Why I’m Angry

tw: sexual abuse, transphobia, suicide

I am an angry feminist. I make no secret of this. However, in talking with the other bloggers, I’ve learned that even amongst various feminist circles, the term has some extremely negative connotations. So I figured I’d use this week’s post to clear up what I mean when I use the title.

Let me just say that my particular brand of anger isn’t the “hulk smash” kind, nor is it the “I WILL SEEK VIOLENT REVENGE” kind. It’s the “This is wrong, so very wrong, and it needs to change. It’s not changing, and I can only do so much to help fix that,” kind of anger.

And let’s be real. There’s a lot to be angry about. So here’s my list. Here’s why I’m angry.

I’m angry because Leelah Alcorn is dead, and her parents still refuse to call her by her name and pronouns.

I’m angry because I still have flashbacks to sexual abuse that could have been prevented if my abuser and I had been a little more educated on consent.

I’m angry because abusive relationships are starting to seem like a rite of passage.

I’m angry because neither my little brother nor my grandfather understands or respects the words “no” and “stop.”

I’m angry because the wage gap exists.

I’m angry because yesterday I had to take time out of a therapy session I can’t afford to teach my therapist about the different kinds of attraction.

I’m angry because the health center at Randolph gives out free condoms, but not free lube, or even better, free lubricated condoms.

I’m angry because pads and tampons cost money. I’m also angry that people insist on referring to them as “feminine supplies.”

I’m angry because my mother does not think she’s pretty, and because she thinks my efforts to improve my own self esteem are made explicitly to embarrass her.

I’m angry about so many things, but I’m running out of room for this post, so here are my final thoughts:

I’m angry. If you’re not, then I think maybe you’re not paying attention. Come be angry with me, get royally pissed off, and then let’s do something. Maybe we can change the world.

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12 thoughts on “Why I’m Angry

  1. Thanks for finally bringing up the counseling center. It’s totally inadequate, honestly. I’ve wanted to make suggestions on ways to make the counseling center better numerous times but the director of the counseling center doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would take constructive criticism as anything other than slander. But my opinion is, we just straight up need better counselors. And campus-wide we need better sex education focusing heavily on consent, because the amount of sexual abuse on the campus has proven that consent and respect are things that students do not understand, or choose to overlook.
    (sits back and waits for misogynists to roast me in the comments)

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  2. So you are angry about a misleading statistic, in reference to the wage gap, that has already been explained on another post on this blog? The numbers you link are purely raw dollars earned and to not take into account the job, the hours worked, or the time spent with the company(yearly raises). Talking about the wage gap with poor data is either beating a dead horse or attempting to further an agenda hoping that readers will not do their own research.

    In the post you simultaneously complain about the free condoms the health center offers but then also ask for tampons and pads to be free.

    First to address your problem with the condoms, THEY ARE FUCKING FREE. You pay $0.00 for as many as you want to stuff in a bag until the health center ladies glare at you. Yes they are Lifestyles and they suck but again they are free and will keep you from impregnating someone(most likely). With respect to lube, in my experience it is only needed occasionally(particularly if it is a quickie or a really long session) but for the most part as long as one puts a little effort into foreplay it isn’t really necessary. I think some people can be allergic to certain lubricants as well so offering just plain condoms makes them accessible to more people, also think of all the lube you can buy with the money saved with FREE CONDOMS!

    Now then onto the pads/tampons. Despite many other living necessities not being free(food, water, shelter) if a free hygiene product(what do you want them called, blood sponges??) was to be offered what would it be? Should it be pads since not everyone likes tampons? Should they be just panty liners for emergencies or full blown winged pads for the heaviest of days? If tampons were to be offered there are many types and varieties as well so what should be the free default? Maybe a group could give out free diva cups since they are actually reusable?

    You state that if one is not angry they are not paying attention. The inflammatory headlines always get more readership and quite often if you look close enough it is blowing up something that should be a non issue. Rather than being reactionary, staying calm and doing some research first can lead to a more informed(and calmer) life.

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    • I appreciate your comment here. Due to some mental health things, I haven’t been on the blog much lately, so I haven’t seen the article you referenced that talks about the wage gap. I’ll definitely look into that; I thought I had done my research but if I have been misinformed by the variety of resources I have found which say that the wage gap does in fact exist, even in cases where the women and men involved are working at the same job and have roughly the same credentials, I would be more than willing to spread information on that. I would also be less angry if that were the case.

