As someone who identifies as a woman I can personally attest to being told to calm down and then instantly wondering was I really getting worked up? Would a man have been told to calm down? Maybe. Maybe not.
I am confident that I can say almost everything reading this blog has been in a meeting, presentation or even simple conversation with someone where you have gotten to the point of frustration that makes you want to give up or scream in their face. While neither of those is probably most productive I want to embrace anger.
When you wake up in the morning, scan the news, and realize that people are freaking out because “America the Beautiful” was not sung in English during a super bowl commercial, that sexual abuser Woody Allen can be honored at the Golden Globes, and that (insert terrible thing here) is happening in Russia, I think anger is a completely valid response.
Anger can motivate people to make change.
While we are at it I also want to embrace sadness. Women who cry are seen as unstable, ready to burst at any moment, as if crying is the ultimate testament to weakness.
When my boyfriend tears up at a movie I tell him that I appreciate his ability to be honest with his emotional side knowing that our culture of masculinity makes crying seem sinful for a man. It is one of his qualities I love.
Yet when I start to cry in frustration in an argument or during that damn ASPCA animal shelter commercial (yes I’m talking to you Sarah McLaughlin), I stop myself. I don’t want to be an emotional woman.
Sadness can often be a much needed release.
There are lists compiled by very credible (SARCASM) sources like askmen.com that intelligently point out the top ten celebrity men that have cried and why we as a society should shame them. How insightful (MORE SARCASM)!
So let us recap: I police myself showing frustration in order to avoid being labeled an angry bitch by but I also choke down my tears in fear of being seen as an emotional woman.
But that is not fair. That is not helpful. That is not productive. And that is exhausting.
I decree (will all my blogging authority) that you can be angry when you are angry. You can show it. Use that anger to fight for your position. I know this seems basic and for some of you (at least I hope) I am not the first person to tell you this.
You can be sad when you need to be. You can jump head first into a bowl of ice cream if you want and cry for hours (I will join you if it is lactose-free!)
But remember that to deny anger is to deny a human emotion. To deny sadness is to deny a human emotion. To deny oneself either of those, is in my opinion, not very feminist.