Female Rage

Juliette Colvin

For 5000 years women have turned the other cheek, and every time we do, it gets slapped harder. Sometimes it gets slapped so hard we die.
—Sinia Johnson, Going Out of Our Minds: The Metaphysics of Liberation (1987)
Women have been compelled to silently absorb the controlling, belittling, and abusive behaviour of men. We suppress any retaliation—as the least angry response from women has been disproportionately attacked as more outrageous than any offence that provoked it. But that rage remains inside. That rage is passed down regretfully as inheritance from mother to daughter because there is nowhere to put it down, nowhere for it to go but quietly to other women. Throughout most of art history, which is meant to show humanity at its fullest—with the exception of the painted furious eyes of Medusa, works by Caravaggio, Sirani and Gentileschi portraying women killing their abusers—you will seldom see the face of an angry woman. What you will see instead is an abundance of images of submissive, passive and smiling women. Female Rage makes visible our visceral anger, contributing to more authentic representations of the female experience, with the aim that empowerment will follow.
We must be the angry women that won’t turn the other cheek.

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