For women, getting angry is socially unacceptable, even when the anger is over violence, discrimination, misogyny, and other forms of oppression. Anger is unacceptable because angry women are women in touch with their passion and power, especially in relation to men, which threatens the entire patriarchal order. It’s unacceptable because it forces men to confront the reality of male privilege and women’s oppression and their involvement in it, even if only as passive beneficiaries. Women’s anger challenges men to acknowledge attempts to trivialize oppression with “I was only kidding.” And women’s anger is unacceptable to men who look to women to take care of them, to prop up their need to feel in control, and to support them in their competition with other men. When women are less than gracious and good-humored about their own oppression, men often feel uncomfortable, embarassed, at a loss, and therefore vulnerable.
Allan G. Johnson
The Gender Knot