We must train ourselves to even be able to see and hear anger from women and understand it not only as rational, but as politically weighty. It is, in fact, an anger on behalf of the nation’s suppressed majority and therefore especially frightening and combustible because of the threat it poses to the minority. We are primed to hear the anger of men as stirring, downright American, as our national lullaby, and primed to hear the sound of women demanding freedom as the screech of nails on our national chalkboard. That’s because women’s freedom would in fact circumscribe white male dominion.
Now, you all know that I rarely give out five stars. When I do, it is because the book I’ve read is so extraordinary, it leaves me almost breathless. It means that the author is one who makes me think and feel things in a way I find almost unsettling. Rebecca Traister shook me to my core with her latest book, Good and Mad.
I have to be honest with all of you. I had never heard of Rebecca Traister until I started listening to the amazing podcast, “Call Your Girlfriend” hosted by goddesses Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman. Ms. Traister’s name came up so many times that I finally looked her up. Turns out I had been missing out on this gem of a writer. But I have always been of the “better late than never” crew, so I didn’t feel too bad. Because Ms. Traister is not just a writer, she is the type of writer who writes from her core. She is a thorough wordsmith who is not only incredibly talented but also one who writes with the “other” in mind, which I appreciated.
In Good and Mad, the author doesn’t just write about the rage of white women only, which tends to be the default when women’s rights are discussed. No, Ms. Traister knows that not all rage is treated equally. The disdain, condescension and outright misogyny are common factors in the face of women’s anger, but the reactions to it are vastly different depending on the woman expressing said anger. Ms. Traister uses historical examples (you know, actual facts) to make her points, but also comes up with ways in which these examples can help women in the Age of 45 harness their anger to make changes to the status quo. And those changes have already begun. The mid-term elections yielded an incredible number of women elected to Congress as well as state and local positions. The #MeToo movement has brought down the likes of serial predators Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein and, most recently, R. Kelly.
I implore you to pick up a copy of Good and Mad because the rage of women will continue to create the changes we need to see if we are ever going to be in charge of our own equality and freedom. Men need to read this book so they can understand why we’re so damn mad and begin to work with us, not against us. And the angry women of the future will read this book and know that their rage is justified so they can continue to fight for their lives.