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Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger…

Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger (edition 2018)

by Soraya Chemaly (Author)

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1185155,289 (4.21)1
Title:Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger
Authors:Soraya Chemaly (Author)
Info:Atria Books (2018), 416 pages
Collections:Your library

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Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger by Soraya Chemaly



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Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review.

9/26/18 - I'll write a more thorough review later, but my first thought is...wow. I won't lie, I started this book with trepidation. When I get angry, I cry. I actively avoid any and all confrontation. I've even been known to walk out of a room when an argument erupts, even if I'm not personally contributing to it. You get the picture.

I was blown away by Rage Becomes Her. The blood, sweat, and tears that Chemaly placed in this work is astounding. Her knowledge and passion are remarkable. Her words invoked in me the desire to reflect on every righteously angry moment I've ever had and to absolve myself of the guilt I didn't even realize I was feeling.

Thank you, Soraya Chemaly. Thank you for reminding me that my anger matters. Women (and men) of the world, please read this book and take it seriously. I promise you'll be a better person for it. ( )
  Codonnelly | Jun 24, 2019 |
Full review soon! What a great book to finish as we enter 2019!
  roniweb | May 30, 2019 |
Rage Becomes Her is at once the worst and best book to have started in the midst of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. I was already enraged and this book has so much more to make me angry, but it also puts it into context. Of course, the best thing Soraya Chemaly does with Rage Becomes Her is encouraging us to see our anger as healthy.

Chemaly begins by reclaiming anger. Women are supposed to be sad, not angry. We are not supposed to have the power of anger. Anger is a demand, sorrow is acceptance. Then she spends several chapters reminding us why we should be angry, from pay differentials, the women tax, sexual assault, health care inequities, and the flat-out misogyny that impinges so much on our lives. I would read a bit and then have to get up and chop onions VERY HARD or take a short walk just to walk off some of the anger so I could read some more.

It’s not that I didn’t know a lot of this, but concentrating it is an intense experience. However, Chemaly does us the service of ending with a chapter on turning our anger into more than a fiery furnace so that it is instead, the optimistic demand for justice that righteous anger can be.

It took me far longer than usual to read Rage Becomes Her. This is not because this is not a good book, it’s because it is so very intense. Seriously, if you could measure injustice per column-inch, this book is near the saturation point. In spite of bringing all the scholarly receipts, Rage Becomes Her is a very readable narrative. Chemaly brings herself and her family into the narrative, telling of seeing her mother’s evident, but unexpressed rage and finding herself falling into the trap of perpetuating the ‘good girl” socialization with her own daughter who was being bullied. This kind of honest self-reflection reifies many of the broader themes.

This is not a happy book and it will make you angry, but you should read it anyway. We really need to see the bigger picture. We really do need our anger and we need to employ that anger to make the world less unfair and better for women, not just for us, but for the next generations.

I received a copy of Rage Becomes Her from the publisher through NetGalley.

Rage Becomes Her from Atria Books
Soraya Chemaly at Women’s Media Center

https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpress.com/2018/10/15/rage-becomes-her-by-soray... ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Oct 15, 2018 |
This seemed like an extraordinarily fitting read given events of the past few weeks so this seemed like a timely read. It helped that I managed to snag a copy from the library sooner rather than later so it seemed like the right read for the right moment. The subtitle of "The Power of Women's Anger" made me think that this would be a good read for what women can do now and how it can be harnessed to create change.

Unfortunately that's not it. The book instead is a good look at the what rage is and how and why emotions are gendered, why unfortunate stereotypes like the "angry black woman" or "spicy Latina," exist and why a white man can yell and interrupt on national TV while a woman is called "too emotional." And so forth. Chemaly does a great job in backing this up with statistics as well as anecdotal stories from personal experience.

Like what others said: I didn't really need validation to confirm what I've already seen or know or to see this repeated to me. There was useful information and it was nice to see some things I've thought about (but could not put into words) done by Chemaly here. But sometimes the text does seem to go off in a little bit and it's only in the last chapter does Chemaly dedicate concrete actions and steps to take.

That is what I thought the book was going to be about and what I thought I was going to read, given the discussion of "power" in the subtitle. Certainly naming and defining a thing has power in itself but this would have been more helpful of a book when I was younger or maybe closer to the election. Otherwise there wasn't anything really "new" to me, here.

Which is not to say the author doesn't have good work or research here or that this wouldn't work for someone else. I think if news has made you think about anger and how different emotions are considered acceptable to be expressed by one group but not another, this might be a good read to help validate and teach.

So it definitely wasn't for me and I do think the book was mis-marketed and the subtitle is not quite correct. But it will likely have merit for someone else. Borrowed from the library and that was best for me. ( )
  acciolibros | Oct 14, 2018 |
Anger is a Gift

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for discussions of sexism and misogyny, including sexual assault.)

