The Value of Rage
I was raised to avoid anger at all costs, taught it was the mark of a lower class too intellectually poor to afford better expression. This is present in the feminist discourse as well, as Gilligan has always been treated kinder than Dworkin as I have discussed feminism with others.
This means that a body of knowledge is going unused, namely the epistemology of rage. In America, I am not allowed to consider the motivations of Valerie Solanas or Shulamith Firestone for advocating (even if jokingly) killing all male-gendered people or permanently abandoning pregnancy as “barbaric”. I am not allowed because of the intellectual and physical violence with which they act. As a pacifist, it is additionally uncomfortable for me to accept and value this viewpoint. Despite my difficulty, I must investigate and attempt to understand what brought these authors to the point of advocating these actions, if possible doing so in a way in which I can identify a part of myself that would act in the same way, as well as the part that recoils in disgust against these actions.
When I divide myself into a permanent tension of oppositions in this way, my attitude towards these authors attains clarity, and I can take them in, understanding that they are in me. It is important for all of us to undertake this process, no matter gender we identify as, as we all have the currents of the oppressed and the oppressor inside of ourselves. I understand that this last statement may seem like an escape route for myself, especially as I am speaking from a male standpoint (at least by physical appearances). I believe it would be more discriminatory, however, to deny women and men the their ability to understand both roles.
I have written before on the gendering of the First and Third world. If we undergo the same process of investigating motivations to understand the respective rages of the Third World and the bewilderment rapidly followed by rage of the first world, we can move towards an encounter unclouded by naievety.