FBC ep3 Soraya Chemaly.mp3
8:27PM Jan 16, 2019
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Welcome back to the feminist book club podcast, a show for dangerous well read women. Each week we explore literature and media through a feminist lens as one small way to reclaim our time our books and our stories. Let's get started.
Renee powers here with another full episode of feminist book club the podcast thank you again for joining me and thank you to everyone who's rated and reviewed this new show and Apple podcast or elsewhere, including usernames and do 16 Jenny rotten and spider Parker 12 on iTunes. Your comments let Apple know and others that this show is worth being and listeners ears, and I so appreciate that.
This week I'm chatting with Soraya Shomali, author of the new book rage becomes her the power of women's anger. In addition to her career as a writer. We also chat about what it means to be angry how girls are socialized to suppress our anger and how only through anger can we truly know intimacy, connection and progress. I'm so honored to have had this opportunity to chat with Soraya and I hope you enjoyed the interview. Before we move on to that I wanted to draw your attention to read a THON that myself and the feminist book club will be participating in called 24 and 48. It's free to join and participants will be entered to win a variety of Giveaways including a three month subscription to the feminist book club box. Our February box features our book of the month a bottle of the Bloody Mary mix from today's sponsor fast Mary's plus parties straws and personal lubricant from last week's sponsor smitten kitten so yeah, it's a complete party and a box and probably my favorite month so far, let's just say we had to purchase bigger mailing boxes this month.
So if you're feeling lucky, sign up for 24 and 48 for a chance to win but if you prefer to seal the deal right now if you like a little more control in your life,
you can reserve your February box at feminist book club. com slash subscribe and use code podcast for a little discount from me to you. shipping on the feminist book club boxes is always free in the United States. And you can cancel anytime. So what do you have to lose? I spoke with two of the three hosts of the 24 and 48 redefine to learn a little bit more about what it is and how to participate. And I'm sharing that conversation next. Stay tuned after that, for my interview with Soraya Shomali, author of rage becomes her
I'm sitting down today with the organizers, two of the three organizers of 24 and 48, Kristin and Carrie, welcome both you ladies I will have you introduce yourself. So Kristin, tell us a little bit about you.
Hi, I am crystal coats, you can find me anywhere that you find people on the internet at Kristen L. coats. I have been doing this really fun for five or six years now. I started as a participant actually how I met Rachel or co host who's not here who introduced me to carry and then we came full circle and started doing it together about three or four years ago. And it really took off, carry over to you. Yeah, I am carrying McHugh, and I am on Twitter and Instagram, as carry a McHugh and Dame I started 2448 as a participant what, five or six years ago, Kristen, and Kristen and Rachel sort of recruited me to help out with some of the CO hosting was that two years ago, three years ago, time is fuzzy. So it's been a while. And the event just keeps growing. And we keep doing more. And the three of us are sort of like a super team. And I love it. I noticed that you have a new logo this year. And you're just like making moves. And there is so much happening with 24 and 48. So tell us, what is it for those of us not familiar with this, redefine what is 24 and 48. So the whole concept started around Rachel wanting to spend a weekend reading as like a marathon. But Rachel doesn't function without like nine or 10 hours of sleep. So she was like, how do I do this? Well, I will read for half the weekend has 24 and 48. And she just put out a call on Twitter and was like, Hey, does anyone want to do this? First of all times, there were like seven people something like that. And the past year that we've had we've been at about 1008, 50.
