Angry Women

Two things about modern American womanhood constantly amaze me: that anger is integral to the compromises of working and at-home motherhood, and that our society is repeatedly surprised when women respond angrily to unfair treatment at home, at work, in politics and daily life.

But a new milestone has been reached -- and it's not the number of Obama's delegates or the vice presidential innuendos in Clinton's latest speech. Rather, it's proof that women are becoming more comfortable expressing anger in public.

Last week, Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne ran a piece about women's anger at how Clinton has been treated in the Democratic race, Look What They've Done to Her. The comments started online at 10:30 p.m., not long after the article published. There were hundreds of -- yes -- angry, comments by 6 a.m. Dionne's columns are pretty popular, but other columns, like yesterday's on Obama's church, received a fraction of this response. There were an incredible 1,421 comments on the Clinton piece before the comments section closed.

That's a lot of angry women. Okay, not all posters were female. But that's a lot of comments about angry women. And to be scrupulously fair, not all comments were angry -- not that there's anything wrong with that.

This public anger is significant because historically, we hand out harsh penalties to angry women in this country. Last summer New York Times columnist Lisa Belkin ranted on the subject of Census data that angry women earn less than angry men.


Don't get angry. But do take charge. Be nice. But not too nice. Speak up. But don't seem like you talk too much. Never, ever dress sexy...women who act in ways that are consistent with gender stereotypes -- defined as focusing "on work relationships" and expressing "concern for other people's perspectives" -- are considered less competent. But if they act in ways that are seen as more "male" -- like "act assertively, focus on work task, display ambition" -- they are seen as "too tough" and "unfeminine."

Belkin was particularly angry, because, in addition to the mixed societal messages Belkin decries, the census data and a survey from research group Catalyst seem to suggest that, using the convoluted logic capitalism sometimes employs, we actually pay women to be nice in this country.

Now, nearly a year and one very interesting national primary campaign later, my completely unscientific sense is that, with Clinton's supporters' very public, very angry protests, we are becoming more accepting of this natural human emotion from both sexes. Dionne's article is filled with even-handed quotes from intelligent, thoughtful, very angry women like Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.), Therese Murray, president of the Massachusetts Senate, Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.), and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). It was refreshing to hear their opinions instead of hearing them shushed for being mad.

And you? Has anger helped or hurt you at work and at home? In your world or workplace, does an angry man inspire different emotional reactions than an angry woman? Is there a way to channel your anger effectively to overcome bias against the stereotypical "angry woman" while expressing your frustration and goals?


Full disclosure: I contributed to both the Clinton and Obama campaigns.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  June 4, 2008; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Moms in the News
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No, actually, I don't think we're becoming more accepting of women's anger. Seems to me the response to that has been more along the lines of, "just more proof that she's a b----, because look at all the b------- who are supporting her." Getting angry still makes it easier to be dismissed as "hysterical" or "irrational" or "must be that time of the month."

Posted by: Laura | June 4, 2008 7:54 AM

A couple of thoughts - I agree with Laura, we aren't becoming more accepting of anger. With regards to the Clinton example - in the last few days I have seen several articles about how Bill Clinton's anger at the end of the campaign was not helping his wife.

Assertiveness, being regarded a thoughtful listener and communicator, and leading by example are the qualities that get you ahead in the world. Anger, especially extreme anger (ala Al Sharpton) just make you look ridiculous. Frankly anger in women is also perceived as whiny.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | June 4, 2008 8:14 AM

I'm not sure that angry people of any gender are in shortage in this country. Of all the behaviors we should encourage in Americans, I don't think anger is one of them.

Posted by: moxiemom | June 4, 2008 8:40 AM

Regarding being "angry" at work. It came to my attention two years ago that my male manager was telling other managers not to use me on their projects because I wasn't able to be a team player due to my having a husband and child. I lost my temper. We had a half hour "whispered" shouting match in his cube. In the end, he conceded that he was wrong and apologized for doing what he did. He understood that it was not within his rights to determine what my availability was and whether I'd be willing to travel, etc. That was for me to determine on a case by case basis, the same as everyone else in the department. Since our arguement got rather loud, all of the other managers either heard or heard of it and have since realized that the statements made about me were, in fact, incorrect.
So, yes, getting angry did help me. I've since been promoted by the same manager who previously felt I had nothing more to give. And he has no qualms about asking me to give more than 100% to my projects.

Posted by: 21117 | June 4, 2008 8:45 AM

I remember sitting around with my former college roomie about 10 years ago brainstoriming every nasty name for women we could think of. There were a lot (the b word, the s word, the lovely c word, the w word , etc.) Then we tried to do the same for men. Crickets, or almost crickets.

Angry people reap what they sow. That's my belief. I choose not to associate with people who seem "pissed at the planet" as I call it, unless I absolutely have to. Life's too short to waste it.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 4, 2008 8:54 AM

But what about when something completely unfair has happened to you -- at work or at home? Something thoughtless or preventable, or something that someone intentionally did to hurt you?

Doesn't everyone have the right to be angry in these circumstances?

How do you deal with this kind of appropriate, cause-and-effect anger?

I think women too often are pressured to squelch our anger, instead of being taught how to channel it in productive, effective ways.

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 9:00 AM

Wondering when this will return to talking about work/family/life issues instead of "Leslie's Platform for Feminist Drivel"???

Posted by: On balance anyone? | June 4, 2008 9:01 AM

Hi Moxie -- so, on a lighter note, I have to pass along something from this weekend. I was driving to the gym (yes: oxymoron), and I passed this convertible, top down, blonde ponytailed woman driving, with a friend in the passenger seat and a 10-11-yr-old ponytailed girl in back. And I thought, now, THAT's MoxieMom. Or, you know, at least how I like to think of you. :-)

Posted by: Laura | June 4, 2008 9:02 AM

That's a good one, Laura. We should have a free-for-all on our mental images of each other.

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 9:04 AM

I see Fred as Clark Gable (without the slicked back hair)older than in Gone With the Wind though.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 4, 2008 9:14 AM

LOL Laura - I have mental images of a lot of regular posters. I too think of MoxieMom as the hippest SAHM on the block. ;-)

On another lighter note I need a new identity 'cause I am too lazy to type all of those words. I recall I picked PoaWM during the room mother discussion (anyone remember that one?!?). Maybe I should just be me... Kate

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | June 4, 2008 9:17 AM

I see nothing wrong with anger. It is a natural human emotion that we all experience to varying degrees throughout our daily lives. It's the one emotion that motivates us to correct injustice where we perceive it, and for this, anger is a good thing.

The way people behave when they get angry, however, is a different subject entirely. If it drives someone to act irrationally or destructively, we look at that person as someone that is out of control or perhaps even dangerous. On the other hand, those who can empathize with the side of injustice and channel their energy to address and correct the issues in a positive manner make very desireable people to be around.

Posted by: DandyLion | June 4, 2008 9:17 AM

"I think women too often are pressured to squelch our anger, instead of being taught how to channel it in productive, effective ways."

I agree completely. I do think that women are more harshly looked on for just losing it than men are.

But I also don't think that giving yourself permission to lose it is the ultimate solution, either -- you're just changing the immature stereotypically female response of internalizing with the immature typically male response of venting. Feels a lot better, but doesn't get you any closer to that "productive, effective" response.

