GOOD AND MAD: A book review
Anger is usually thought of as an emotion that one should avoid or control but in her latest book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger journalist Rebecca Traister promotes it and insists that anger is the force and driver which will eventually bring about equal rights for women. The fight needs more angry women!
Traistser traces women’s struggle for equal rights starting with the French Revolution and then on to the suffragettes and civil rights eras, and ends with the #me too movement. In each period she chronicles the many women who led the struggle and in the #me too era she names all the male harassers whose names have become familiar to us in the recent past.
Sometimes those who champion anger as a good emotion cite the instance of Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple as a story of putting anger to good use. Usually the person who is the object of someone’s anger does not appreciate it and does not see it as a good. This is certainly the case in the women’s movement. “Why is she so angry?” is a common response.
Frequently the person who is angry uses words which add flavor and strength to the emotion. In Good and Mad it seems to me that the author overemphasizes the need for women to use four-letter words and vulgarity as a way of expressing their anger. She seems to be saying that you can’t be angry unless you are vulgar. It is a characteristic, I suspect, which any person needs to choose, or not, to show anger.
Reading Good and Mad prompts three questions: when is anger effective as a response to injustice; is the language of response, the words used, key to effectiveness; and is there any value in controlling an angry response?
Traister does a good job of telling the history of women’s struggle for equal rights and names women champions from every era including very recent names associated with the current struggle
Readers will see that the answer to why she is so angry is well documented by this journalist turned book writer, and a thoughtful reader learns the answer to that so frequently asked question. It is a good read for helping us all to understand the still elusive goal of equal rights for women.