Does that sound right? Gary? Somewhere 1000 participants yet? But yeah, maybe the time this is the this is the time. Yeah, I mean, I think Kristen touched off on it. And the goal is to be for 24 hours out of a 48 hour time period. So just for clarification, if not to read 24 books, it's to read for 24 hours and not 24 hours straight either. No, not 24 hours straight. Either your co host really like sleeping and mapping and spending time with dogs. And you know, all of those things that come in between the reading sessions. Yeah, I mean, the goal is to is to read get quality reading time. And over the course of a weekend, it's locked out all other activities and make the time and space to pick up all those books that you've been meaning to read. Get a jumpstart on some of your reading goals, and get to know really cool other readers across the internet. I mean, Kristen, and Rachel and I met each other through this kind of stuff. And now we are in real life friends. So how do we get involved in so we're going to talk about how to sign up, but like, what does it mean to be involved? And how is it a community effort. So the easiest way to jumpstart your involvement is to find us on what ever social media platform that you use. So we're 24 and 48 on Instagram, I think we're 24 and 48 read us on on Twitter. Same thing on Facebook, we have a good reads profile. And we have a website that functions as like a blog where we update posts throughout the whole weekend. So you can follow what's going on, on the blog itself. If you're not into social media, you can follow us on social media if you are. So we'll be in your feed. But to interact with other people. We have a hashtag, which is just 24 and 48. And it sounds super basic. But you click on it and everyone who participates tags all of their shit with it all the time. So it's just like, you just go, you could scroll forever and see other people who are like, this is what I just read. Or here is the bread and cheese that I'm eating. Or here's my cat who's sleeping on my book. So I can't read right now checking in with other readers, how's it going? What's your cat's name? What should I read next, I am taking a break to sleep. But I'll be back at six o'clock. Does anyone want to deterministic like their own tons of things spring up all over the internet, and hashtag on their own, which was part of the whole idea around building this as a community effort. We just sort of facilitate everything. And the readers really take it upon themselves to talk to each other and find each other across the weekend on the website that Kristen mentioned, we do have, so we have our early posts, or we'll check in with updates. Some of those early posts are challenges. So you sort of aren't sure what to post in terms of content, or you don't have any ideas. Some of those challenges are photo based. Some of them are they can just be entries that are written in sort of what was the first book on your bookshelf or the book you remember most fondly from childhood or something along those lines. And I think having are participating in the challenges and then hopping around and seeing what other people are doing the state in the challenges is another really fun way to see the community and who else is out there, and who's doing this and how people are interpreting questions.
I love that. That sounds so much fun. And it really is a totally interactive weekend. And so even though you're like at home in your PJs and your sweatpants, drinking your tea or your wine or whatever, like you're still reading amongst friends, which is really cool. And last I looked I did check just the other day how many you had signed up at the moment and you had broken 1300 people? Do you have a more current number for
that we are I checked earlier today and we're about like 1020 away from 1400
I know we have about two weeks ago so fingers are super cross we just want to like hit that 2000 feels like the next big milestone for us.
It's an exciting one. And one way that you bring people in is through prizes. Is that right?
So many prizes would I will give you the rundown on so the best way that we get our prizes. And I say best because it's just amazing is all of these publishers and book boxes and book swag company and subscription boxes. Like your fabulous self partner with us and donate titles, whether it's backlist or a RCS they donate like out of print donates a lot of nuts and socks. Obvious state don't need to mention like Prince and mugs and things people who do subscription boxes like yourself usually will will throw something in there. And then we take what everyone has been so generous in donating. And we split it up as accurately as we can. So like a we have highs for all those challenges. We randomly pull winners. And then at the end, everyone who actually hits 24 hours is submitted to win a prize pack into some of the larger sort of more substantial things will package together like that, or like a band books prize pack in the past and we've done a We Need Diverse Books prize pack. So that's really cool is just from people who do managed to make it to the 24 hours and submit it. And we put that I think a couple days afterwards. And before we move on prizes. I do want to note that we have been working really, really hard to add a lot more international prizes because this really is like people participate from everywhere. So a lot of the International prizes will be like gift cards to Book Depository, or, you know, an indie of your choice in your area if we can get it online. And all of that is also donation based so people can donate directly to through our PayPal or this year. With our new logo. We started selling merch so you can buy t shirts and sweatshirts, tote bags, and meds and anything your bookish heart desires. And all the proceeds from that go to creating more international prizes are shipping costs for prizes that are donated because we self host self fund self run all the things so it's really publishers and writers who help us do everything that we do over the weekend.
Yeah, no, for sure. And feminist book club subscription box is giving away a three month subscription during the 24 and 48 redesign as well. How do you see yourself
and let's see what's happening the end of January. I'm just doing some quick like counting under math in my head. So the first box would be the February box. And that's probably our best, most exciting box yet. So let's just say it's a party and a box. It's a book it is personal lubricant. It is bloody mary mix and some party straws. So it is like a full on self love
experience. Honestly, probably the best prize we will ever give
description box that contains personal lubricant.
