I have spent a long time being told that I'm angry. Not only is this a shock to some people, but they don't seem to view it as a valid emotion, especially from someone like me- female, physically nondescript, not at all intimidating at first glance and wearing a geeky t-shirt.
So. Here is a post about anger, and why I am angry.
I am angry because so many people see my talent for science as nerdy, antisocial and elitist. I am angry because where I am proud of something that enables me to help others and make the world a better place, they see a woman who is too smart for her own good and needs taking down a peg or two.
I am angry that because of this, many people would avoid listening to me, my friends, or even people like doctors who they really need to listen to. I am angry that homeopathy, spiritual healing, anti-vaxxers, climate change denialists and intelligent design advocates get more respect and time to air their views, which leads to a spiral of ignorance and further anti-intellectualism.
I am angry that so many awful things happen in the world, and so many people are indifferent. We are all selfish, but sometimes it's right to take time out and give a little money, forward a link, do any one tiny thing to increase awareness of something that we feel is important. Jedward do not count as something to be concerned about, although they are quite shit.
I am angry that people will give up their freedom in the name of terrorism, not realising that the terrorists want exactly that- entire nations frozen with fear and giving up their way of life.
I am angry that even in supposedly liberal and civilised countries like my own, people are hurt and killed because of what they look like, how they dress, how they act, or who they love.
I am angry that theocracy and totalitarianism still exist, and still oppress people over stupid rules that make no sense.
I am angry that having a vagina puts me at more risk of sexual and domestic violence. I am angry that having a penis would put me at a higher risk of assault and being murdered by some random person. I am angry that being transgender would but me at a stupidly high risk of violence. I am angry that people cannot be safe, and that they are blamed when they are hurt even though the real answer is to stop the bad behaviour of others.
I am angry that so many women across the world are not allowed to control their own reproduction. I am angry that religious leaders lie to control people through guilt over natural sexual behaviour. I am angry that these things come together to cause the spread of HIV, which is currently an incurable condition.
I am angry that people automatically blame the circumstances of my childhood on my mother and look down on her as a member of society, even though she always did the best she could. I am angry that her divorce was not her fault, and that she worked so hard, only for people to write her off as 'just another single mother' or a woman who couldn't 'keep a husband'. I am angry that her partner found it so hard to get custody of his daughter even though the events which led to him getting custody could have put her in a lot of danger. I am angry at the system which breeds these attitudes and allows these discriminatory practices even in the law, because they somehow manage to be sexist towards men AND women.
I am angry that I have lost so many family members, whether through bereavement or (in the case of my father) them just not really giving much of a shit about me. I am angry at my uncle for dying, because he did something silly and he was the best father figure I had. I am angry because there are people who shrugged when I was upset over his death and did not apologise.
I am angry that I was bullied for an entire decade. I am angry that our society finds othering so accpetable that I have been verbally abused in the street for my choices in clothing and that a woman my age was once kicked to death for the same reason.
I am angry that I feel selfish and crazy for writing anything at all about my appearance, or how I feel as a woman, or bereavement. I am angry that I absorbed the negative things people have said about me in the past and still believe them. I am angry that people I don't even like got to me enough that I still think I'm ugly, that my body is all wrong, that my talents are not as special or good as the talents of others. I am angry that even typing thse things, let alone saying them out loud, makes me feel guilty. I didn't put these things in my head, and yet I blame myself for them being there.
I am angry at the phrase 'real women have curves'. Who are these people to tell me, or any other woman (biological or otherwise) whether we are real human beings? I am a real woman, because I say I am. I am a thin woman with large breasts compared to my overall build. Does this make me less of a woman, because my body fits certain ideals? No, it does not, especially given the number of ridiculous beauty standards that I cannot or will not meet. My curves are (mostly) small, that does not make them any less feminine. I eat. I walk everywhere. I like the way my body looks. Nobody else has the right to judge my body or anyone else's based on anything other than physical health, and even then, they'd better be a doctor. So what if I'm a size six? I'm also five foot three. I am in proportion. So is a size 16 woman six inches taller than me. Physical beauty doesn't just come in one form, it comes in many- probably in a slightly different form for each person you ask.
I am angry that our society encourages mediocrity, and that any deviation from the norm labels you as a freak so that others can point and laugh. I am angry that this stigmatises mental illness, medical conditions, sexual preferences and orientations, and even harmless everyday activities.
I am angry that so many people see the far right as an acceptable solution to economic downturn, overpopulation, and anything else that they are unhappy with. I am angry that the far right (and even the centre right, more often than I would like) exploit the insecurities of low-income people to make them afraid of things that will help them, like a health service or higher taxes which they would not be rich enough to pay anyway. I am angry that apparently, history repeats itself and the first sign of recession makes everyone look for a scapegoat and it's invariably people who are easy to demonise because their way of life is not understood by those attacking them.
I am even angry about trivial things, like the fact that the music I prefer is seen as stupid and simple despite the high percentage of metal musicians who are classically trained.
I am angry about a lot of things.
Anger can be a constructive emotion, if you use it properly.
Anger can inspire you to create great works of art, or some pretty average death metal. It can push you to better yourself, to rise above those who want to keep you down. Anger, if you can control it, can lead to changes for your own life and maybe even the lives of others, although you have to combine it with motivation and teamwork.
Anger is always seen as a negative emotion. It doesn't have to be destructive. I feel lucky that I can express my reasons for being angry reasonably well, because defining it makes it easier to handle. Making it easier to handle makes it easier to create something good from the bad feelings. I fuck up a lot, but I'm working on it. I hope you can support me in that, and maybe even get a little bit angry yourself.
I'm not looking for your opinions on whether you think I'm right or wrong here. Emotions don't work that way, and this is something that has been building for a long time. I just wanted to get some of this stuff out in the open, because a)it'll do me good and b)it might explain why I sometimes seem completely irrational.
I certanly feel better for writing it though.