I have times when I get so mad at my husband that I want to rip his head off (not often, thank goodness, but we're both human) -- usually over something that seems ridiculously trivial. If I blow up at him all the time, then I accomplish nothing -- he gets defensive, figures if I'm so angry at something meaningless, then it must be PMS or something. So my anger just gives him more cause to dismiss what I say. What I've learned, though, is that that anger is a signal -- because if I'm that PO'd about something stupid, then that little itty bitty thing was just a trigger on a bigger issue (feeling taken for granted, not heard, etc.). So instead of blowing up, I think over how to tell him why that bugged me and what I'd like him to do. He doesn't always "get" it (he's just not as emotional as I am), but he listens a lot more than if I were just berating him.

Not to say that being angry sometimes can't work, too. I actually just let loose a little last night, because my husband has gotten out of the habit of complimenting my cooking -- not every night (duh), more like never. Then last night, I made hot dogs, and he told me how great they were. I got, ummm, pretty short with him -- no compliments on all these home-cooked meals for a year, and when I resort to a 30-second, no effort standby, THEN he decides to break out with the "great dinner"? I tried to make it a joke, but he could tell I was PO'd (it was one of those things I'd decided to let go, but apparently it was bugging me more than I realized). He was really taken aback -- "what? of COURSE I compliment your food all the time!" Ummm, no. I guess he did in his head, but forgot to say it out loud. :-)

But the only reason that was effective was because it was so out of the ordinary for me. If I was constantly pissy with him over every little thing, he'd have tuned me out a decade ago.

Posted by: Laura | June 4, 2008 9:24 AM

But what about when something completely unfair has happened to you -- at work or at home? Something thoughtless or preventable, or something that someone intentionally did to hurt you?

Doesn't everyone have the right to be angry in these circumstances?

How do you deal with this kind of appropriate, cause-and-effect anger?

I think women too often are pressured to squelch our anger, instead of being taught how to channel it in productive, effective ways.

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 9:00 AM

I absolutely think everyone has the right to get angry, and Lord knows I get angry. It's the people who seem to be in a perpetual state of annoyance or anger that I avoid like the plague. The pessimists, I guess.

So maybe I'm talking about something else.

The thing that hurts me with Hillary (and I voted for Obama) is how nasty and junior-high girlish the media and others treated her. I think everyone would agree that she is an extremely impressive and accomplished woman. It bothers me tremendously that she was held to a different standard because she's female.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 4, 2008 9:24 AM

Hubby doesn't compliment you on dinner each night because he is sick of all that spinach!

Posted by: to Laura | June 4, 2008 9:34 AM

Many women confuse anger with assertiveness. Angry never accomplishes much in the long run. Assertivesness is getting your way and leaving people ok to help you next time. Nobody likes angry people or working for angry people. Somehow women look at how men do things and see anger, it is really just assertiveness and keeping your goals in mind. Unfortunately women try to take everyone's feelings into account and then feel bad when they have conflict and think being pissed off is how to get things done.
When my husband explained this to me it started to make sense.

Posted by: anger is not a good thing | June 4, 2008 9:47 AM

I think anger is a good emotion, as all emotions are good - to a certain degree. If you're angry, or envious, or sad, or whatever, all the time, then it's not good. But all emotions are good, as we are all human, and we all have them - so suppressing them doesn't work (cause they end up coming out another way - i.e., hot dogs and compliments ;).

Anger is a powerful emotion, and it can get people up and doing something with that energy. However, as Laura indicated, if you're only angry all the time, and you never actually do something with that energy, then it's all wasted, and it doesn't become a positive.

I definitely get angry about some things (sometimes DH wants me to just let it go). But I try not to get angry in places I can't do anything - i.e., DH has been spending the last three days straight (no joke, no eating with us, we haven't really seen him) working on our rental property. We have a tenant moving in - the work HAS to get done, he said he'd do it (so he has one person helping him - but where to get someone else, where there isn't a way) - so he has to. I am not angry about it, but I think he might be. So I have the kids 24/7 for a few days, and really, it is difficult, and they miss him too, but it's necessary and short (should be over today).

So, what does it accomplish if I get angry with him? Nothing, except to make him feel bad. He does already. So I just encourage him.

With the kids, they provoke me all the time...but I think they know, when I just stop talking, talk in a soft voice, and walk away, that they've REALLY made me angry - cause that is when they react the most to helping me.

Posted by: atlmom | June 4, 2008 10:03 AM

I completely agree that women are treated differently when angry. It is the same at home. When my boyfriend is angry and yells, etc. everyone has to stop what they are doing and accomodate. When I get angry and yell, I am immediately berated and whatever is bothering me is dismissed as "a stupid reason to be mad." It's a total double standard and the only way I can deal with it is by addressing how I handle myself and now really try using various calming techniques to keep things from ever getting to the point of an argument. It sucks, but it's the way it still is for women.

Posted by: Anon for this | June 4, 2008 10:03 AM

"I remember sitting around with my former college roomie about 10 years ago brainstoriming every nasty name for women we could think of. There were a lot (the b word, the s word, the lovely c word, the w word , etc.) Then we tried to do the same for men. Crickets, or almost crickets."

No nasty names for guys? Your kidding right?

Posted by: Fo3 | June 4, 2008 10:16 AM

er "you're" kidding.

I can be such a d*ck about grammar.

Posted by: Fo3 | June 4, 2008 10:17 AM

I think everyone would agree that she is an extremely impressive and accomplished woman

No we wouldn't....

Posted by: bye bye hillary | June 4, 2008 10:27 AM

Thanks for the link to the LIsa Belkin piece. I'm intrigued that she specifically mentions the scenario of women not asking for more money in salary and job negotaitions. This feels very much like my experience -- in negotiating a contract, a woman who says something like "I'm very sorry, but I can't work with that price. You're going to have come up a little" etc. is perceived as 'not nice' whereas a man who does so is perceived as professional. I've read every book out there on negotiating, role played the scenarios and negotiated in a vareity of formats but I still have on more than one occasion had the sense that a male would-be employer takes it personally when a woman asks to negotiate prices and categorizes her as 'not nice' or 'difficult to work with' or 'not likely to use again.'

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 10:27 AM

I completely agree that women are treated differently when angry. It is the same at home. When my boyfriend is angry and yells, etc. everyone has to stop what they are doing and accomodate. When I get angry and yell, I am immediately berated and whatever is bothering me is dismissed as "a stupid reason to be mad." It's a total double standard and the only way I can deal with it is by addressing how I handle myself and now really try using various calming techniques to keep things from ever getting to the point of an argument. It sucks, but it's the way it still is for women.
Posted by: Anon for this | June 4, 2008 10:03 AM

Nope, I call bullsh!t. Neither my husband nor I are screaming types, but certainly when one of us is quite upset or loud about something, we each get equal respect and consideration.

If you're in a relationship where that's not the case, there you are, but please do NOT generalize to "That's just the way it is for women." You are allowing yourself to be treated this way by him, and you are choosing to treat him that way.

Posted by: newslinks | June 4, 2008 10:41 AM

The women's pity party is on parade today with the head baton twirler Leslie. Why bother with naming this on balance?

