Say it with me, folx: men’s and women’s emotions are policed differently. If you’re not a white cis/het male, you’re pretty damn stuck. Show too little emotion and you’re read as cold and bitchy (e.g. Hillary Clinton during her presidential campaigns). Show too much and you’re hysterical, unstable, and irrational (yep, we can use the Hillary example here too).
We at the RJ Happy Hour want to call bullshit. It’s not exactly a fresh take to observe that people of different genders, races, sexualities and so on are subject to different sorts of checks on their behavior and speech. But in polarized political environments, this point is newly relevant.** The subtext of calls to “civility” is telling. The denial of responsibility for racial, religious, and politically-motivated violence is chilling.
In this environment, the anger of women/trans/GNC individuals and people of color is cast as a dangerous threat OR as a powerful transformative force for social change - as feminist authors Rebecca Traister and Soraya Chemaly both argue in their respective books just released last month.
As feminists we value emotion and subjective experience as legitimate forms of knowledge. In a “post-fact” era however, we find it urgent to point out that some emotions are more grounded in reality than others. When groundless anger and fear are used to further racism, or having one’s ‘sentiments offended’ is deemed enough to shut down public debate on an issue, this is not evidence of democracies at ease with themselves.
Come get loud with us on the podcast this week, and tell us what you’re raging about at firstname.lastname@example.org!
**This is part of a series of episodes recorded this past July that we are releasing now. So while there are more recent examples of the problems we discuss (so. many. examples :/) our commentary still stands. We hope you enjoy!