I was talking with some women a few days ago about the expectations of their gender that bothered them most, the unanimous answer seemed to be having their anger belittled. “It’s your time of the month isn’t it?” “Calm down, it’s just PMS.” And other such jokes are the most overt ways that women and girls are told that it’s not ACCEPTABLE for them to be angry, that their anger or annoyance isn’t as IMPORTANT as someone else’s. It gets subtler and more damaging too; if a little boy hits someone out of anger in play I’ve seen them scolded for violence and told to find better ways to deal with anger, but if a little girl does the same thing she is informed that “it isn’t ladylike to hit” and that she “shouldn’t get so upset about thing.” What is the message there? To me the message is simply that anger is for boys.
The double standard is perpetuated through nursery rhymes such as “ What are little boys made of? Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails. That’s what little boys are made of ! What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all things nice. That’s what little girls are made of!” and the toys given to children, when older kids are roughhousing and misbehaving girls are called “trouble makers” while boys are just “being boys,” and when teens go through angry stages girls are always just hormonal while boys are rebelling and growing up.
Yours in queerness,