Who’s afraid of angry feminists? Well me sometimes. Angry feminists present a challenge to the assumptions of privilege that are so easy for me to fall into. It is never a comfortable place to be when someone skewers your assumptions and reminds me that in almost every way my privilege shapes how I experience the world. That my privilege creates a bubble from which it is all too easy to see a universality rather than a cultural and moral relativity. How can I be wrong if I everything I see reinforces my world view? Why are these Others so angry at the world which seems so normal to me?
Obviously it would be naive to suggest that this bubble is purely ignorant assumption. There is a continuum. There are people who are ignorant, willfully sometimes, of the power their privilege provides. There are others who are fiercely conscious and often violently protective of threats to their privilege. But whatever the continuum the response to angry feminism is a seemingly endless stream of tone arguments, concern trolls, threats and attacks on character and sanity.
This reaction has surfaced a lot in the last couple of weeks. It has prompted discussion about how that angry discourse is alienating and unproductive. It has prompted a conference. I’ve heard a lot about how we should all just get along. Well fuck that. I don’t want feminists to stop being angry. No one should want feminists to stop being angry. They aren’t angry because they are feminists. They aren’t irrational because they are angry. They are angry because things are fucked. You should be angry too. Their anger helps keep us all accountable and honest until progress gets made. As Melissa McEwan puts it, too politely perhaps: “Progress ain’t fueled by rainbows and gumdrops”.