Posted by: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ | June 4, 2008 10:41 AM

Angry women? The requirement to being a liberal Democrat is to belong to a group that is forever angry. Blacks are always angry and when they threaten to be content with their lot, liberal politicos and liberal preachers remind them of "their" slave days. Hispanics are kept angry by reminding them of the terrible prejudice they suffered and suffer in these racist United States. But oddly they keep on coming, legally and illegally. Homosexuals are angry because rightwingers do not allow them to marry- even though no society in the history of the world allowed such marriages. But that God (you should pardon the expression) a messiah named Hussein Obama has appeared who will deliver us all from our non-liberal sins. Women will stop being angry and be happy and so will the other angry people- utopia!

Posted by: mhr | June 4, 2008 10:41 AM

I had an older male manager up until last December who was very uncomfortable with a direct woman who knows her worth and is not shy to ask for it. It made him crinch. In fact, he told me that my communication style is very aggessive and abrasive and not suitable for a certain assignment while the top (woman) executive in our department openly disagreed with him and gave the assignment to me. I think that there are still a lot of male managers out there, maybe of the old school, to whom showing your anger or assertiveness, is tantamount to a kiss of death career wise.

Posted by: dc reader | June 4, 2008 10:44 AM

I have to admit that I judge women more harshly than men when it comes to anger. I think women have much more to lose by expressing our anger in the workplace, and I've found that expressing the anger over issues at work generally leaves me in a worse position. I think women who express anger in the workplace are viewed as castrating b*s, and that is used against them. I've seen it even in a mostly female profession.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 10:48 AM

Thanks grammarian Fo3. Can we take on the misuse of the apostrophe to mark pluralized nouns next? I.e., "noun's"

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Men in a "woman's profession," nursing, make more money and are promoted faster. Do I think being more forceful will help women achieve pay equity? Probably not, as long as women managers continue to subliminally defer to men.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 10:59 AM

Along the "no nasty names for guys" thing... umm... the all female group TLC had a #1 song in 1999 titled "No Scrubs" which is 1 nasty name for a guy. I do vividly remember the angry throngs of heterosexual men marching in the streets of DC being mocked and, frankly, harshly judged for style and hygiene by the gay community, demanding retraction and reparations. Hardly. Yes, inequality among men and women exists and will exist for the foreseeable future. Senator Clinton's past 6 months is 6 months worth of evidence to that fact. Where is this now accepted anger? I contributed to neither campaign but can say without reservation that she is the most qualified, most talented and most prepared to be president than any of the other candidates in total or anyone currently serving. Go ahead and hem and haw about scandal this and RFK that and Bosnia exaggeration this and failed healthcare thing in the early 90's that and it's all veiled sexism because NO male candidate is held to that standard. Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama never failed at anything? If Mr. McCain were a better pilot we probably would have never heard of him. Are we thrilled with Senator Obama because of his ability or more so because he's a good looking man of color (even though he's as much white as he is black) that doesn't end every sentence with "ya know wha I'm sayin'?" and belts his pants at his proper waist? Call me a racist if you will but ask yourself first- The day he rolls up to the White House with gold 24's on the limo in a NBA jersey 6 sizes too big and Roca jeans around his knees is the day you call for impeachment proceedings to start. At least I didn't note that he was "articulate" like every other person in the media. I'm very articulate but hardly qualified to be President. Father Pfleger's mocking really is more about Senator Clinton being female than political satire but then again the Catholic Church is such a stronghold for women's rights, correct? (Didn't they just announce they'd excommunicate women for wanting to serve God as priests? Hmmm) Why will no one defend her? Senator Obama stood up for his wife and we all admired him saying what strong character he has yet we fault President Clinton for doing the same? This is so silly and frankly embarrassing. To finally tie this to the subject- we all should be angry and rightly so viciously angry and this whole process really can be distilled to this- We dismissed the one with ovaries because really she's incapable and she could cry again and God in Heaven, I can't deal with her if she cries. Shame, shame, shame on all of you and all of us.

Posted by: THE KERMINATOR | June 4, 2008 11:04 AM

I think anger is perfectly fine. Wallowing in it is another story. I think that when you take anger and turn it into something positive then you can begin to heal. For example, if you are anger about starving children, give money, time, etc to help them. Just don't be angry about it because your anger is not helping them.

I am not one of those women who think that society or men are holding me down. As far as I am concerned, most people get what they work hard for and what they deserve. I can't say that anger has never played a role in me getting to where I am; it has, and may probably continue to do so in the future.

I just don't let it make me mean and nasty; I let it seethe inside until I have the opportunity to do something about it. The best example is of the boss who thought that I was absolutely incompetent. Well, three years later he was no longer the boss. When a position became available in management, we both applied, but only one of us was even considered for the position. You got it, me. I turned my anger inside and it drove me to work harder, make better connections with people, and be a better team player.

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 4, 2008 11:06 AM

"I think women have much more to lose by expressing our anger in the workplace"

It all depends on how you express it.

I actually feel comfortable around most angry people. I find them easy to manipulate and control, but then again, I am an extremely patient individual.

Posted by: DandyLion | June 4, 2008 11:07 AM

As a 'shrink' I am often in a position to comment as women express abbivalence towards their own anger. An inhibiting factor is often, the b---- factor; not wanting to 'be a b----' and not wanting to be 'seen as a b----'. I advise, keep a b---- card in your pocket and be prepared to play it. Men play equivalent cards (and I'm all for it-we are allowed to express our emotions).We too can allow emotionality to reveal our passion.We too can 'raise the ante'. www.insightcenter.net

Posted by: Diane Kern | June 4, 2008 11:13 AM

"Shame, shame, shame on all of you and all of us."

No shame on me, if I ever saw father Phelger, I think I would b*tch slap him. Really, I don't think I am joking on that one. I also love Bill Clinton and if Obama is allowed to stick up for his wife, Bill should be allowed to stick up for his.

It's sad when Fox news gave her the best coverage and support during this primary. I really think the media did it to her. Yeah Bosnia didn't help, but at least she knows we only have 50 states.

Now the democrat dilemma of my life, do I vote for him or not vote? Wow, I guess I didn't know I was angry about this until "the kerminator" brought it up. I better go do something.

Posted by: Irishgirl | June 4, 2008 11:17 AM

I have no problem being assertive at work when I need to be; there is no way I would have had five promotions in seven years had I not been assertive. However, I never show anger at work. It's really not a part of our corporate culture (despite the fact that I work in a large law firm) - I do not work with any "screamers".

If I'm unfairly treated at work, then that's one of the appropriate times to be assertive. Very assertive. Just not angry - anger accomplishes little to nothing.

If I'm unfairly treated at home, that's a different matter. I've been known to get angry, but it's an occasional thing.

As my (very Southern) mother used to say all the time, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

Posted by: PLS | June 4, 2008 11:24 AM

It's one thing to stick up for your mate, and quite another to stick up for your mate by denigrating or attacking someone else. There is also a difference between bringing up valid points which have been ignored, and making lame excuses.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 11:24 AM

Men get called the "A" word all the time and we're expected to just shrug it off. Not so for women that get called the "B" word. Why is that? I guess reverse gender stereotyping is perfectly fine.

Posted by: DandyLion | June 4, 2008 11:30 AM

Can you give an example please?

Posted by: to babsy1 | June 4, 2008 11:35 AM

"If Mr. McCain were a better pilot we probably would have never heard of him."

