Angry women have immense power and here's how they should use it, says author Soraya Chemaly


The punishments women receive for not appearing sufficiently deferential are steep. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but if you're female and especially if you're a female of color and your name is Serena Williams you will be penalized for behavior that your male counterparts get away with.

If you're an average lady walking down the street, you can expect strangers to tell you to smile, and harass you if you don't oblige. Is it any wonder so many of us are seething?

Yet author and activist Soraya Chemaly has a reassuring message. Her new book asserts that "Rage Becomes Her." But even writing about women's anger can make some people uneasy.

"A lot of people respond to this book by saying, 'We don't need more anger in America,"' Chemaly told Mary Elizabeth Williams on “Salon Talks.” "The book is not saying, 'Let's all get madder.' The book is saying, 'There is rage. What's happening with this rage?' It hurts us. It hurts our bodies. It hurts workplaces. It hurts our politics. What we really are talking about is not anger management but anger competence. I think there is joy and creativity and immense political power in understanding how to use it."

The key to harnessing the rage we're feeling, she says, is to find our tribes. "Anger can be isolating," Chemaly notes. "If you find other people who share your values, who are moved by the same issues then you shift the way that anger is felt and the way that it is used."

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