Watching Christine Blasey Ford bravely telling her story of sexual assault, and listening to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh deny those allegations, was painful to watch, yet riveting.
After the hearings, I couldn’t help but be struck by the double standard in play. While Ford was praised by many for her vulnerability and calm, steadfast recounting of what happened to her, the opposite was true for Kavanaugh—he was praised for his anger and defiance, even by the President. These different displays seemed to confirm our biases about how men and women should behave when wronged: Women should be sad and anxious, while men should be angry and combative.
To understand the forces at play in this unfolding drama, I suggest reading author Soraya Chemaly’s new book, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger. It’s an enlightening read about the insidious ways women are socialized to stifle their anger, often to placate others—at the cost of their own mental and physical health. The book makes a strong case for why women should wake up to their anger and push for social and political change to correct injustice instead of “playing nice.”
“Anger is the…