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What Does the ‘Angry Feminist’ Label Mean, Anyway?

The author of Skin breaks down angry feminist label

The angry feminist. Yes, I’ve been on the receiving end of that stereotype more than once. In today’s guest post, author Cira Mancuso answers the question of what does the “angry feminist” label mean. Her views on both gender discrimination and female empowerment are well worth the read. If this guest post is any indication of what her upcoming book Skin is like, then it is sure to be a compelling page-turner. 

Gender Roles in Childhood

My father always dreamed of having a baby boy.

He got me instead.

Despite the attempts to enroll me in every co-ed sport possible, I never became the tomboy my father hoped for. But I also never became the “girly-girl” all my friends seemed to embody. I loved princesses, Belle especially, but I also loved my toy construction desk full of fake power tools. I loved clomping around in my mother’s high heels, but I also decided to be a NASA astronaut for Halloween, covering my barbie jeep in tin-foil to make it a Moon Rover.

Essentially, I was a living juxtaposition, never fitting neatly into either gendered worlds. I drifted easily between the two until puberty, when my visa to the boys club expired and the world of “femininity” was forced upon me.

Gender Bias is a Reality

It’s easy to lose ourselves in our realities, to forget about the great wide world out there. At least, it’s easy for some people. Others are plagued by reality, by the life they were simply born into, and the consequences that come from that fateful chance. I was lucky to have a father who, although he had wished for a boy, fully embraced having a daughter. He never loved me any less because of my gender.

But this isn’t the norm. An estimated 1.5 million fetuses are aborted each year because they are female.

Shocking Stats about Gender Equality

Consider these other simple, yet telling facts, and as you do, think about how they make you feel:

I will tell you how I feel after reading those numbers: angry.

Dissecting the Angry Feminist Label

Yes, I’m angry.

I am angry because the world has never been so interconnected yet so oblivious to the reality of the condition of over half of the world’s population. Sexism is a pervasive reality that both scientific studies and evidence-based experiences corroborate. Women do not receive treatment as individuals.

Instead, we receive labels, stereotypes, and deconstruction, all to fit standards that are (purposefully) impossible to achieve. Humanity is gendered, and not in a way that simply recognizes gender differences as exactly that—differences—but in a way that uses differences as a tool of oppression.

I passed in the “male world” until I physically couldn’t anymore. Then people put the angry feminist label on me because I didn’t want to be the woman who the world wanted me to be.

This angry feminist label has been propagated to systematically dismiss the absolute truths of gender inequality.

What does angry feminist mean?

We’re Not Excluding Men as Feminists

Angry feminists are pegged as “man-haters.” But women who are angry are angry because they aren’t listened to. I wouldn’t be angry if the world validated my experiences, instead of ignoring or belittling them.

They’re also treated as a classic example of “women being emotional.” Reacting with “not all men” or “men are feminists too” is a defense mechanism to protect fragile masculinity.

The reality is that the women’s movement has never condemned “all men.” That’s because the majority of us know that there are men fighting alongside and supporting us.

Writing to Empower Women, Including Myself

Writing has been my escape—the paper and pen never deny my reality. My forthcoming book of poetry and prose, SKIN, has an entire section inspired by female empowerment and gender discrimination. The book is about the unspoken; the things we bury and hide beneath our skin.

Women have been screaming their stories from the top of their lungs and all they’ve been met with is the echo of deafening silence.

Some of the pieces stem from my own experiences, but the women around me inspire many of them. They are the women who wake up fighting every day. Women like Dr. Ford, who knew that testifying in the U.S. Senate about a sexual assault perpetrated by a Supreme Court nominee would lead to denial, hatred, and even death threats. She did it anyway.

I’m Not Fighting the Angry Feminist Label Any Longer

I have stopped resisting the “angry feminist” stereotype. It used to bother me, even offend me. But I realize now that I’m proud of it because it means I care.

It means I have enough fight in me to eventually emerge from the ever-looming patriarchal shadow I’ve had to live under. Call me angry. Call me dramatic. Or emotional. It’s a reflection on you, not me.