Posted by: THE KERMINATOR | June 4, 2008 11:04 AM


Seriously? Wow, your train really has come off the tracks.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 11:37 AM

What about the one where Obama says

"McCain has lost his bearings." Now, that is change I can believe in.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 11:39 AM

Yikes, the loonies are really out today. I feel like I'm reading The FIx.

Posted by: DCD | June 4, 2008 11:39 AM

Wow newslinks. Wow. I was never saying every woman experiences the same thing. It was just my experience I was sharing. To call BS on my life is as presumptuous as you claim I am being. The point I was making is that I see it *personally* how women's anger is treated very differently from men's anger. That your life differs, I never claimed otherwise. For you to dismiss anyone else's experience since it differs from yours is rude and incredibly naive.

Posted by: Anon for This | June 4, 2008 11:45 AM

"Can you give an example please?"

Clinton: "Well, Jesse Jackson won South Carolina." Implying that any AA candidate could dupe the AA population of South Caroline into voting for him/her.

Clinton: "She was tired..." as a reason to lie about landing in Bosnia, or for implying that it is only a matter of time before someone shoots Obama and we have to turn to Hillary in desperation. How much leeway to be tired do we give the woman who boasts about being able to make tough decisions at 3AM?

Shall I continue?

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 11:47 AM

Two different things:

1) getting angry and using it productively to bring about change (good)

2) getting stuck in a perpetually angry state (bad for you and everyone around you)

but 1) can lead to 2) if everyone around you denies your right to be angry about unfair treatment.

and powm, let's just go with "kate"!!!!

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 11:50 AM

I think part of the reason that women expressing anger is viewed so negatively is the continuing nature of the expression. What I mean by this is a man can express anger and then let it go i.e, it is just business. A women can express anger but some trace of this anger is retained and comes out for a long time after in many different forms.

I know some will disagree with this but I will say that this very concept of not letting go was featured in one of the human relation classes that my company gave us. The speaker (had an advanced degree in a social science) was telling us the differences of how woman and men communicate in business settings. She was amazed that she would see guys practically strangle each other in a meeting and then agree to meet for beers after work. "No hard feeling" sort of thing in play here. The speaker said that she had not observed this in the female co workers she had studied.

Posted by: anon for today | June 4, 2008 12:15 PM

Wow, Laura and Leslie, thanks. As I sit here in a shirt with a marinade stain on the front, your description makes me smile. I shall do nothing further to disabuse you of your image. FWIW Laura, I always picture you as a kind of Julieanne Moore kind of mommy; lovely, serene and patient also probably never sweaty. I also assume that you use Tide.

Posted by: Moxiemom | June 4, 2008 12:18 PM

Everyone gets angry from time-to-time. Some people have a habit of being angry (a fair number of them go "underground" with it).

Personally, I would much rather have someone who is angry with me, for whatever reason, tell me so immediately and directly. I may or may not be able to undo what I've done, I may not feel that I should, but I certainly want to know about it. I hate being indirectly attacked (passive-aggressives are "tops" with this technique!).

I rarely get angry in a way that looks like a towering temper tantrum. But I have used all that energy to accomplish things. The time my mortgage company not only took $50 towards the principal, but also helped themselves to an entire mortgage payment, without my authorization, is memorable. It took a month, but not only did I get back the full amount of money they "liberated", I also was paid for the 16 NSF that I incurred due to their sticky fingers.

I was infuriated, but I didn't scream at anyone, name call, or get hung up on. I took names, times, and just kept calling and digging and clawing at the phone tree until I got all the information I needed. THEN I kept on calling until ALL the money was returned to me!

So if your stock dropped, it was my fault.

But I have NO doubt that someone on the other end of the line was probably calling me "b*tchy". Whatever. I prevailed. They can call me anything they like.

But yeah, I always wonder why in the world there are some people (usually men, but not always) who say women are "so cute" when they're angry. Stupid move, given that women are unlikely to rip out your arm and beat you death with the wet end, but perfectly capable of using a tool to do the job. It would be wiser to listen to someone who's angry and don't let them get between you and an exit.

MM

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 4, 2008 12:27 PM

I don't think women necessarily "hold onto" anger longer than men, and I haven't heard of any studies showing that women feel anger differently or for a longer period than men.

Men can let go, and grab a beer later, because anger for them is pretty uncomplicated. I doubt they've ever heard anyone of their gender called a beeyatch or had their sexuality questioned because they got angry. Starting when they are boys, men are encouraged to express their anger and move on.

Girls are told "it's not nice" to get angry. We learn to hold it in. But of course it has to get out somehow, and then we're called catty and butch and all sorts of supposed insults. It starts young and I think it is really bad in large corporations, law firms, educational institutions and on television. Have I left anything out?

So I guess that's why I was encouraged to hear angry women treated with respect by EJ Dionne in a major national newspaper.

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 12:35 PM

I think anyone without a productive outlet for their anger holds onto it. Similarly, anyone who has been told from childhood that "nice girls don't do that" will lack both the ability and approbation for appropriate anger. I've been extremely angry with colleagues, superiors, and friends. When I was able to tell them I was angry at their behavior, I got my point across. Before I learned to do that and I yelled, I accomplished nothing. There is nothing wrong with a passionate rebuttal or comment. But an uncontrolled response gets you nowhere.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 12:41 PM

Leslie, you left out the entire finance industry (although most fit under the large corporation umbrella too - except Bear Stearns - sorry I couldn't resist). I never got angry when I worked in that industry (I was the vendor) but man were traders surprised when I "knew the business". (Institutional equities is not rocket science)

MdMom, your posts always bring a smile - my mental picture of you is that you are unflappable.

Posted by: Kate | June 4, 2008 12:44 PM

Thanks, Kate. I was hoping to cast a wide net with "corporate America" but I see your point.

Also earlier someone mentioned that the discrimination is even worse if you are angry and black. This stereotype does have resonance esp. in the movie industry where an angry black character is portrayed as incredibly sinister and terrifying, and easy-going black characters are treated as avuncular and "part of the family."

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 12:52 PM

Leslie's therapist must be a millionaire by now dealing with all of her insecurities,fears and fantasies.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 12:53 PM

Posted by: | June 4, 2008 12:53 PM

No kidding she manages to use every liberal buzzword any chance she can get. Angry Woman, Angry Black Man, etc. Perry must be a saint.

Posted by: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ | June 4, 2008 1:02 PM

I'm a total WASP and anger is a big issue for me.

Women are marginalized so quickly with the "B" word. One thing that works for me is when I am angry I stop and try to think what I'm afraid of, because anger is often the flip side of fear. That helps me channel my unhappiness into something that can be expressed more effectively.


If she'd have been a Black woman would the media have been calling her her to quit and save the party? No - they would have heralded her for soldiering on and making history.

I wasn't even a Clinton supporter and I'm peeved at her media coverage. I'm proud of her for sticking to the end and if she takes her fight to the convention floor I'll be with her there too!

Posted by: RoseG | June 4, 2008 1:03 PM

"A formal dinner honouring new PhDs at Lund University was interrupted on Friday when a leading feminist erupted into a profanity-laced tirade.

Tiina Rosenberg, one of the founders of the Feminist Initiative political movement and a political science professor at Lund, rushed toward the stage during an a cappella singing group's performance, reports the Sydsvenskan newspaper.

"F- you, f- you, f- you!" she yelled out before storming out of the building.

Members of the group, Last Call, were at a loss to explain what in their performance may have touched a nerve with Rosenberg, who also accused the group of "trampling on the Left".

