Like most women, I do not typically have the courage to do what Williams did when she saw through the superficial decorum of the chair umpire and called it out: “Because I am a woman you are going to take this away from me?” Nor do I typically have the courage to make myself the face of women’s experiences, as Christine Blasey Ford did during the confirmation hearings.
For those of us who are not quite so bold as Williams and Ford, our anger smolders while we bite our tongues. It morphs into sadness because we cannot defend ourselves for fear of being seen as uncouth. And we cannot point out the bias around us lest we be thought of as whiny. What are we to do, then, when faced with such injustice? Perhaps some data can help us understand.
People do not like it when women are angry. Students shown a woman acting as a business leader with varying emotions rated her as less effective when she expressed anger than when she expressed no emotion. This is partially because angry women violate prevalent gender schemas which require women to be kind and nurturing.