Yes, I am angry

Someone messaged me the other day and asked me why I’m so angry. I’m here to explain why and argue that being angry is often necessary. (They were being homophobic, but that’s a story for another time.)

The term “angry feminist” is used to turn the conversation, to distract from any valued point by setting the feminist commentator as someone not even worth listening to. It doesn’t matter how rude, or emotional the accuser is, his point is always the valid, reasonable one.

Let me start with a story. In my old branch, there was a woman I often found difficult. She even made me cry once. However, I soon learnt to stop judging the package and listen to the gift. She had many good points, but no one gave her a chance. She was written off and pigeon-holed. People told me that they just “didn’t bother with her anymore.” One day in class she made an excellent, thought-provoking point, dripping in emotion. One man (on the district presidency) told her not to bring her personal life into the meeting. Another man told her that her problems (the home teachers not visiting their home) were a direct result of her being too difficult. “They don’t WANT to visit your home,” he said. She left the meeting in tears, and I had to chastise someone on my way out after her for telling me not to follow her. I hugged her for twenty minutes and felt Gods love for her. It was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. I’m long gone from that branch, but I still remember that hug. I still remember the feeling of her tears mingling with mine.

I am angry about being written off for being a woman, especially when I express emotion.

I am angry at the patriarchy for having a history of silencing and dominating not only women but minorities.

I am angry that Christians act like they are being persecuted in free, predominantly white cultures that serve their interests, while they systematically deny rights to others.

I am angry that when members of the church do express homophobic, sexist, racist (etc) ideology, they act like they are innocent, and even get offended.

I am angry that people refuse to see their privilege.

I am angry that only some questioning is deemed as “acceptable.”

I am angry that members of the church want people to “fit in” to the church rather than create a culture where all people can belong without changing who they are. (Thank you for this thought, Richard Ostler.)

I am angry that people of colour have the police called on them for no good reason. It’s racism, pure and simple.

I am angry that fairy tales set up a world where “good” women are white, virtuous and economically privileged.

I am angry that so many languages and cultures have been lost through white colonisation.

I am angry that I can’t talk about feminism and the toxicity of the patriarchy without men making it about them.

I am angry that feminism routinely excludes women of colour and female identifying or gender fluid individuals.

I am angry that hate is okay if it doesn’t hurt white, cis men (and women who cling to the power of patriarchy…)

I am angry at wealth inequality, and the pure privilege it takes to tell people to pay their tithing if they want to get out of poverty.

I am angry that the world isn’t catering to disabled individuals enough.

I am angry that there aren’t enough windows and mirrors in literature and other forms of media.

I am angry about a lot more, but I don’t want to keep you here all day. It’s sufficient for me to say that if I didn’t get angry, I would be giving into my privilege. It doesn’t feel like an option anymore to remain silent or react politely.

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5 Responses

  1. Shawn Beus says:

    Great points and sad story, but well done in comforting those that stand in need of comfort.

  2. spunky says:

    I am sad because your story is so familiar to may experiences I’ve had. (I’ve been told that I’m the lady that people fear at church.) I’m so tired of being angry at the injustices at church and in the world, but I am reminded by your post that Jesus had righteous anger when he threw the money changers out of the temple.

    Righteous anger is real. Righteous anger is good. You have it. Well done.

  3. JNB says:

    This is righteous anger, and it is very healthy. Nowhere is it written said that we have to be happy all the time (except in polygamous culture, where they preach that their women have to “keep sweet.” Just Google the phrase and you will find it all over their propaganda–any pro-positivity crap aimed at LDS women only smacks of polygamous stepfordhood).

    Emma Smith was called “an elect lady” in a revelation of the Lord and she was notoriously strong-willed and rigid, being the only LDS woman in church history to have stood up to and defied both a prophet of God and the “Lion of the Lord” in such a principled and memorable way (BTW: nice way to treat the widows of the church, Brother Brigham). We can definitely be strong-willed and fierce in defending the downtrodden in Christ’s name. I promise–He won’t mind.

    Here, I fixed it for us:

    “The errand of angels is given to women;
    And this is a gift that, as sisters, we claim:
    To boldly defend, serve, and lift the downtrodden
    To fight oppressors for humanity’s sake.”

  4. Anna says:

    Being angry is a lose/lose situation. If women are angry we are dismissed as just hysterical women. And if we are not angry, the problem s dismissed because if it was important, then we would be upset. Either way, we are dismissed by men.

  5. ST says:

    Thank you for your post–I can relate as well. I refuse to stand by and watch people being abused and mistreated and that has lead to me leaving my current job because I have been labelled a trouble maker for not being willing to go with the flow and endorse abuses of power. I am sure I am spoken about at ward council for the same reasons, but then there is always a sister who thanks me privately for saying what she is afraid to say out loud and my batteries are recharged to keep fighting for mercy and compassion.

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