Stef (firecat) wrote,

Girls' and women's experience of anger, a link collection

This post sums up a lot about girls' and women's experience of anger, and as a person raised as a girl I relate to it a lot. It included many links to other articles, many of which I also added to this post.

[Edited to add: On Facebook it was pointed out that this post doesn't address the ways anger is racialized. I agree. When describing it I should have specified "white girls' and women's experience."]

"Does Your Daughter Know It’s OK To Be Angry?" by Soraya Chemaly
For men, anger reinforces traditional gender expectations, for women it confounds them.
while both men and women feel anger, and shame related to anger, they show what they feel in different ways. For men, anger reinforces traditional gender expectations, for women it confounds them.
Anger is diverted in women, who, as girls, lose even the awareness of their own anger as anger.
Interestingly, the reasons men and women tend to get angry differ. A 15-year study of girls and women found that there are three primary causes of anger that are not the same in men: feelings of powerlessness, injustice, and other people’s irresponsibility.
When most people think about anger management they think in terms of what can be seen: frustrated, foot-stomping people, most frequently portrayed as men, throwing things, maybe screaming or punching something. In 2004, researchers looking into gender and anger concluded that women’s complex management of anger “may not be accounted for by existing anger models.”
Unresolved anger contributes to stress, tension, anxiety, depression, and excessive nervousness. It is now estimated that 30% of all teen girls have anxiety disorders.
Clinicians believe that a large component of depression is anger and a specific type of anger caused by a perceived or actual loss or rejection. There are many reasons why girls might feel rejected, powerless, and angry.
[Teen girls] begin to encounter the cultural erasure of women, people who look like them and whom they are meant to emulate, as authoritative. The older girls get, the fewer women they see in positions of power and leadership. Boys and girls move from childhood realms where women are their primary caretakers, teachers, babysitters, neighborhood, and family adults to institutions where they are marginally represented as leaders. Role models are comparatively few and far between for girls who grow up gender code-switching in ways boys aren’t expected or, for the most part, allowed to. At the same time, the opposite is happening to boys whose confidence during the same period grows.
[Teen girls] are navigating the stressful tension between managing their own sexuality and the crush of women’s pervasive sexual objectification. Adults around them often unhelpfully elide the two. School dress codes, for example, are the perfect example of how attempts to stop girls from “sexualizing themselves” handily do the trick for them.
While anger in girls and women is overwhelmingly portrayed as irrational, it is, in fact, completely rational. Girls learn to filter their existences through messages of powerlessness and cultural worthlessness.
"Anger Reduces Women’s Ability to Influence Others" by Tom Jacobs
Angry men are strong and forceful, while angry women are often dismissed as overly emotional. That double standard has been alleged for years now, with plenty of anecdotal evidence to back it up.

A newly published study featuring a mock jury not only supports that assertion: It takes it a step further, suggesting women’s anger may actually be counterproductive. It finds that, while men who express anger are more likely to influence their peers, the opposite is true for women.
"Angry while female: Why it matters that Beyonce, Kelly Ripa and Samantha Bee won't hide their outrage" By Mary McNamara
As Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina found during the presidential debates, a woman who talks over a man will be instantly chastised for interrupting, even if she is attempting to answer a direct question, even if she has been interrupted first.
"Who me, angry? Patterns of anger diversion in women" by Cox DL1, Van Velsor P, Hulgus JF.
Researchers suggest that women's experience of anger is very complex and may not be accounted for by existing anger models. The current study was an attempt to clarify a model of women's anger proposed by Cox, Stabb, and Bruckner in Women's Anger: Clinical and Developmental Perspectives, 1999. Anger diversion focuses on women's attempts to bypass anger awareness, to use indirect means to cope with anger, or both.... We found that women who divert anger are more vulnerable to symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and somatization than are women who use an assertive approach to coping with anger.
"Nice Girls Don’t Ask" by Linda Babcock,Sara Laschever,Michele Gelfand, Deborah Small
Women often don’t get what they want and deserve because they don’t ask for it. In three separate studies, we found that men are more likely than women to negotiate for what they want. This can be costly for companies—and it requires management intervention.
Women are less likely than men to negotiate for themselves for several reasons. First, they often are socialized from an early age not to promote their own interests and to focus instead on the needs of others.
Second, many companies’ cultures penalize women when they do ask—further discouraging them from doing so. Women who assertively pursue their own ambitions and promote their own interests may be labeled as bitchy or pushy. They frequently see their work devalued and find themselves ostracized or excluded from access to important information.
This happens even in organizations that make concerted efforts to treat women fairly
This doesn't directly address anger, but since I retain anger over dress code shenanigans pulled on girls in high school, I'm including it.
"Dress Codes or How Schools Skirt Around Sexism and Homophobia" by Soraya Chemaly
Dress codes, while usually regulating boys’ slovenliness, tend to police girls for how much of their bodies are visible.
Some administrators start every school day with rigorous visual inspections as kids tumble onto campuses...inspections begin around the same time that young girls start experiencing daily street harassment and sexual harassment on campus....The well-documented, harmful effects of self-objectification that result from the policing of school dress regulations is not unlike those that result from street harassment. From the girls’ perspective, they’d started their day with people reviewing, having conversations about and publicly commenting on their bodies and were ending it in the same manner.
I Do Not Want My Daughter to Be ‘Nice’" by Catherine Newman
My 10-year-old daughter, Birdy, is not nice, not exactly. She is deeply kind, profoundly compassionate and, probably, the most ethical person I know — but she will not smile at you unless either she is genuinely glad to see you or you’re telling her a joke that has something scatological for a punch line.

This makes her different from me.
But when strangers talk to her, she is like, “Whatever.” She looks away, scowling. She does not smile or encourage.
I bite my tongue so that I won’t hiss at her to be nice. I tell you this confessionally. Because do I think it is a good idea for girls to engage with zealously leering men, like the creepy guy in the hardware store who is telling her how pretty she is? I do not....I want my daughter to be tough, to say no, to waste exactly zero of her God-given energy on the sexual, emotional and psychological demands of lame men — of lame anybodies. I don’t want her to accommodate and please. I don’t want her to wear her good nature like a gemstone, her body like an ornament.

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