      On the subject of condoms, I feel the need to mention that I have never actually used the Health Center condoms, as I’ve never had penetrative vaginal sex, and am merely going by what I have heard other people complaining about. I’ve heard a few people complaining about how uncomfortable they are and how often they tear, and that’s why I brought up the possibility of offering free lube as well. In addition, I think one of the things you might be missing is that some people do not have the money for safe sex. Yes, the free condoms are good, but they haven’t “saved money,” by using them; they didn’t have the money to spend on them in the first place. Now, I’m not saying that that’s the reality for all Randolph students; just that it is a circumstance that a lot of poor people find themselves in.

      Finally, onto the blood sponges (I actually like that term and think I will use it in my daily life from now on). I completely acknowledge that other necessities in life are not free, but then again, I am of the opinion that they should be. That said, blood sponges are more than just a “hygiene product.” If a person with a vagina cannot afford soap, their hands will be dirtier and they might get sick more often. If they cannot afford toothpaste, they can make do with a good scrubbing of the teeth and borrowing mint gum off people on public transportation. If they cannot afford blood sponges, they will spend a week out of every month with bloody chunks of uterine lining as well as a steady stream of blood staining their clothing and covering their legs. Their clothing will be forever bloodstained, and they will get blood on anything they sit or lie on (this included chairs, public transportation, their own bed, the ground, etc.) So yes, I think blood sponges should be free. I think blood sponges of all varieties should be free. I think diva cups should be free. People should not have to pay for the right not to bleed on everything.

      Now that I’ve covered the points you brought up, I’d like to reiterate that my anger isn’t something that’s just sitting here and simmering. It’s something I’m using to try to change things, to make the world a better place. If you need to be calm in order to push for positive change, I completely respect that. Me? I write better when I’m angry.

      Thank you again for commenting. It is appreciated.

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  3. Pingback: Women are still not equal – REALLY! | randolph riot

  4. “I’m angry. If you’re not, then I think maybe you’re not paying attention. Come be angry with me, get royally pissed off, and then let’s do something. Maybe we can change the world.”

    I completely disagree. Anger can be blinding. It’s one thing to get upset/angry when you initially hear something (like of Leelah’s death, for instance), but to have anger as your driving force can quickly and easily lead to irrationality. We should not be ruled by emotions, but rather by logic and rationality.

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    • Hi jhoffman – please see the recent post on women’s lack of equality: I’ve suggested some new and interesting ways of looking at/thinking about anger (by way of Martha Nussbaum) that might offer an alternative to your claim that anger can be blinding – it can also be transformational! If you’ve studied rhetoric, you know that pathos (or appeal to emotions) is one of the most persuasive methods of connecting with your audience and moving them to action – can’t argue with Aristotle!

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      • I never claimed that anger was not an effective motivator, or that anger was not a good methodology for persuading people. Something being motivating or persuasive does not automatically make it the best option, nor does it in any way make it rational, logical, or objective. By all means, get as much support as you would like via shared outrage and emotional appeal, but I will continue to avoid such an approach, as I find it unnecessary and – to be honest – underhanded. People do not think straight when they are angry.

        If a person cannot objectively see the merits of my position without being first overwhelmed by emotions then I probably do not have as many merits to my position as I initially thought.

        I can once more bring this back to the death of Leelah Alcorn, as even once the initial wave of emotions settles, one can hardly deny that her death was unjust and that the situation necessitates further examination and societal discussion. This is not to say that anger, mourning, and outrage are not acceptable reactions, but I would never comfortably allow them to be the key, driving motivators behind my actions. Decisions born of rage often escalate a situation to places that it does not need to go, such as those who sent death threats to Alcorn’s parents. Did those individuals actually intend to kill anyone? Surely not, but in a moment of rage and indignation they were led to threaten people that they did not know, that they had not met, and that they would not meet. Had they waited until their anger passed and had they let themselves think through the situation more rationally, they would have seen that such actions were not the way to accomplish their goals (or, really, any goals, for that matter).

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      • I can definitely appreciate where you’re coming from. I tend to be more motivated by my emotions than logic on any given day, and I suppose that’s where I’m coming from on this. But I’m glad to have learned about your perspective!

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    • Thank you for commenting.

      I find it interesting that you think anger cannot coexist with logic and rationality. I completely agree that some anger can be blinding, and that some anger can lead to irrationality, but I don’t think great social change has ever come about without decently sized groups of people getting angry and doing something about it. I think if anger is channeled properly, it can be a great motivating force.

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