Notes on Angry Feminists

Monday, April 2, 2018

Lately I've been thinking about "angry feminists". And every time it comes up I wonder, "Am I an angry feminist?"

For a long time, I thought it was a bad thing to be called an angry feminist. Even though a fearsome feminist looks pretty cool with her burning bra flag and clever protest sign, I didn't want to be her. I didn't want to be labeled angry because if I was, no one would listen to me.

How do I feel about feminism? Usually I feel hopeful. Empowered. Loving. But not always. I often feel like women are forgotten, stepped on, looked over, and mistreated. I am a feminist because I have been forgotten and mistreated. My sisters, my mothers, my friends have been too.

It makes me feel like an angry feminist.

Some people say anger solves nothing.

Anger may not be the best place to reside and decide but it certainly can be a catalyst. I'll bet Malala Yousafzai was pretty mad that she got shot in the head by the Taliban on her way to school. But the whole world watched as she turned away from anger and instead toward action to increase education access for girls across the globe.

I have heard some people say, "Well, she's just hurting from what happened to her" about a woman sharing her #metoo story and calling for increased awareness and change. I get that one a lot. "Are you sure all this anger isn't related to your trauma?" I am asked pretty often when expressing my views and opinions about equality.

Actually I am 100% certain it is related, but why-ever-the-heck should that mean that what is said isn't relevant, important, and necessary? Why shouldn't those who are hurting speak out and bring awareness to issues that require our collective attention? Why should pain be a discredit to those who want to change what hurts us all?

You may meet a feminist and wonder, is she angry?
The truth is,

we all are.

That's why we're here.

Would all the angry feminists please stand up? I'd like to thank you for your service.  I am grateful you embrace your anger, because it is the manifestation of a deep longing to and for love that's been silenced for too long.

You come to the negotiating table and to life with passion in your bones. You are prepared with facts, experience, and solutions. You share your stories with brave vulnerability in books, social media, speeches, poetry, and podcasts. You call for equality in all the ways its needed: equal understanding. Equal compassion. Equal love.

You do it with your protest signs in marches. You do it in conferences. You do it in your every day discussions. The beautiful thing about your advocacy is that in your own way and your own time, you do it. You speak, you write, you draw, you dance, you sing, stand, march, shout, smile, and cry. Sometimes your very breath is a protest.

Look at all you have given without taking from anyone. You break the rules and we all are better for it, even if some of us have forgotten how to say "thank you."

© Channing B. Parker. Design by FCD.