So make sure
you become a part of 24 and 48 to be eligible to win a February box because it's gonna be a badass box. How do we how do you
stay accountable? How do you say, Yes, I read 24 hours we get that question a lot. Usually people do a timer app on their phone, you sort of keep the timer running in the background. And they'll restarted every time they sit back down the book, we do encourage people to take screen grabs of that because timer apps are, you know, notoriously faulty, and they can stop basically, it's the honor system. You know, we trust people not to try to get prizes that they aren't eligible for. And so if you say that you read for 24 hours, we're going to take you at your word, but we do ask for some kind of backup group, whether that's you took notes in your bullet journal, or you ran a phone time or are you ready Peter timer? I think one year we had somebody who found a bookmark that had a timer in it that was designed for like little kids who were doing you know, they're 20 minutes of reading homework every day. And so she had taken a bunch of pictures of the bookmark and then added them all together in 24 hours. So I have no idea where you find that bookmark. But it looked really cool. Yeah, so any kind of time or anything
sweet. I realized that we haven't said when it is when this is all happening,
right? You just
January 26 and 27. Okay, you mean weeks to prepare, the official clock starts at midnight East Coast time on the Friday night, Saturday morning of January 26. Yeah, to do to think of it as 12 one. So when we like cross over into Saturday, that's the official dark, that's the primary time zone where we are and we schedule everything's like a post goes up on the site at our zero. And then there's a check in an hour three and a challenge on the hour and a check in at our nine and a challenge our 12. So all of that is just based on East Coast time. But if it's easier for you pending on where you are, you can base your 48 hour weekend window on your own time zone. You just have to use a converter to find out when the challenges are going to go up on the site. And we have people who participate all over the world in all different time zones. And some will follow whatever time it is in their time zone when it's midnight in our time zone. And some will start at midnight in their time zone and then adjust like Kristen said, and
lastly, what will you both be reading over this weekend?
Oh my god. So I have been putting my stock together. And we post our stocks online on social beforehand, and Carrie runs that. So she's like, give me a second. Give me a sec. I've already sent her one. But it's like 15 books long. And I've already changed it five times. So I have to update it. Tell me that I already drafted the post. Oh no, I definitely I don't have to change anything.
And I'm going to read every single one of those books this time around. I think what I'm most excited about is I'm going to read everything under by Daisy Johnson, which is supposed to be really weird and atmospheric and I'm here for it. I just picked up buttermilk, graffiti and the nonfiction section is about food and race and cultural interactions all over America. I've got a couple graphic novels I've got how to write a biographical essay by Alexandra and she in the running lots of romance because also pro tip that's the best way to get through the return on that is some quick hitter palate cleansers that you can just pick up and blaze through when nothing else is working
it's such a good tip Chris is
way ahead of me in terms of picking your stack I like I haven't gotten that far yet so I'm probably going to read the next more Christians you remember the title of it that Rachel recommended it's never more the trials of Morgan crow I actually started last night and I'm 100 pages and so it's not going to make it to next weekend for me I'm probably going to reread wedding just will never give which is an essay collection that Kristen and I have both read and loved. I have been contemplating Queen of the Night also allows energy so maybe I'll move that into this time. And then I have some Sarah McLean books that I haven't finished yet. But I'm I tend to end up with a stack of like 20 or 25 books because I'm exceptionally indecisive and I'm very much a mood reader so I will have far too many books in my file and I will probably read to them but to have choices
and I'll tell you why. So that the reader fun happens is happening during our January book club live chat. So I'll have to take an hour off to do are you know book discussion but I will probably be like that will probably be what I start with is the January book for our book club
so fresh. Exactly. We're reading women and madness by Phyllis Tesler. Which is kind of heavy to be honest. It's about women and mental illness. And you know, insane asylums and the history of like women and madness. Yeah, that sounds good, though. It's fantastic. It's just Whoo. there's a there's a very dense
a lot there.
Well, thank you so much for joining me today. And talking a little bit about 24 and 48. Again, 24 and 48. com sign up and you can sign up right until our zero is that correct?
Absolutely. We are you We love the mad dash like where we are on the spreadsheet from 11 to 12 Friday night like watching everyone last minute sign up. So if you want to take anxiety off our plate, so just sign up now
watching it Yeah,
yeah, just sign up now. Well, I will, I will leave a link in the show notes. It will be super easy to just pop on over there and sign up, take that anxiety off their plate. It's and make sure you join I will be posting under the feminist book club box Instagram account, probably in the stories but also I think on Twitter, which is feminist book club FM and S t book club feminist without the vowels, but just follow the hashtags, hashtag 24 and 48 and find some new book as friends. Thank you so much for donating for participating for having us. We're so excited. I'm so excited to be a part of it. I'd be reading everybody happy reading
I'm really looking forward to participating in this razon. I wasn't making that part up at all. I've blocked the weekend off my calendar, I'm beginning to compile my pile of books. I'm sifting through old books that I want to revisit. I think it's going to be great. I'm excited for it. Now let's shift gears as we speak with today's featured author.
