Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger by Rebecca Traister
Published by Simon & Schuster on October 2nd, 2018
Genres: Non-Fiction, Feminism
“Most of the interesting women you know are far, far angrier than you’d imagine.”
The #MeToo movement completely uprooted the world. I remember so vividly what it felt like scrolling through the hashtag on Twitter and reading all the stories that were coming out. It felt like we were on the rise. We were exposing the disgusting and toxic behaviour of people. We were taking charge and this was only the beginning.
I had read Traister’s work before and seen her do several interviews. I didn’t particularly love All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. It definitely had some interesting moments, but I only felt like I learned a couple of new things. Everything I had picked up from reading essays online or I knew because it’s information everybody knows.
This book came out at the perfect time. It reminded me of when Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me was released around the height of #BlackLivesMatter. Good and Mad: the Revolutionary Power of Women was published just five days after Dr. Blasey-Ford’s testimony and just four days before Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation. This book was what we needed.
This book wasn’t just a history lesson of women’s slow rise to political power in America.
There are definitely key events that Traister points to as she tracks the history of female anger as political fuel from suffragettes to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
Traister looks at the difference in which men and women are allowed to be angry. She goes into the double standard against women by all sexes. She also goes into society’s long standing tradition of keeping women down by enforcing that they remain docile.
What I loved most about this book was that it explores the way women’s fury has become transformative. It’s become powerful as women’s collective anger take on the world showing no mercy.
It’s not exactly a subject that’s talked about a lot. There will always be books deconstructing the female experience, but this honed in on one specific aspect. This book is going to destigmatize women being able to express an emotion that’s not happiness.
Oh, and don’t worry. This book definitely dissects what happened in 2016 in politics. Good and Mad does a great job at analyzing Donald Trump’s actions and his persona. It’s amazing to see the various ways in which women stood up to him and weren’t afraid to take him on.
What I most appreciated about this book is that Traister sprinkles in her own stories and experiences throughout her life. She talks about when used or failed to use her anger for a good purpose. Good and Mad is also filled with anecdotes from other women when they admit how they’ve suppressed or wielded their anger.
This book is about anger, but that’s not the only thing it’s about. Traister handles everything with a bit of humor and hope. She gives actionable things for women and men to do so we can continue post-#MeToo.
I am inspired to go against my first instinct of suppressing any anger. I’m allowed to be angry and so are you! But let’s use it as fuel to power change in the world.