. Until you bother to learn about what female people face around the world, you really have a skewed sense of things in the west. I mean, you’re all obsessing over pronouns, misgendering, saying stupid sh1t like silence is violence or misgendering is violence—this is so elite the west has become a parody of itself!
Maybe some perspective is in order then. Here’s a reminder that sex is very real and identities and pronouns don’t help female people a wit!
A 19 year old Dalit girl in India was gang raped in a field by 4 upper caste men—they tortured her, cut off her tongue, broke her spine, left her bleeding and to die. This young woman lived a few days before succumbing to her massive injuries. The state police took her body from her family, refused to allow them to perform funeral rituals, took her body to a field, and burned it whilst 150 officers surrounded her family’s home.
This is what female people face around the world. Straight up, why on earth do I need to be arsed because some self loathing individuals feel butthurt female people refuse to indulge their self perceived delusions or embrace their cognitive dissonance? Straight up, am I supposed to get worried because some members of the woke crusaders are upset I refuse to lie to myself or anyone else? Why must I violate myself to placate another? That isn’t compassion and it isn’t kindness, it’s demanding fealty. I worship only one God. And I will lie for no one.
*Image by Sunya via unsplash