Today I'm sitting down with Soraya Shomali. She's the author of the book rage becomes her the power of women's anger named the best book of 2018 are named a best book in 2018 by NPR, Washington Post and many others, including some of our favorite publications, auto straddle Psychology Today and bitch magazine. This book is about the ways that the social construction of emotion anger in particular affect women's personal professional and politically quality Somali is a prolific writer whose work focuses on the role of gender identity and culture, education and technology. She's also the director of the women's Media Center speech projects, which is an initiative devoted to expanding women's civic and political participation. I'm so excited to be talking with you today. Welcome sir Aya.
Thank you so much for having me Renee.
So before we get started, I have to ask What does feminism mean to you.
Feminism means to me the ability to imagine a world and then in which women have dignity and full humanity. That's really how I think of it like a world in which people who are feminine live a certain type of life that isn't still considered normal in our institutions can live that life really, and without penalty
that's so succinct, yet profound, how does that definition inform your work, then,
you know, it's funny, a lot of my writing when I step back, and I think about it comes from an awareness of how much of the world we live in, continues to be defined by these centuries of philosophy and science and history and political thought, and religious life that deny women, that humanity. And so we have all of these ideas and our culture and laws in our society and social mores that are so deeply patriarchal and decide domestic and that contribute to virtually every kind of dominance and oppression you can think of, right, all of the intersections that we're aware of, of class, and race and ethnicity, and you look at any of them. And it's just self evident that within any of those categories, women pay a high price for being women, we pay that price, because in the end, we're not men. And so a lot of the writing that I do ends up being about what that means in our daily lives, what it looks like to have this Andhra centrism in the law or white supremacy in the society. What does that mean? What what how do we have to adapt to that constantly? And why are we fed up with doing it,
you know, it's exhausting. It's really exhausting to us. And I think we're seeing in the political changes of the last, you know, 510 years what it means to have women get angry about it. And the backlash means we end up with a president like our current president. Yeah, I mean, this this is this is a global backlash. I think, in country after country where we see the rise of authoritarianism and fascist tendencies. We see, first and foremost that the most marginalized people are attacked first, and that's ignored. Those people usually tend to be women or trans women, sexual minorities, people who just are considered quote unquote deviant because they don't follow the rules and the rules that prop up this very corrupt status quo. And so yes, we end up with President Elect Trump. Mm hmm.
I want to shift gears really quick Tell me about your experience writing How did you come to writing and how when did you start and how have you built this fairly prolific not just barely, actually, prolific writer,
you know, I, I have always written even as a child, I wrote a lot just for fun. And then in college, I started a feminist magazine at Georgetown University, mainly because it was pretty clear to me by the time I was a junior, that there was no tradition of women's public voices in the school, not in the institutions that students ran, certainly not in the institution itself, because it's a Jesuit institution. It's a Catholic institution. So women can't hold positions of power, really. And so I started then I left college and I, when I was a writer for several years, and an editor, but then I went into the business side of media and tech for many years as a consultant. And then in 2010, I just felt like, I looked around and thought, My God, we're going backwards. We're going backwards here. And I started writing full time again, freelance, dancing, writing exclusively about gender, women's rights, all of these issues that that we're talking about. And so I've done that for eight years now, and ended up writing this book last year.
And what inspired this book? Is there a moment or was it just a culmination of bullshit that we've been experiencing
was interesting. I think that I've been writing a book proposal for several years, and then putting it aside, and they never seem to be time and there never seemed to be the right proposal in my mind. But after the election, and the build up to the election, it really crystallized for me. And actually, my agent saw my proposal. And she said, You know, every time you write with anger, or about anger, it really resonates. And I had been thinking the same thing. I've been thinking, you know, what's so palpable in the air is anger. And so to use anger as a filter for looking at the status of women in society, just seeing to be the thing to do. And, and that's why I wrote it.
And what is significant about women's anger that isn't as obvious, I suppose, is men who get to perform anger, what is it about women's anger that's different.
