"Study after study has shown that anger among men is perceived as strong, decisive, credible, and, of course, powerful, while women who express that same emotion are perceived as “difficult” or “shrill.” Anger and rage clash with our feminine ideal and as such must be suppressed, the cultural narrative tells us. The persistent double standard infiltrates not only our psyches, but also our politics."
The subject of women and anger is a complicated one, something that the last two years, and the #metoo movement specifically, have brought to the forefront.
There is a common perception that women stand for community, motherhood and love which are all antithetical to anger, often viewed as divisive and hurtful.
But this assumption lies on two other assumptions, that men and women have naturally a different way of communicating and that anger is, indeed, divisive.
Myth buster #1: Women and men communicate in different ways
The truth, however, is that there is probably no innate difference between how women and men speak. The psychologist Janet S Hyde did a meta-analysis of studies on gender and communication and found that gender differences in communication were negligible.
What she did find, however, was a link between status, or structures of domination, and communication. The catch, she notes, is that men have often been in situations of higher status in their interactions with women.
So, for instance, when studies showed that men tend to interrupt women more, the meta-study found that men in a position of higher status will also interrupt other men more.
Myth buster #2: Anger is divisive
Given a choice, we’d all rather avoid anger. Actually, many of us do (it’s called conflict avoidance!).
The thing is, anger is actually very important, and it has always been - evolutionary speaking. The recalibrational theory of anger suggests that one of the purposes of anger is to act as a bargaining tool. Anger is usually a warning system of something worse, often physical aggression (or at least it used to be, and can still be, especially with animals). In other words, if you show anger, and therefore an implied threat of physical aggression, you are more likely to access vital things like food.
Another important role of anger is to act as an alarm bell when your boundaries, or your safety, is being compromised. If your brain is feeling under threat, especially if the option of flight is not available, anger becomes a very powerful tool.
In other words, anger is not bad, nor good, it’s completely neutral. It’s just another tool that our brain has developed over thousands of years to keep us alive.
Myth buster #3: Society hates angry women
So if women and men don’t inherently have different ways of communicating, and anger isn’t inherently bad, why do we have an issue with so-called angry women?
I’d like to suggest that it’s not so much angry women that society has a problem with, but rather the novelty of it. Our brain doesn’t like new stuff, generally speaking. We’ve been exposed to men being angry most of our lives, through movies, in the media and, importantly, in politics. But we haven’t been exposed much to women expressing their anger.
The other thing is that, since our brain knows deep down that anger is a bargaining tool to gain an advantage, or to “recalibrate” as the theory calls it, the issue is not so much angry women themselves but what they stand for. Angry women are trying to recalibrate society and that’s scary for a lot of minds out there (including other women). It is new, and therefore something easy for our brain to dislike.
>>> Anger itself is not the issue, it’s what you do with it
There is a difference between anger and aggression.
Anger is an emotion, whereas aggression is a behaviour - there’s a world of a difference. In fact, society tends to be okay with anger, much less so with aggression because aggression often implies a choice.
“Clean” anger is the ability to be able to express your anger without it turning into aggression. You see it often in animals, in the way they can say a big NO (bark, growl, ears back, showing teeth) and the next second revert back to normal. This is something we really struggle to do, mainly because we’ve all been taught not to express our anger.
Suppressing an emotion is the best way to make it stronger. But just like an alarm system in your house, we should be able to listen to it, see what the fuss is all about and then take a call accordingly.
We can be angry without being aggressive, and therefore much more efficient in how we communicate.
Would you like to learn how to do it?
It’s a subject that I am passionate about. I used to be completely incapable of expressing my anger. When I became angry, anger would feel as though it was shutting down my entire system and the only thing I could do is cry. But this is no longer the case. I now know how, when and why to express emotions like anger and this has really helped me in my relationship with myself and with others around me.
FREE WORKSHOP ON FEMININE EXPRESSION
I really want to share with you some of these tips that have helped me so I’ve tied up with the wonderful Sarita Dhankani - a homoeopathic doctor and holistic healer - to put together a FREE workshop on the importance of feminine expression and how to liberate yourself from unhealthy emotions. This women-only workshop will bring together Sarita’s experience as a holistic healer and mine as an emotional communication specialist to give you ways in which you can transform the way you communicate.
The workshop is entirely FREE and will take place on Zoom. It is a space where you can be yourself, share or just observe, that will enable you to awaken the power of effective expression.
This workshop is for you if:
You sometimes feel that you are unable to express who you really are, and that people don't know the real you.
You feel that you don't always get back as much as you give.
You feel you carry the weight of the world and that it can be isolating.
You want to be more than a daughter/ sister / wife / daughter in law?
You feel you could do and be so much more in your life if you were able to improve your communication skills and express yourself more effectively.
If you want to change things for the better.
During the 90 min workshop we will work on:
1. Understanding your overpowering emotion
2. Acknowledging the unresolved emotions and conflicts
3. Setting Healthy Boundaries
4. Breaking unhealthy patterns
5. Speaking your truth
6. Addressing Communication Blocks and improving communication
7. Emotion Management
8. Changing your energetic vibration
UK Time: 11.30am-1pm
If the timings don’t work for you, you can still register and we will send you the recording.