Monday, June 3, 2019

Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Rage, by Rebecca Traister (author, narrator)

Simon & Schuster Audio, October 2018

This book was, in some respects, hard to listen to. Early sections of it plunged me right back into what I was feeling in late 2016 and early 2017, and those were not good feelings.

It is, though, a very good, enlightening, informative, and useful look at the women's movement, and its roots and antecedents. Traister examines the ways in which women's anger is both dangerous and useful--and even healthy, which is not something many sources will say about anger. Yet we do know that bottling up anger with no outlet is unhealthy, and it should be obvious that finding useful and productive outlets for it can only be good for us.

But this isn't mainly a book about emotions. It's about the ways the we have had to fight the same battles over and over again, and yet each time making a little bit more progress, with a bit more freedom, a bit more bodily  autonomy, a bit closer approach to equality.

And it's about the different experiences that white and black women have, and always have had in this country. African-Americans have never really been able to lapse into complacency, while white women, if they have good relationships with the men in their lives, often can for long periods. One result of this is that African-American women know a great deal about organizing, resistance, and the risks that white women have had to relearn every time another boiling up of resistance against white male patriarchy emerges.

Yet the same social forces that let white women forget about the problems for long periods also mean that white women have valuable resources to bring to the struggle, when social forces remind us that it's our struggle, too.

Traister doesn't put it quite this way, but we need to not get distracted into resenting and fighting too much with each other, but rather learn from each other, learn to collaborate, and focus on what this is really all about.

Parts of this book are very difficult. Not everyone will be in a mental and emotional place where they can read it. But if you can, it's well worth doing.


I borrowed this audiobook from my local library.

No comments:

Post a Comment