Author and activist Soraya Chemaly at SAL Benaroya Hall event. 
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Author and activist Soraya Chemaly at SAL Benaroya Hall event.
Credit: Courtesy of Sheila Addleman

Angry much? Soraya Chemaly says women should be

You’re about to listen to a talk by author Soraya Chemaly. The core theme is anger — women’s anger especially.

Guest introduction by KUOW's Community Engagement Producer Kristin Leong:

Women's anger can't be ignored anymore. We’re naming our rapists in #MeToo tweets. We’re shouting our abortions. We’re creating Google docs and Instagram accounts that not only demand accountability, but result in it.

But here’s the thing: Women’s anger is nothing new.

Before hashtags and pussy hats, women were putting their anger to work. From Sojourner Truth's seminal Ain’t I a Woman declaration in 1851; to Sylvia Plath's “Daddy” poem, so filled with rage that it couldn't be published until two years after her death; to advertising rebel and Make Love Not Porn founder Cindy Gallop tweeting "F*** that Sh**" in response to everything from all-male panels, to Harvey Weinstein, to the leather bikinis in “Justice League,” women have been justifiably enraged and speaking out about it since...forever.

Women were even angry in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the book of Proverbs warns: "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman."

So what's different now? Some might argue not much, with one exception — the existence of the internet and social media. Women now not only have platforms to share full ranges of emotion —including anger— but we now have a powerful web of connections and tools to #educateagitateorganize, too.

Nobody understands this better than Soraya Chemaly. Chemaly is an award-winning writer and activist whose work focuses on the role of gender in culture, politics, religion, and media. Her latest book is Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger.

In this powerful talk from Seattle Arts and Lectures’ recent event at Benaroya Hall, Chemaly unpacks the oppression of women’s anger from the personal to the political.

Her insights on preschool classrooms to pornography to the 2016 election are not just enlightening, but perhaps enraging.

Seattle Arts & Lectures presented Soraya Chemaly at Benaroya Hall on January 31 as part of their Women You Need to Know series. Carole Carmichael, former assistant managing editor of the Seattle Times, served as moderator. KUOW’s Jennie Cecil Moore recorded the event.

The full version of the event includes SAL’s associate director Rebecca Hoogs introducing the event, and Kalea Anderson-Kriegler from View Ridge Elementary School reading the opening poem.

Please note: This recording contains unedited language of an adult nature.

Listen to the full version below: