I am not a grief counselor or claim any sort of professional understanding of grief. My experience with grief is just that of a human’s: grief is a normal part of life. There’s no way around it: death happens, misfortune happens.
Supposedly there are 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In my experience, denial and bargaining are the most mentally involved: when cognitive dissonance happens, where you try to work through the grief with your brain. Anger and depression are the most physically involved: when you feel your grief in your gut and grief is enacted through your body.
Grief is not a check-off list. You don’t wake up in anger, turn to your notepad and check off “denial.” Denial might come back later. I’ve found that I cycle between mental and physical grief, perhaps because it’s too hard on mind and body to grieve too long with only one of them. And sometimes after bargaining, I visit anger again. For me, anger is easier than depression; I don’t have to confront the real issues in my anger. This past year I read Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenburg, from which I reached the epiphany that my anger comes from a deeper issue: and for myself it is usually pain or fear. Pain from the actions in the past, fear of the future not getting better.
I say all this to answer some questions: Where do the angry feminists come from?
Well, when an angry mommy feminist and an angry daddy feminist love each other very much…
Actually, that’s not where angry feminists come from. Angry feminists exist because we have experienced a loss in our worldview and are grieving. We can deny the sexism in our culture for only so long. Then we are hit with pain and fear: and we get angry. Yes, I was angry last week, last month, last year, but sometimes anger comes back because I haven’t finished grieving and I need to cycle through it again.
I know there are people out there who dismiss the angry feminism of the 60s, but I think it was an important time for the movement. Feminism had to grieve on a large scale, so it needed to be angry on a large scale. But some of us weren’t around for the 60s and we still need to grieve as well. So you feminists who have been around for a while and have worked through your anger, please be patient with us saplings who are going through our own personal 60s. You might be past the anger stage, but grief is something we need to get through on an individual scale as well. We’ll get to the acceptance you have reached, though I think in the case of feminism, you never “accept” sexism, just move on to action.
And to those who are tired of listening about feminism and always associate it with angry feminists: until the inequalities are fixed, there will be people who wake up finding that they need to grieve for the state we find ourselves in. Want angry feminists to “just go away”? Then fix the problems so we don’t have to grieve anymore. And I mean really fix them. Word service is vain. Actions speak louder than words.
But anyway, that’s where angry feminists come from. Now please excuse this bra-less, letter-writing, angry picketing woman. Let her be angry. Her anger isn’t an affront to you; it is the current face of her grief. Underneath, she is fearful, fearful that society won’t change. And sometimes fearful that the people, society, and church around her actually don’t value her and her daughter as much as her husband and son.