What I find fascinating is the response I've been hearing, which is that, well, of course, everybody gets angry, you know, and also men are punished for being angry. And in fact, that's not true. Study, after study after study for decades, has shown that that is not true. And that we still live in a world in which the social construction of this emotion dictates whether we gain power or lose power if we exhibit it. And also shows the degree to which even being called angry for some people is damaging and dangerous, right. So if you're a black man in American society, being seen as angry in danger dangers you right? If you're a black woman, you don't have to even do anything to be considered angry, right? If you're a white woman, if you display extreme anger, you're dismissed as a crazy person, you know. And so we have all of these stereotypes. And, like most stereotypes, they are reductionist, and they're used to silence people. And so I think what was interesting to me certainly was finding the research that really demonstrated repeatedly that women report feeling anger, more often, they report feeling it in more sustained ways, and with more intensity. And some of that may come from the way we're socialized both to acknowledge our emotions more openly than men, but also comes from the socialization that insists we ruminate that we don't share it that we mull it over, and we keep it to ourselves. And if you don't actually make meaning of that anger in a way that makes change, it becomes something more material in your body, right? It really hurts you, it hurts your mental health, it hurts your physical health. And that is really striking to me too, because so much of the illnesses that get waved away as women's illnesses have this quality of suppressed or poorly managed anger underlying them. Can you give me some examples of that? Sure. So, you know, this isn't necessarily I don't want to imply that it's caused a lot, but, but I do want to explain that these are really entwined in meaningful ways.
But the suppression of anger has been implicated in eating disorders, anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular illnesses, studies show that, you know, poorly managed anger, like if you have an angry outburst, really bad, you know, explosion about anger, which is also not healthy, that's not a good way to, to live with anger, you're much more likely to have a cardiovascular incident, for example. And so there's a study after study after study that shows this connection between physical health and emotional regulation in the Western world. In particular, because we live with this constant binary dualism in the way we think of everything, the separation of mind, and body is just part of our medical approach. And if you don't take into consideration people's minds and their feelings, you can actually probably ultimately treat their bodies as well as you could otherwise.
That is fascinating. I hadn't really thought of it that way. But all of those medical conditions that you mentioned, so many of those are most often seen in women as well are
very high rates. Uh
huh. And so it's interesting that we're tamping down this anger and what bubbles up then are these physical and emotional responses that seemingly don't have much to do right, with our anger on the outside. But when we channel and let out that anger, possibly it could, it could heal us in a lot of ways. So how do we
how do we channel that anger? How do we make that anger productive, instead of tamping it down like we've been socialized to do for so many generations?
Yeah, I mean, it's, I think it's really hard. We have to unlearn so many lessons. And we also have to be comfortable challenging a lot of expectations. So the expectation that we'd be likable, that we'd be pleasing, that we care all the time that we'd be nurturing, that we'd be responsible for other people's emotional well being, all of those affect our ability to care deliberately, and to care for ourselves while we do it, right. And so I think that we need to, not just as women and girls become comfortable with discomfort, but also hold other people accountable for the same thing, right. And we have to hold institutions accountable. When we, when we are angry, it's not irrational, most of the time, people get angry for good reason. And so being able to say, I'm angry actually is fundamental to having true intimacy to having a gala Terry and relationships to have a mutual respect with people in your community mean if you live in a relationship, or in a community in which you don't feel free to express what's important to you, which is what an expression of anger is, then you are not in a society ultimately, that values you. And this is a big point of why I wrote the book. I mean, I think the risk and anger isn't that we're going to break relationships, it's that we really find out how much or how little the people around us care.
And that's really hard right to take that,
wow, that's a bomb
put so true.
It's hard. I mean, it's hard, because you have to say, Well, this is what's making me angry. And this is what I think needs to change. And the people around you are either going to say, Okay, I'm sorry, let's do something. Or they're, they're going to say, Well, no.
And then you have to make a decision, right? Because what does that know mean? Mm hmm.
It seems to. So anger and compassion walk hand in hand.
I agree with you. I mean, I think that so much of the negative perceptions that we learn to have about anger are because we focus on the contempt and the fear and the discussed that anger is also related to. I mean, we see that in reactionary politics, right. We see it in authoritarianism, which is fueled by fear and anger and contempt. But it's equally valid as us say, to link anger, to compassion and empathy. It's the fuel of social justice, it's got all of these positive aspects as well. And I'm just saying, we need to respect those equally,
it's a fuel for change.
