Anger is diverted in women, who, as girls, lose even the awareness of their own anger as anger. Girls are taught, through politeness norms that suppress disruptive behavior, to use indirect methods of dealing with rage. For example, it’s “unladylike” to be loud, or “vulgar” to curse, yell, or seem unattractive. Adaptable girls find socially acceptable ways to internalize or channel their discomfort and ire, sometimes at great personal cost. Passive aggressive behavior, anxiety, and depression are common effects. Sarcasm, apathy, and meanness have all been linked to suppressed rage. Troublesome behaviors, such as lying, skipping school, bullying other people, even being socially awkward are often signs that a teenager is dealing with anger that they are unable to name as anger.
Girls, taught to ignore their anger, become disassociated from themselves.
Anger is so successfully sublimated that girls lose the ability to understand what it feels and looks like. Is her heart racing? Does she feel flushed or shaky? Does she clench her jaws at night? Is she breaking out in hives? Does she cry for no reason? Laugh inappropriately during difficult conversations? Fly off the handle over something that seems inconsequential? You can see where I’m going here…those crazy girl hormones, right? Better to just think of it as a phase.
On female anger.