I. AM. TIRED. I am tired of societal norms forcing girls to fit into a mold that wasn’t realistically designed. A mold that was made for us to feel inadequate, a mold that shouldn’t exist. I’ve given a lot of thoughts lately about anger and how it’s portrayed in YA.
Anger : noun : a strong feeling of displeasure and belligerence aroused by a wrong ; wrath ; ire.
Getting into reading allowed me to understand I was far from being alone in my anger. I read about characters who faced problems after problems, who fell, got up again and kept going. I read about characters who stopped trying. I realized that my anger was valid. And so is yours.
Why Portraying Angry Female Characters Is Important :
I didn’t see myself until I read The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon and read about Natasha. She said : “Psychiatrists tell you not to bottle up your feelings because they’ll eventually explode. They’re not wrong. I’ve been angry for months. It feels like I’ve been angry since the beginning of time.”
Female characters didn’t hold any appeal if they were angry. Society’s double standards didn’t allow girls to be angry without labelling them as hysterical or unstable. Girls and women weren’t allowed to be angry to the same degree men were. Still aren’t to this day.
Reading about angry female characters made me feel valid and as horrible as it is that I had to read about it in order to feel that way, that’s what it did for me. From Natasha (The Sun Is Also A Star) to Eleven (Stranger Things), I understood I could be angry.
Being Aware of One’s Privilege :
Reading has broadened my horizons because it educated me. Behind every book, there’s an experience, a thing or several things that happened to you, and you harness that energy from what you felt, and you put that in a book. I only understood that my anger (as in the anger that is mine, the self I am) and your anger (as in the other’s anger, the self that I’m not) don’t benefit from the same treatment. While I can be angry to a degree, there are some women who can’t, women who will be treated with unspeakable disdain for expressing their pain and rage.
Female rage is valid. Don’t silence other women who feel angry with sarcastic comments and questions like “Are you on your period?”. Women, some more than others, know about the weight of silence, about how sometimes we wish we could scream, scream until we broke or until our heart gave out. Women know about shutting up, about being afraid to speak up, about letting the Egotistical Macho Men ™ walk over us because it feels like if we said anything, we’d be looked down upon. I can only speak through my experiences and the ones I’ve witnessed.
I want to keep reading about female characters being angry and proud and daring and ambitious because it’s real, because the women I look up to are like that. I want to keep reading because it helps me deal with the hard truths and it gives me courage.
Below, I’m going to link articles I read about female anger in literature (YA or not) :
- Kelly Jensen @ Bookriot
- Elizabeth Skoski @ Electric Lit
- Jill Andreasen @ Ingram
- E. CE Miller @ Bustle
What do you think ? Tell me below !