Another shining example of woman not understanding how to express anger appropriately.......

Posted by: ugg | June 4, 2008 1:08 PM

It sucks, but it's the way it still is for women.
Posted by: Anon for this | June 4, 2008 10:03 AM

That your life differs, I never claimed otherwise. For you to dismiss anyone else's experience since it differs from yours is rude and incredibly naive.

Posted by: Anon for This | June 4, 2008 11:45 AM

Actually, you did claim otherwise, Anon for This, with your statement that, it's the way it still is for women. When you generalize from your personal experience to the experience of everyone else of your gender, newslinks may well reasonably call b**s**t on that generalization.

On topic: I take issue with equating getting angry with "losing it". I also don't see any difference between how men and women are treated in my workplace assuming they handle and express their anger properly. Expressing anger properly means remaining under control. Raising your voice so those in neighboring offices can hear, including subordinates and others in the conversation, sending angry emails to the entire office? These aren't constructive or professional approaches my anyone, man or woman.

I find expressing anger over business-critical issues to be a very effective method of achieving change, particularly in the workplace. If you never get angry, or, to restate, if people learn that there are no professional repurcussions to screwing you over, when they are in a bind and have to screw someone, it will be the person who never calls them on it. If you develop a reputation as someone who will challenge professional disrespect, in a controlled, sensible, accurate manner, you gain the respect of your colleagues as one who takes on the proper battles, properly.

The big issue is that many people do not express anger in a controlled manner and/or they veer off topic and don't keep a clear view of their desired endgame. That approach doesn't work at home. It doesn't work in your extended family. Big surprise: it is unappealing, unproductive conduct in the workplace.

Posted by: MN | June 4, 2008 1:13 PM

I have always imaged Leslie as rather tall, blonde and always wearing heels.

I also image that Emily and Laura are twins.

I know that Army Brat has his wife sew on a right breast pocket on every shirt so he can wear two pocket protectors.

Posted by: Fred | June 4, 2008 1:13 PM

P.S. you don't even want to know my mental image of Matt from Aberdeen!

Posted by: Fred | June 4, 2008 1:15 PM

Leslie's therapist must be a millionaire by now dealing with all of her insecurities,fears and fantasies.

Posted by: | June 4, 2008 12:53 PM
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At least she knows she has some problems and is doing something postitive for them.

Are you enjoying your Cheetos in your parents' basement today?

Posted by: In her defense | June 4, 2008 1:20 PM

Babsy1, I've really enjoyed your comments on this (as in the past). To me, anger is an important sign that something is amiss - whether it is that you are being treated poorly by someone else, or that you are making decisions that are not good for yourself. However, it is a sign that you need to address the underlying problem, not a license to explode or treat others poorly. Learning to accept, understand, and release your anger is essential; it allows you to then deal with the issues productively (not that I am a shining example of this, of course, but sometimes experience comes from bad judgment, LOL). As others have said, passion and assertiveness are not the same as anger, and are generally far more productive.

I do think that men and women's anger is often treated and perceived differently. However, to me this means that we should become less tolerant of men expressing their anger inappropriately, not that we should encourage women to do it more often.

Posted by: LizaBean | June 4, 2008 1:22 PM

MN, on target as always. My mental picture of you is off someone who isn't afraid to call b.s. at the office, especially in the face of a know-it-all type who is misstating something.

As for mental images - Leslie shocked me with the troll doll hood ornaments on her Expedition. So.not.what. I would expect.

Posted by: Kate | June 4, 2008 1:25 PM

Kate, Ha! Thanks for the compliment. Calling B.S. only works if 98% you are a team player, positive and can be counted on by your colleagues to do your job with a minimum amount of carping. Being a pushover, though, marks you, LOL.

"Give it to Michele (instead of Mikey). She'll put up with anything."

Leslie's got a silly side. Plus, she doesn't "care" about cars, LOL. She wouldn't be seen at the grocery store in curlers, though - I bet.

Posted by: MN | June 4, 2008 1:29 PM

Kate, need to know why the trolls shocked you!

Love the image of me wearing heels. In my dreams. In reality I am almost always barefoot (summer) or in dansk clogs (winter).

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 1:32 PM

Fred, I picture you as that neighbor from Home Improvement. Fishing cap kind of guy.

Posted by: moxiemom | June 4, 2008 1:32 PM

Moxiemon,

Tim or Al?

Posted by: Fred | June 4, 2008 1:39 PM

The neighbor - Mr. Wilson

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 1:42 PM

Actually, there is a well know character in a movie that became a very sucessful TV program that alot of people have compared me to.

And if Leslie decided this would be a fun topic for Friday, giving our concept of others here and those people responding, I might tell you the character's name.

Posted by: Fred | June 4, 2008 1:46 PM

LizaBean, I think you are brilliant, and not because you complimented me. You put it succinctly - let's use our anger to fix a problem, and refuse to tolerate inappropriate anger in all our colleagues, regardless of gender.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 1:58 PM

Yes, save the mental pictures for Friday!

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 2:04 PM

Leslie - I had a rather WASP-y image of you. It seemed too outrageous and rather in your face especially in a stereotypical upper NW-DC neighborhood - definitely not traits one associates with WASP-y woman.

Posted by: Kate | June 4, 2008 2:04 PM

I got this in an email this morning, which claims that this is an actual letter from an Austin woman sent to American company Proctor and Gamble regarding their feminine products. She really gets rolling after the first paragraph. It's PC Magazine's 2007 editors' choice for best webmail-award-winning letter.


Dear Mr. Thatcher,

I have been a loyal user of your 'Always' maxi pads for over 20 years and I appreciate many of their features. Why, without the LeakGuard Core or Dri-Weave absorbency, I'd probably never go horseback riding or salsa dancing, and I'd certainly steer clear of running up and down the beach in tight, white shorts. But my
favorite feature has to be your revolut ionary Flexi-Wings. Kudos on being the only company smart enough to realize how crucial it is that maxi pads be aerodynamic. I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants.

Have you ever had a menstrual period, Mr. Thatcher? I'm guessing you haven't. Well, my time of the month is starting right now. As I type, I can already feel hormonal forces violently surging through my body. Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?

As Brand Manager in the Feminine Hygiene Division, you've no doubt seen quite a bit of research on what exactly happens during your customer's monthly visits from 'Aunt Flo'. Therefore, you must know about the bloating, puffiness, and cramping we endure, and about our intense mood swings, crying jags, and out-of-control behavior. You surely realize it's a tough time for most women.

The point is, sir, you of all people must realize that America is just crawling with homicidal maniacs in Capri pants . . which brings me to the reason for my letter. Last month, while in the throes of cramping so painful I wanted to reach inside my body and yank out my uterus, I opened an Always maxi-pad, and there, printed on the adhesive backing, were these words: 'Have a Happy Period.'

Are you f------ kidding me? What I mean is, does any part of your tiny middle-manager brain really think happiness - actual smiling, laughing happiness, is possible during a menstrual period? Did anything mentioned above sound the least bit pleasurable? Well, did it, James? FYI, unless you're some kind of sick S&M freak, there will never be anything 'happy' about a day in which you have to jack yourself up on Motrin and Kahlua and lock yourself in your house just so you don't march down to the local Walgreen's armed with a hunting rifle and a sketchy plan to end your life in a blaze of glory.