It really is. Anger is really social, it demands that something happened, it's not resignation and it's different from resentment. There is an anger of resentment, which is the clinging to something that's lost, you know, or that you feel has been taken. But there's also this anger of hope
that's really interesting to me, that resentment is something the anger of something that's lost, and is this kind of productive rage that you are espousing in this book is more about fuel for change. And so what I see is this political climate that we're in right were privileged white guys are resentful but they might be losing some of their rights which know we're just lifting up the marginalized people to those rights but they feel kind of threatened by these right um, identity politics, as they might say, right? We're as
a deep irony, like, the irony of that is, you can never get over that.
But we're also seeing on the other hand, this anger being super productive in you know, one of the most diverse Congress's being sworn in that we have ever seen, you know, and as somebody in Ilhan Omar's congressional district like that is so huge here in Minneapolis, that we're so excited to have somebody that is, I mean, fighting the good fight, and actually being angry and giving voice to angry people and in her
district. That's right. And also, I mean, you can really see in the election of this Congress, and it's very diverse group of representatives that I mean, the most diverse we've ever had, you can see the joy and the creativity that anger brings communities to, right. I mean, there's no separating the anger from the joy and creativity know, separating the anger from the drive and the and the ambition, those are all wrapped up together. And they should be recognized as such. Talk a little
bit about your approach to the book, and how do you make anger and these really charged topics more accessible or more
nice. That's the word that's coming to mind is like, how, how are you trying to be nice about this, I'd like to the bottom line is like, Fuck, nice. We shouldn't be nice. But yeah,
I think the point to me of writing is to share information that might be valuable, I'm a little cynical, I do believe that it's very hard to change people's minds. But I also believe that we've lost a sense of shared reality. Because of the way media has developed, it was possible at one time to pretend we had a shared reality. And in fact, it wasn't real either. Because as is still the case, marginalized people, they exist on various levels, right? They have lots of different types of realities that they're juggling and managing all the time depending on context. And one of the advantages of being powerful as you don't have to do that,
to assert that your subjectivity is objective reality. And so in writing, I try and poke a hole in that idea and to say, Well, you know, if indeed you believe in objectivity if indeed, you're thinking that this is a rational response you're having, why don't we look at what that means? What are the cognitive biases? What does research show us? What does science say? How does that jive with our personal experiences? And I've always been hugely grateful for the work that academics do, but the work that academics do often stays relegated to academic spaces. So the number one thing for me when I started writing was to say, how, how can I take this wonderful academic work that's being done this feminist scholarship that I read, and that I benefit from reading? And how can I translate it into writing that's more sort of palatable for people who might never find it who don't identify with feminism or would never take a gender studies class or don't have the luxury of either of those things, right? How can you translate it so that it becomes relevant to people's day to day lives to the schools that they're there in where their children are in or to the workplaces that they're struggling in? And so how can you take the stories and the research and the theory and the analysis and put it together in a way that makes it compelling? What is what I tried to do with the book
and I think you've done a brilliant job. And I want to read a little passage from the book about the reason why I hesitated to use the word nice and you use and I think that's a much better word, but you you write like many women, I'm still constantly being reminded that it's better if women didn't quote seem so angry. But what is better mean exactly? Why does it feel so disproportionately on the shoulders of women to be better by putting aside anger in order to understand and to forgive and to forget doesn't make us good people is it healthy does enable us to protect our interests bring change to struggling communities or up into failing systems and unqualified know tell me a little bit about the sense of being why we need to throw out this good girl tendency to be better to be palatable, to be likable and the connection to anger there
Well, I mean, I think that there's so much really good writing on this idea of the good girl right and and on likability, but I actually don't think enough can be said about it, because it's still clear that in child socialization, girls are expected to please others first to put others first, I think one of the studies that I cite pretty much documented that girls are asked to use their nice voices three times more often in schools and boys are well, they're told to smile and say, Thank you far more often than boys are, even if smiling and saying thank you, is the exact opposite of the way they're feeling, right? And so the socialization that we engage in when we teach girls to be feminine, actually cultivates a detachment from the self. It cultivates a detachment from one's own feelings or desires or even one's awareness of risk or threat. And that's dangerous. Right. The problem with expecting this likeability and prioritizing the perspective of others over the perspective of self is that you can't defend yourself, you can't stand up for yourself, you can't recognize yourself in the society as important because you're taught to be secondary to be ancillary. And that's not good for anyone. It's not good for girls, it's definitely not good for boys is to see this happening to learn, in fact, that even if they, for example, learn to provide and protect, they are in fact central to the people around them. And I just think these gender stereotypes, these binary gender stereotypes are so often harmful and destructive, they're unhealthy and they they end up endangering people.
