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Ellen’s Box – Do Not Dismiss My Anger

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Fittingly for the subject matter of this week’s column, I’m about to have a bit of a moan. Nothing to do with being or feeling negative, I hasten to add, just a standard complaining sesh similar to that done by Jennifer Lawrence this week. Take it as an example of one of the many many ways that she and I are alike. Ha ha.

So Jen wrote about women feeling pressured to always be nice. She expressed how she didn’t want to seem “spoiled” or “difficult” by contesting the massive pay gap between herself and her fellow male actors. When she grows the balls (cos you need them to do such things, it would appear) to challenge it, she’s made to feel wrong and apologetic, just as I was after I wrote the first line of this column.

See, we’re the same.

I’d like to narrow that ‘we’ down to just Jennifer Lawrence and myself, but this happens to all women. I read Medea for a class the other day and was taken aback hugely by its plotline. I had always been told that Medea was an evil witch who mercilessly kills her own children, yet those telling me had conveniently neglected to mention that she does this to avenge her husband. A bit dramatic, perhaps. A bit steep, like, maybe. But this is Greek mythology, and to be fair to the gal, not only did she have his babies, she’d also killed her own brother in order to save his life. There’s something in there to validate her whole #stopJason431BCE thing.

I have some news for Sophocles, Sony, Taylor Swift’s ex-boyfriends… actually, a lot of men both close to and away from home. Sometimes, women get angry.

*GASP*

This is due to the fact that anger is an emotion felt by everybody, men and women alike, and (of course) it’s ok. It’s natural. It should be managed properly, and absolutely shouldn’t reach the point of child murder, or any kind of murder, or any kind of harm at all, but is something we all feel at one stage or another. Surely everybody knows this?

ANYONE, any one of us, is going to be pissed off if someone pisses us off. Why the surprise, astonishment, horror when these sentiments are expressed by a woman? ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ goes the famous line written by William Congreve, which – whilst a classic line/great product of history blahblahblah – seems to me a complete statement of the obvious? No?

Females are ‘scorned’ across broader spectra than love, as I’m sure the vast number of ex-girlfriends who are suddenly ‘crazy’ at the end of relationships will be able to tell you (ask me if you want). As is proven by the Jennifer Lawrence situation. As is proven by the lifestyles of impoverished women all over the world.

IT IS SO BORING to re-work a woman’s anger and phrase it as insanity. Or emotional instability. Or treat it as something that’s outrageous and uncalled for and surprising. So many of these categorical labels exist (‘angel of the house’, ‘dissatisfied shrew’, ‘Lady Madonna’) as a way of shutting women up and devaluing their feelings. It’s boring because it’s been done for so long and is something that is ultimately so unfair. William Congreve died in 1792 and, as a woman in 2015 who still feels scorned by society, I’d probably have less to moan about if such shit tedious expressions – and pay gaps – had died with him.

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