For the love of God, pull your head out, man! If you have to slap a moronic message on a maxi pad, wouldn't it make more sense to say something that's actually pertinent, like 'Put down the Hammer' or 'Vehicular Manslaughter is Wrong'.

Sir, please inform your Accounting Department that, effective immediately, there will be an $8 drop in monthly profits, for I have chosen to take my maxi-pad business elsewhere. And though I will certainly miss your Flex-Wings, I will not for one minute miss your brand of condescending bulls***t. And that's a promise I will keep. Always.

Best,

Wendi Aarons


Austin , TX

Posted by: Speaking of angry women... | June 4, 2008 2:06 PM

Hey, Alanis Morrisette became a millionaire parlaying the angry white girl theme on "Jagged Little Pill." So, sometimes angry women do get ahead.

Leslie, this would be a great Friday topic: "And if Leslie decided this would be a fun topic for Friday, giving our concept of others here and those people responding, I might tell you the character's name."

I SO want to know!!!

Posted by: pepperjade | June 4, 2008 2:08 PM

"Love the image of me wearing heels. In my dreams. In reality I am almost always barefoot (summer) or in dansk clogs (winter)."

Kristi, is that you?

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 2:12 PM

MdMom, your posts always bring a smile - my mental picture of you is that you are unflappable.

Posted by: Kate | June 4, 2008 12:44 PM

Glad to provide a grin.

You'll have to around as to whether I'm unflappable. I know First-Born would laugh, but KLB SS may agree.

KLB?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 2:19 PM

I don't see anything wrong with what Bill Clinton said about Jesse Jackson. It is true that African Americans are voting in droves for Obama, but I assume that you don't see anything racial about that.Hillary never implied that someone was going to assassinate Obama. Again, with the media bias against her. You are probably one of the millions of people who think that Obama sat in that church for 20 years and never heard on racist word uttered.

Posted by: to basby1 | June 4, 2008 2:20 PM

"The neighbor - Mr. Wilson"

Oh, the guy who had traveled the world, knows more obscure facts than Matt from Aberdeen, can quote Spinoza as well as Tupac from memory and yet can give practial advice about most anything?

Yup, that would be me!

Posted by: Fred | June 4, 2008 2:23 PM

How timely. I absolutely believe there is a double standard at work for women showing anger, as I found out the hard way earlier this year.

I work in a job that requires a great deal of thinking, and for me a great deal of quiet. I also work in an office with one of those open cubicle configurations, not the quietest environment. I was being disrupted constantly by the people that sit around me. The woman in the cubicle next to me spends most of the day on the telephone (usually work related), and socializes at her desk when she is not on the phone (not work related). The other workers in the vicinity began having loud design sessions in their cubicles with multiple people, despite having access to private meeting rooms set up for just this purpose. All of us work for different managers on different teams.

I had discussed the socializing woman with my boss, and we planned to discuss the issue with her manager. But her boss went on an extended medical leave before we got to meet; we were awaiting her return. In the meantime, I requested that the other people use the private meeting rooms for their design sessions, and they repeatedly turned down my requests with unconvincing reasons.

So I grew frustrated, and a few times when things got really noisy I slammed things around on my desk, and muttered curse words at my computer. Maybe not best way to deal with the situation, but I was blowing off steam in my private cubicle. Or so I thought (I want to be clear that I NEVER acted angrily to anyone or at anyone specifically).

Next thing you know, I am being hauled before my boss. One of the women skipped 3 levels of managment, including her own, and went to a vice-president complaining that I was "dangerous" and she was afraid for her safety. The vice president, without even meeting with me or hearing my side of the story, told my boss that he had to "discipline" me.

My performance review for the entire year was lowered, which also effected my compensation. I was moved to a new desk and told that I better just suck it up and be a quiet little office clone with no more complaining. No repercussions whatsoever for the distruptive or socializing employees. And all because I dared to pi$$ and moan a couple of times at my desk. The best I could do about the situation was write up my account and insist that it be included in my performance file. (FWIW: I am someone that takes great pride in my work and I have had nothing but good performance reviews; this is the worst since I have been here).

I could not believe the severity of the repercussions for what I considered a very minor offense. And I see men act out in a similar fashion nearly every day, with no repercussions. In fact, I worked for over 2 years with a man who was infamous for his anger outbursts, and he did not confine them to his cubicle. He confronted people personally and blew up at meetings. And yet he was not disciplined!

Posted by: Still Fuming! | June 4, 2008 2:29 PM

I have mixed feelings about Hillary Clinton and her bid for the nomination.

I don't actually consider her much of a feminist or a role model for women since I think she rode Bill Clinton's coattails to her political office. I also think she has an inflated sense of entitlement, and had displayed a willingness to say or do just about anything to get what she wants no matter the cost.

On the other hand, I think there are a lot of male politicians that share her negative attributes that get a pass for them. I also think that the media handled the race issue far more delicately than the gender issue throughout the campaign. If a priest in Senator Clinton's church mocked Senator Obama for *his* presumption or sense of entitlement in going after *her* nomination, I think the outrage would have been far swifter and more heated.

I'm almost 50 years old. Most of the time, I feel fortunate because I know I have had opportunities that my mother never could have dreamed of. On the other hand, I've had to fight battles in education, the workplace, and at home that younger women may not be able to conceive of. And, once again, all that is being symbolically discounted.

So, yes, I'm angry--for all the good it's going to do me.

Posted by: sad sense of betrayal | June 4, 2008 2:29 PM

Just a few minutes from now, my body will adjust and I'll be transformed into what my husband likes to call 'an inbred hillbilly with knife skills.' Isn't the human body amazing?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ties in nicely with my observation that people (men) calling angry women cute are risking their lives. With an observation like that, does anyone here wonder how he lived to say it more than once?

Fred,

You can weigh in on "unflappable" too. And you know which movie star I think you most resemble.

MM

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 2:30 PM

The Jesse Jackson comments were very benign Compare that comment to the fact that Obama attended a racist church for 20 years.

Posted by: sillygirl | June 4, 2008 2:34 PM

"I can't tell you how safe and secure I feel each month knowing there's a little F-16 in my pants."

Talk about security! FQOTD worthy!
Damn, that "letter" was hilarious!

MM,

yes, unflappable. A small correction, I did say character not the actor.

Posted by: Fred | June 4, 2008 2:36 PM

Posted by: Still Fuming! | June 4, 2008 2:29 PM

of course this is just YOUR version of what happened. For all we know you skipped the cleaning your gun at your desk part.......

Posted by: scared too | June 4, 2008 2:38 PM

It's funny, I don't think you'll see Leslie print an article about how men are on eggshells around women in the workplace and how quick the world is to come down on a male if he is somehow "mean" to her, even if it is exactly how he acts towards other men.

Any chance this blog is going to cover a subject actually related to its topic anytime soon?????

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 2:41 PM

sad sense of betrayal

Do you think Hillary feels entitlement because she is the first woman to run for president or because she I white?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 2:43 PM

"You are probably one of the millions of people who think that Obama sat in that church for 20 years and never heard on racist word uttered."

Nope, and I even walked out of St. Anne's Catholic Church (Tenley Town) when the priest informed us one Sunday that all good Catholics needed to show up on the anniversary of Roe to protest abortion. We all have to think for ourselves. That's why it's called free will.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 2:45 PM

Nope, and I even walked out of St. Anne's Catholic Church (Tenley Town) when the priest informed us one Sunday that all good Catholics needed to show up on the anniversary of Roe to protest abortion.

