Soraya Chemaly, author of Rage Becomes Her, educates us about culturally constructed gender differences and shares how extreme conformity to these binary ideals is harmful to society.
We talk about how gender expectations play out in society, negatively impacting men and women. When a woman or girl says “no,” the response is often to try to change her mind rather than respect her no.
We talk about motherhood and how absurdly high the bar is for mothers. Soraya says we have to resist the cultural bar for mothers and have more self-compassion. We talk about the inequality in responsibility for child-rearing often found in heterosexual relationships. For women of color, health risks are compounded because of racial discrimination.
We talk about the overwhelming number of women pushed out of the labor force because of the pandemic. Women are expected to sacrifice career and income to take care of the family during difficult times. If we want equality between men and women, women’s careers cannot exist solely in the margins of men’s careers.
Soraya explains that men and women are socialized to respond to threats differently. Women often adopt a “tend and befriend” response so they don’t get hurt.
We talk about sexism within religion; how women are commonly restricted from leadership roles simply because of being female. This teaches girls and women that what we have to say is not relevant and that everything important and godly must be mediated by the speech of men. This abuse of power enables oppression and violence towards women. Soraya encourages our listeners to find a place of worship that respects and values women and their voices.
Anger is an appropriate response to injustice. Our communities and institutions become safer when we appropriately express our anger at injustice. When we are disruptive, we are communicating our anger in a way that brings about positive change. We are often taught that anger isolates us from community, but Soraya says that when we allow ourselves to get angry about injustice, we will find like-minded people. The healthy expression of anger can bring us together, make our relationships more honest, egalitarian, and healthy, and can help us build bridges and find communities.
Music by Kate Short; Instagram @kate_tshort
Episode produced and edited by Kelly Browning; show notes written by Sarah McDuffee, Marketing Director: Robyn Boren, Social Media Manager: Molly Baize, Episode mixed by Audra Bridges.