“Ask yourself, why would a society deny girls and women, from cradle to grave, the right to feel, express, and leverage anger and be respected when we do? Anger has a bad rap, but it is actually one of the most hopeful and forward thinking of all of our emotions. It begets transformation, manifesting our passion and keeping us invested in the world. It is a rational and emotional response to trespass, violation, and moral disorder. It bridges the divide between what ‘is and what ‘ought’ to be, between a difficult past and an improved possibility. Anger warns us viscerally of violation, threat, and insult. By effectively severing anger from ‘good womanhood,’ we choose to sever girls and women from the emotion that best protects us against danger and injustice.”

“Anger is usually about saying ‘no’ in a world where women are conditioned to say almost anything but “’no.’”

“Because the truth is that anger isn’t what gets in our way—it is our way. All we have to do is own it.”

-- 3.5 stars --

After nearly ten years of marriage, and more than fifteen years together, my husband suddenly and unexpectedly passed away last year - leaving me a widow at the ripe old age of thirty-eight. The grief and shock quickly gave way to anger; in the process of reconciling his estate, I discovered secrets he'd been hiding from me. These were like a steady drip-drip-drip of awfulness that continued to pummel me in the weeks and months following his death.

My aunt - one of the relatives who came out for an extended stay as part of "Kelly Duty," and who had a front seat to the dumpster fire that my life had become - said something that will always stick with me, and not in a good way. She was reading some paranormal/urban fantasy book at the time, and apparently the MC was not a fan of anger. She proceeded to give me this long speech about how anger poisons you from the inside out, and the only way to move on is through forgiveness. I'm sure she meant well, but the whole thing came off as insensitive, clueless, even manipulative. (I'm already feeling powerless, like I have zero control over anything in my life; now I don't even get to decide how I feel about things?) I was still in the thick of things then, with bad news coming at me on the daily. Even a year and a half on, I am absolutely seething with anger.

Anyway, I didn't know quite how to answer her at the time - probably I didn't even have the energy for a rebuttal, and just let it go - but today, I am highly tempted to send her a copy of Soraya Chemaly's book (possibly in conjunction with Mark Oshiro's Anger Is a Gift, from which I borrowed the title for this review). Except I can't hardly afford it, which is the source of some of my anger. This isn't unusual, either, as I've learned from reading Rage Becomes Her: poverty, powerlessness, and a lack of authority are all associated with unexpressed anger. My continued rumination? Also par for the course.

Rage Becomes Her is an interesting mix. Chemaly both explores the sources of women's anger (rape culture, the wage gap, the caring mandate, unpaid/undervalued care work - described as "the single greatest wealth transfer in today’s global economy" - sexualization and objectification, discrimination against pregnant or potentially pregnant women, the denial of women's physical pain, etc. etc. etc., so on and so forth), as well as the effects that unexpressed anger can have on a body, a psyche, a relationship, and a society (depression, anxiety, heart failure, physical pain, abuse, divorce, inequality, authoritarianism).

In some ways, this reads a lot like Everyday Sexism, and similar books that catalog, interrogate, and challenge sexism and misogyny in modern culture. (In fact, Laura Bates and the Everyday Sexism Project do get a shout-out here. If you do any amount of feminist reading online, no doubt you'll recognize some of the activists mentioned in this book.) However, there's an added dimension that makes Rage Becomes Her unique: anger. In contrast to a lifetime's worth of social conditioning that teaches girls to smile and be nice, Chemaly encourages women and girls to acknowledge and embrace our anger, harnessing it in a constructive way, as a tool of social change.

At least this is what Chemaly seems to be going for. I would've like to have seen more information on anger itself - examples of how activists have channeled it for positive change, for example - and less background information, for lack of a better word, on why women should be angry in the first place. Let's face it: most of the folks picking up a book provocatively titled Rage Becomes Her probably have a good enough grasp of feminism 101, right? (But I do really appreciate her emphasis on intersectionality, which is something all of us could use a continued refresher in.)

Of course, as Chemaly herself points out, there's a dearth of research on the mediating effects of gender (and race and class) on emotions, particularly anger (not to be confused with assertiveness and aggression, which are behaviors) - so that book might be difficult to write, at least at this point in time. As it is, Rage Becomes Her is a good enough place to start.

Fwiw, I read this book as an ARC. While I assume that it was thoroughly researched - as evidenced by a bibliography that comprises 21% of the Kindle file - the review copy did not contain footnotes, or even a suggestion of where they might go. This threw me for a loop since I'm the kind of dork that reads those things. I'm trying not to hold it against the finished copy, but it's a struggle.

http://www.easyvegan.info/2018/09/11/rage-becomes-her-by-soraya-chemaly/ ( )
  smiteme | Jul 15, 2018 |
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"Encourages women to own their anger and use it as a tool for positive change"--

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