That has nothing to do with Obama. Way to deflect after you called out Bill Clinton's comments.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 2:47 PM

Sad Sense: I would not, and did not vote for Hillary - I think she won her Senate seat because the dems felt they owed her for not throwing her husband to the wolves as he deserved. Her coverage has been bad, but it would have been bad for any woman who was the first. When I lived in South Carolina, Shannon Richey Faulkner, who sued for admission to the Citadel as a woman, was described on a billboard as a b*ch. Was it fair, no. Would it have mattered if she had been a more stereotypical southern woman with a svelte figure and great makeup? I suspect not. Clinton ran a bad campaign, and then played every card she could to get us to feel sorry enough for her to give her our votes.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 2:53 PM


Do you think Hillary feels entitlement because she is the first woman to run for president or because she I white?

Posted by: | June 4, 2008 2:43 PM


I don't think it has anything to do with either one of those things. Honestly, I think both Bill and Hillary Clinton live in their own reality and play by their own set of rules. I think they're both amazingly ambitious, goal-oriented, and expedient. Woe to anyone or anything that stands in their way. In that regard, they're the perfect team.


Posted by: to anon from sad sense of betrayal | June 4, 2008 2:55 PM

Obama is a fraud. He spoke w Wright hundreds of times.Anyone who goes to church KNOWS from other churchgoers what the sermon was and what was said. Just more of his fraudulent lies

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 2:58 PM

"That has nothing to do with Obama. Way to deflect after you called out Bill Clinton's comments."

I don't presume to think for Obama, and I know quite well that what we say in our cultural and ethnic enclaves is very different from what we say in mixed company. The same is true of what women and men say in single-gender settings. I thought Obama gave a terrific speech on race though. Will I vote for him? I haven't decided, but my last two votes were for Nader, and Ron Paul is looking better and better to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 2:59 PM

Now,now, now, if we all don't chill our anger, I will have to write you another Silly Love Song. Acutally, it is ready now but I think tomorrow...

(Anyone guessing what I look like?)

Posted by: Songster | June 4, 2008 2:59 PM

"Nope, and I even walked out of St. Anne's Catholic Church (Tenley Town) when the priest informed us one Sunday that all good Catholics needed to show up on the anniversary of Roe to protest abortion."


I am not catholic but I never understood how you can ignore the rules and teachings of the church, yet continue to call yourself a catholic. Why not join a faith that you believe in?

Posted by: just wondering | June 4, 2008 3:01 PM

that was my post at June 4, 2008 2:59 PM. I forgot to add my identifier, I was not trying to be invisible. Although being invisible is akin to being able to say politically incorrect things in a single-gender or single culture setting.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 3:02 PM

LOL, Babsy, you're too kind - you said it far more succinctly than I did! :)

Posted by: LizaBean | June 4, 2008 3:03 PM

"I haven't decided, but my last two votes were for Nader, and Ron Paul is looking better and better to me."

so you are saying you like to vote for people who have utterly no chance of winning and are on the fringes of society. Interesting moral compass

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 3:05 PM

just wondering: It's called cognitive dissonance, the ability to hold conflicting thoughts in your mind. I believe strongly in the Catholic catechism. My only differences are about abortion and about the priesthood. I know from studying the church's history that the reason for the prohibition on abortion is linked to WWII genocides and fear of racial and cultural cleansings (although they were not called that at the time), as well as concern over selective abortion for sex. I know that the church evolves. Priests were able to marry until the middle ages. I believe that the church's stances on these issues will continue to evolve. I don't think it will be in my lifetime, but the role of women has already expanded tremendously. I do believe, and I will continue to believe, in Catholicism. Aren't there things in your chosen political party with which you disagree? I take comfort in knowing that the Catholic church believes in free will, not predestination.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 3:08 PM

"so you are saying you like to vote for people who have utterly no chance of winning and are on the fringes of society. Interesting moral compass

Posted by: | June 4, 2008 3:05 PM"

welcome back, you lily-livered coward. Identify yourself, sir! I cast my votes in protest for the poor caliber of the choices in the past 2 presidential races. There was no immorality in those votes.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 3:11 PM

"I don't presume to think for Obama, and I know quite well that what we say in our cultural and ethnic enclaves is very different from what we say in mixed company."

That's fine for an everyday person, but not the president of the USA who is suppossed to be for all people. Whatever, you clearly think that the Clintons are bad people and I clearly see, as clear as a bunch of black people hooting and hollering at a sexist white priest, see that Obama is no better.

Posted by: tobabsy1 | June 4, 2008 3:12 PM

"It's called cognitive dissonance, the ability to hold conflicting thoughts in your mind. I believe strongly in the Catholic catechism. My only differences are about abortion and about the priesthood."

So you claim membership and privileges but won't adhere to the rules. Interesting moral compass

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 3:21 PM

So you claim membership and privileges but won't adhere to the rules


So much easier to be a nihilist!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 3:26 PM

Still Fuming -- I don't have proof of this, but my suspicion is that in a lot of work environments, if a man reacted angrily to women talking to much around him and distracting him from work, the women would be penalized. I'm sorry about what you went through and the penalty you are still paying.

I've seen lots of men get angry, yell, fight and otherwise act crazily at work, including one who had a diabetic seizure (he didn't take his medicine regularly) during which he knocked over furniture and jumped on his desk.

Without penalty.

In fact, in some cases, it worked to their advantage because everyone feared them and did what they asked -- quickly and without question.

Although I have to say that someone with a real anger management problem is doomed at any corporate job or industry, regardless of gender. Corporations in general don't seem to like angry people, since extreme anger can get in the way of getting work done and creating a productive work environment.

The discrimination seems to come in terms of smaller, pettier outbursts, like the one you described. Men are allowed. Women not so much.

But we are allowed to cry, right? And men not so much. Thank god for that. (Yes, I am being sarcastic.)

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 3:34 PM

See, there's such a huge difference between thinking that abortion is bad and you not doing it and thinking it should be illegal for everyone else. It's such a large jump, and I don't get it, now that the catholic church is making it such an issue with politicians. I mean, is it a religion? Or a political movement?

Posted by: atlmom | June 4, 2008 3:34 PM

Still Fuming -- I don't have proof of this, but my suspicion is that in a lot of work environments, if a man reacted angrily to women talking to much around him and distracting him from work, the women would be penalized.

That's because you are a paranoid limousine liberal with little common sense.

Posted by: the laughs never end with leslie | June 4, 2008 3:39 PM

Does anyone else have the experience where you click to read the comments, but then when you post, a whole bunch of more recent comments show up that weren't there before? I assume it's something with my browser's cache or something like that but it's very odd.

Anyway, continuing in my babsy love-fest, more power to you for trying to explain nuance to those who insist on absolutes.

Posted by: LizaBean | June 4, 2008 3:39 PM

But we are allowed to cry, right? And men not so much. Thank god for that. (Yes, I am being sarcastic.)

