As women, we often feel anger over the authority figures who try to exert control over us. They are often faceless and nameless to us, and we rarely feel empowered to overcome them. When we respect our anger and deal with it though, we discover options that were not obvious to us before. We find a way around the problem. We don’t always have to succumb to the will of authority figures. We don’t have to sacrifice ourselves in the process of fighting them.
On the topic of anger, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:
“It is time! As women, we have been limited as to what we can do, say, think, and feel. Some of us hate to admit it. Yet, deep down we know that there are many forces that limit our lives, forces over which we have little power. Only a person with no feelings and no awareness would not feel the smolder of anger, even rage, deep inside at times.
It seems that we, as women, have only had two options—to go along with the authorities and thus support them, or to fight them and thus support them. Either way we lose.
Fortunately, there is a third option. We can be ourselves. We can see what is important for us and do it. In order for us to exercise this third option, we may have to go through our anger first.”
Women who are angry are often made to feel irrational, crazy, unjustified in our anger. A man who is angry is powerful. A woman who is angry is just hormonal. Why are men allowed to own their anger while women are not? It is a natural response to get mad when someone tries to tell us how to live our lives, or when they attempt to control us in some way.
It seems women have been controlled by others for our entire history. This control comes in the form of laws and rules dictating what we can do with our bodies and the kind of treatment we can receive. We’re told by doctors we can’t be sterilized, because what if one day we might change our minds and want kids? Maybe we will feel differently when we meet the right person. What if our husbands want children? Society tells us what we can and can’t do in our careers, our personal lives, and even with our appearances. Things are improving, but plenty of women are still shamed today for the choices we make. In some countries, women are still not able to drive, vote, or even receive an education, let alone make their own decisions regarding reproduction and marriage. Until recently in the U.S., women could not open a line of credit or purchase a home without a spouse. It was legal for husbands to rape their wives because “marriage.” How could one not be angry about this?
There will always be an authority figure who tries to tell us what we can and cannot do. As my darling husband always likes to point out, we make our own rules in life. We don’t have to play by theirs. It’s also not always a matter of either going around or through. There are other ways. It starts first with feeling and processing our anger.