It's important here to also acknowledge that putting the self first is not selfish, right? And tending to your own needs, your own anger your own emotions is not a selfish act. And I'm reminded of Audrey lords, quote, caring for myself is not self indulgence it's self preservation and that is an active political warfare I think she's right in with us from sister outside
know it's a series of essays
letter she wrote a letter on anger.
Yeah, okay. And so taking care of ourselves becomes this radical act because it allows us to then take care of other people's we're not putting from an empty Well, we're not showing up to fight for social justice empty because we can't do it empty.
Yeah, I mean, I think what's interesting to me is that prioritization of others is particularly acute in heterosexual marriage. Yes, men and heterosexual marriages tend to think that when their spouses express anger, that their spouses are being selfish self and self centered, women in those relationships overwhelmingly report that instead of expressing anger because they fear a response it's negative or retaliation which is not healthy, right? It's not the basis of a healthy relationship, they will instead show the more prototypical Lee feminine expected feminine emotions such as sadness or fear. And if you think about that dynamic, the flip side for men is that they don't show sadness or fear. That's not good either, right? So you, you end up with these rigid gender ideals inhibiting people's ability to have intimacy or to have it at a gala Terry and relationship
or just to emote on a grand scale of all of the, you know, ways that the human body and human psyche can remote, right,
just just to be actually, as you say, fully human feelings and expression.
Yeah, right. So we're running out of time, I have two more questions. The first is, what do we do with this? What do we do with our rage? What do we do with healthy anger? How do we express it in the most productive way possible?
A lot of that has to do with context, right? At the end of the book, I talk about steps people can take to what I think of is developing competence, like an emotional competence, and one is just to assess your own way of doing things like take an audit of yourself, how do I deal with this emotion? What do I recognize it in myself on my quick to anger? Do I get sort of this pent up fury that then explodes? Do I punch down because I can't punch up like what what is my emotional character like? Because if you can evaluate that, then you can say, Okay, well, this is what I'm like, this is how I would like to manage this. I would like to use the anger that I have more productively to make this change. If I'm unhappy at work. What is my anger telling me? I mean, it may be that you're in a workplace that no matter what happens, you're going to be miserable. So the plan out of your anger, is that a strategy to find a way to change that job. So the other thing Audrey Lord said, of course, is that there's information and anger and a lot of people and ignoring the the anger or ignoring the information, that information is vitally important. And what I find interesting is that I think a lot of the time, femininity and being socialized to be feminine means that we as girls, and women don't trust ourselves as authorities in our own lives. We don't trust our own experiences, and we don't trust the information that we have. And that's honestly because so often we're told to distrust our anger, we're told to set it aside to think of it as bad or destructive. But the anger is, has all this information. It has all of this expertise that has all this experience, and we should respect it in ourselves, and we should respect it and other women.
Amen. With that,
I have to ask, what is a book I asked everybody, what is a book that you would recommend that we read? That's not your own?
So honestly, I should just several books.
So the I mean, I've had really wonderful conversations with both Brittney Cooper and Rebecca trace, right,
those are going to be the two that I would suggest that the end of this anyways,
funny to me, because we all three wrote these books separately independently. They're very, very different from one another, they actually complement each other in the funniest way is
I think of them as the angry type trifecta. It's perfect syllabus.
Yeah, they are really like it was really striking to me. And we had a wonderful conversation than a month ago. But the other those books I would highly recommend to. And
so just to name them. It's eloquent
rage. Brittney Cooper and Rebecca tracers good and mad. Yes, I will say, though, that I love not. I love fiction, and I love Naomi alderman the power. Oh, so it's it's a really simple story. It's really straightforward. It's short. It's so imaginative. And it captures in a fictional account so much of what we're writing about, and it was just an it was just a good read and enjoyable read.
So I feel like you need to be a member of our book club because that was one of our reads, and Brittany Cooper's book was actually the runner up for our February book. So we're actually reading dispatches, from the war on feminism by Lauren McKeon. But it was a very, very close race between that
so well, thank you so much for joining me today. I'm really excited to share this conversation. I think it's an incredibly important and your expertise is so so welcome.
Oh, thank you so much for having me. And I'm just delighted to know about your book club.
Oh, thank you.
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