Thursday, March 29, 2007

Anger: What's Wrong With Women?

Are women angry because women are born angrier than men or are women angry because of society's unfairness? And are women's expressions of anger a sign of health or does expressed anger just create more of the same? Some researchers say keeping anger in may be okay. Others go further and say that contrary to popular belief, expressing anger is bad for your health. This seems to be supported by Martin Seligman's work. Are you angry?

What's wrong with women? Heck, what's wrong with men? Men seem to take pleasure in someone getting hurt, if they believe the person deserves it. On the other hand, men are more altruistic than women , especially working women.

I don't like these generalizations, although gender trends obviously exist. And while end-around, passive-aggressive (how 'bout we leave out the "passive" part) ways of dealing with conflict are irritating, men seem as inclined to this modus operandi as women--especially on the internet. On-line bullying seems to be gender blind. Anonymity to cloak nastiness is a huge problem and I know plenty of women who have used this instead of bringing a forth-right argument under their own name. Same goes for men, though, and there are far more men commenting around the internet than women.

Could it be that women are the biological protectors and because this role (they still give birth and ostensibly desire to protect their young) is defensive, rather than offensive, found ways to be passively aggressive? In addition, women are physically smaller than men. Overt verbal violence (yelling, protesting, confronting) can lead to physical violence and a woman is smaller giving her a disadvantage during conflict. Her weapons had to be more subtle to protect herself and her young. While this method ensured survival back in the day and even now to an extent, in a gender-neutral environment like the internet, it makes women look weak and petty when they refuse to directly engage.

Women are also less altruistic. This, too, makes sense to me. When it comes to protecting young, all young are not created equal. My young are more equal than your young. When it comes to caring for children, mothers are notoriously biased. Again, this to me ensures survival. If every kid has a protective, fiercely loving mom, he has a mom willing to defend him. Mothering turns a woman inward toward her children, her home. It would be unnatural for a woman to be any other way, don't you think?

These traits taken to their pathological extreme are not pretty, but neither is the manly trait of trying to heroically save someone or something for stupid reasons. And some people with mental problems try to create ways to be heroic to display their altruism. And while it could be argued that "taking it outside" is an effective way of dealing with conflict, it very much impairs a woman's ability to have an even fight. And while some women are empowered and possess that "you go girl" sensibility, if push comes to shove, she loses, even when she starts it (and she often starts it).

Bottom line, with technology like the internet, women can be equal. Women need to express themselves clearly and forthrightly without resorting to anonymity and personal attacks. And men need to express themselves without resorting to objectifying and sexualizing women who disagree with their position and opinion. And women who resort to the latter, too, are the worst. Not only do they fulfill the worst sort of female stereotypes, they exhibit the worst sort of male stereotypical behavior. Certainly, this can't be what feminism aspires to--to serve up stereotypical female passive aggressive with stereotypical male objectifying.