Of course being allowed such embarrasing unprofessional behavior is your right as a women of course. Note my sarcasm

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 3:41 PM

sad sense of betrayal- Wow. I understand you're bitter but if I heard my cube mate cursing to himself/herself, slinging things around and having an attitude, I'd well be concerned too. People who bottle up their emotions and act like that tend to be the ones who snap and come to work and go out in a blaze of glory. Chatting on one hand vs. one screw loose behavior on the other hand; I think most of us would rather be around the chatter than the mumbler from Office Space. :)

Posted by: FloridaChick | June 4, 2008 3:42 PM

My favorite pseudo screen name ever: the laughs never end with leslie. keep it coming!

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 3:44 PM

Sorry- my comments should be directed at Still Fuming, not Sad Sense of Betrayl. Got lost scrolling around to find your moniker. :)

Posted by: FloridaChick | June 4, 2008 3:45 PM

"I don't have proof of this, but my suspicion is that in a lot of work environments, if a man reacted angrily to women talking to much around him and distracting him from work, the women would be penalized."

The plural of anecdote is not data, but in my personal experiences what happens is that the man is severely sanctioned for his temper, particularly his inability to control his temper around women.

I've seen it happen three times as a Fed and once in private industry. The only exception was in Japan, which is in some ways such a misogynistic society that a man is expected to assert his authority over the "Oeru" (Office Ladies, or OL) and an angry outburst for no reason at all is a sign of power.

"Although I have to say that someone with a real anger management problem is doomed at any corporate job or industry, regardless of gender. Corporations in general don't seem to like angry people, since extreme anger can get in the way of getting work done and creating a productive work environment."

The phrase is "going postal." People with serious anger management problems are doomed because the company fears that the employee (or recent ex-employee) will go postal.

Posted by: ArmyBrat | June 4, 2008 3:45 PM

All this makes me wonder: why is crying so effective at home, and so ineffective at work?

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 3:46 PM

"All this makes me wonder: why is crying so effective at home, and so ineffective at work?"

Because at home the person in front of whom you're crying has a strong incentive to address the problem that's making you cry.

The person/people in front of whom you're crying at work may well have no such incentive.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 3:49 PM

Ah Leslie, crying only works with men with whom you have an emotional attachment. They feel helpless and want to do anything to make you stop and have happiness once again. At work, they just think you're unbalanced and a liablility to the team.

Posted by: FloridaChick | June 4, 2008 3:49 PM

"No repercussions whatsoever for the distruptive or socializing employees."

It sounds like you were the disruptive employee.

Posted by: Yikes | June 4, 2008 3:50 PM

"So you claim membership and privileges but won't adhere to the rules."

There is nothing in the Catholic canon that mandates political demonstrations against abortion, the priest I consulted told me. I am a member because I was baptized and received confirmation, I attend Mass faithfully, and I have not been excommunicated. I choose not to have an abortion, but I believe that a woman should have a choice. I consider my faith a gift freely given and gratefully received, but I still embrace the free will given me by God. And I will pray for your enlightenment.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 3:50 PM

"All this makes me wonder: why is crying so effective at home, and so ineffective at work?"

the person at home wants to have sex with you. Well come to think of it maybe the person at work does too. Bad analogy I guess...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 3:51 PM

Good insights on the crying, gals.

Now: why don't men ever seem to use the crying thing? Just imagine how effective it would be.

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 3:53 PM

"Ah Leslie, crying only works with men with whom you have an emotional attachment. They feel helpless and want to do anything to make you stop and have happiness once again. At work, they just think you're unbalanced and a liablility to the team."

And the time it takes to repair your makeup reduces your availability to fix the problems caused by all those men. With that, I am off to the Pharmacy meeting...

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 3:55 PM

"Now: why don't men ever seem to use the crying thing? Just imagine how effective it would be."

about this effective....

From "BEDAZZLED"

ELLIOT -"Allison! Why don't you wanna stay here with me!"? ALLISON- "You wanna know why Elliot!? It's because you're TOO SENSITIVE! I'm about to go outta my mind. I like spending time with you and God knows I love you but enough is enough. All I want is a guy who will take advantage of me and who just pretends to be interested in who I am and what I think so he can get into my pants... 3) SCUMMY GUY- "That would be me". Allison -" OH, THANK YOU

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 4:00 PM

"Now: why don't men ever seem to use the crying thing? Just imagine how effective it would be."

Not effective at all. If you cry your woman wants to Mommy you, not have sex with you. That kind of defeats the whole purpose.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 4:05 PM

I don't cry at work or at home. The men in my life are the ones who are more likely to boo hoo at home, but I'm not sure it's very effective--just an irritant, really. Makes me want to leave. Which is probably how men feel when women do it?

Posted by: too funny! | June 4, 2008 4:08 PM

@LizaBean - it's probably combination of cache and delay to post (esp if you are like me and hit F5 to refresh, read, think of something to say and take 15 minutes to post it in between emails).

@MN - agree you have to have good credibility to call B.S. It's incredibly satisfying when skillfully done to the absolute biggest know-it-all.

Posted by: Kate | June 4, 2008 4:25 PM

"Now: why don't men ever seem to use the crying thing? Just imagine how effective it would be."

I don't want to work with, or live with, anyone manipulative, including those who cry to get what they want. I can't imagine I'm in the minority, but if I am, I don't want to know.

All power to you if it works for you and both you and your spouse find it an acceptable way of solving problems.

Posted by: MN | June 4, 2008 4:36 PM

I cry only in private, and that IS effective. I feel better, and no one pats me on the shoulder condescendingly.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 5:02 PM

Don't even ask me to write a song about crying. The shoe song was bad enough!

Posted by: Songster | June 4, 2008 5:11 PM

Seriously. The idea that any adult, man or woman, should "use" crying is somewhere between appalling and amazing to me.

Posted by: LizaBean | June 4, 2008 5:15 PM

"Seriously. The idea that any adult, man or woman, should "use" crying is somewhere between appalling and amazing to me."

Thank your lucky stars that you have never been manipulated in this way. You can never win.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 5:17 PM

hey, lighten up on the crying-as-manipulation front. we were joking.

laughing is much better than crying, anyway.

Posted by: Leslie | June 4, 2008 5:22 PM

Really, you were? Thank goodness.

I have one good friend who is a real cryer, she just cannot hold it in when she is confronted with something that upsets her, and she has lost it at work a couple of times in front of co-workers. It's awful. She's embarrased, it's weird an awkward for the co-workers. Ack.

Posted by: LizaBean | June 4, 2008 5:40 PM

Honestly, when someone starts crying, you either feel exasperated, sympathetic, pity, embarrassment, perplexed, angry, or any myriad of feelings. But what you don't feel is that you can continue talking about what provoked the tears. Suddenly you have a victim on your hands, rather than a problem. And nothing gets solved. I think a therapeutic cry is a good thing, but only in private. I'd rather deal with someone angry.

Posted by: babsy1 | June 4, 2008 7:41 PM

The only time I cried at work was after a horrid review - I was 8 months pregnant at the time, and the reality, to me at least, was that they were trying to give me a horrible review so they could let me go without a fight (we were about to have layoffs).

So after the review, such as it was, I put my stuff at my desk and went to the ladies room to cry.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2008 7:49 PM

There is no male equivalent of the b---- label. I get it. I am also buying that angry women get a more negative response than angry men do.

I don't get what you are advocating. More anger?

I'll second moxiemommy. I really don't see anger as a healthy or constructive communication tool for either gender in the modern American workplace.

Posted by: jjs | June 4, 2008 8:31 PM

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