Lastly, the more society ignores women, the angrier we will become. Differences may be the tool of oppression, but anger is the tool of change—and nothing is strong enough to withhold the flood of women demanding change.

About the Writer

Cira Mancuso is a sophomore at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. Her book, SKIN, will publish in July 2019. You can pre-order a copy and learn more about her book here. Follow Cira on Instagram @cbmancuso and Twitter @ciramancuso.

28 thoughts on “What Does the ‘Angry Feminist’ Label Mean, Anyway?”

  1. This is 2019, and there is still a long way to go before we are truly all treated equally. It takes people possessing strength, determination and the motivation to keep going forward and not settling for the way things are. We can only hope that someday everyone will be treated equally in all aspects of life.

  2. Another great article, and all within so true. Thank you Christy, even if my mother has actually ignored by the mayor of our village. This mayor really wrote to architects from whom my mother wants to get information about rural development according to our house, they – the architects should ignore and not answer her. Our country government also did so. Unbelievable how some of our officials here are acting against equality between women and men. Thank you for your fight on womaen rights. Best wishes, Michael

    1. Oh that’s terrible that you mother had that happen to her, Michael. And from people in supervisory positions too :( I know you support her and wish more people were pushing for her to get the information she deserves to receive.

    2. Thank you very much for your Sympathy, Christy! It’s bad already, but not Uncommon in Bavaria. Here with the Christian Party, only Women who subordinate themselves to the man, are accepted. How highly Women are accepted can be seen in the last two Prime Ministers of Bavaria. Both of whom had cheated on their first wives. ;-)

  3. I like hearing statistics like this, but I wonder are those numbers pertaining to the world? or one country? I personally have never experienced a world of sexism. I am a woman. I was raised very tomboy-like and I have never seen problems where I live in America so I have never jumped on the feminism band wagon. I have seen no more stereotypes about women than I have men. But maybe others are looking at a bigger picture than I am? I feel as if America has mostly jumped on the feminism culture and that other countries haven’t? Is this the case?

    1. Hi Bianca, I’m glad you’ve never experienced sexism. Sadly it is still happening as per the many comments left on this post of women’s experiences in the workplace: ~ I’m not trying to plug that article, only to encourage you to read the comments on it left from women and men that speak to the fact that yes sexism still exists. And I know some of the commenters so I can vouch for the fact that they are from different countries, including the U.S. as one of those places.

    2. I can’t say that I have experienced sexism anywhere as bad as some of the women and girls mentioned in the article, but sexist attitudes are easily found. Any time a spouse, a coworker, or a friend belittles or disregards an opinion with a question about the time of the month, is sexism. Any time someone fails to see you as a person first and as gender second, is sexism. Unfortunately, we are so used to these behaviors we don’t always react, or even register the insult. Only by standing up for ourselves can we expect change.

    3. I LOVE your comment Amy becuase I feel your strength and passion in it. We MUST stand up for ourselves and for women in general. And you are doing exactly that xx Thank you.

  4. Thank you, Cira! This is a heartfelt post, backed up with stats. Sigh!!! Now that the so called 4th wave of Feminism is upon society, I find the opposition has taken a new tact. They have come up with the term “Femocracy” in saying that feminism has become a power that does not want to share life with men, but rather to replace male domination with female domination. Anyone who believes that, woman or man, is off centre.

    1. Hi Resa, Femocracy has me upset too, as you already know :( And that Margaret Atwood take on #MeToo, boo! So much going on and not all that we support… Let’s keep reaching for respect as there’s more work to be done! Thanks for appreciating Cira’s post!

  5. Thank you, Christy, for sharing the article about feminism. It speaks to the truth that the movement isn’t anti-men but a call for social justice and acceptance of the value each gender and individual brings to the culture. It often takes anger to motivate a person to action and to resolve the social injustices.

    1. Yes! It’s important to share stories of female empowerment, as well as dispelling myths. Cira has expressed her thoughts well in this guest post. I’m pleaded by your feedback.

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