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Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  4,614 ratings  ·  741 reviews
A transformative book urging twenty-first century-women to embrace their anger and harness it as a tool for lasting personal and societal change.

Women are angry, and it isn’t hard to figure out why.

We are underpaid and overworked. Too sensitive, or not sensitive enough. Too dowdy or too made-up. Too big or too thin. Sluts or prudes. We are harassed, told we are asking for
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Atria Books
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Average rating 4.37  · 
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 ·  4,614 ratings  ·  741 reviews

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Rachel Reads Ravenously
4.5 stars!

“We are so busy teaching girls to be likeable that we often forget to teach them, as we do boys, that they should be respected.”

So, if you know me in real life you know I am a feminist and I am very liberal. If you don’t agree and don’t want to follow me on Goodreads anymore because of that, I understand. Go ahead and unfriend/unfollow. That being said, I loved this book.

In this book, Chemaly examines anger in women, the forces that drive it and ways of dealing with and utilizing
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: feminism, nonfiction
3.5 stars

Really loved the thesis of this book, that women's anger is a powerful force for change in response to sexism and discrimination. Soraya Chemaly is intersectional and all-encompassing in Rage Becomes Her, as she interweaves the experiences of women of color and lampoons the sexism that occurs in the workplace, in online communities, in families, and more. She discusses several important topics that parallel the power of women's anger, such as how women are expected to do so much more em
In Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger, author Soraya Chemaly explores and confronts the gendering of emotions, in this case the gender ideas of anger. Social norms teach us that anger expressed by females is undesirable, uncomfortable, and certainly not feminine, unlike with males where it is accepted because of its normalized tie to masculinity. She discusses how this suppression of anger harms women physically, emotionally, professionally and politically, and how the world would bene ...more
Laura Noggle
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
~ New Feminist Canon ~

Enlightening, enriching, and inspiring not to accept the patriarchy as the norm. This book looks at the anatomy and power of anger, and how it can be used to disrupt the social power dynamic.

There is so much I want to say about this book, but my best advice is simply: read it.

I've been on a feminist reading streak this month, and Rage Becomes Her is by far the most amazing one I've read ... ever. Although I previously stated Good and Mad was essential reading for 2019, th
Sep 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I am glad I read this book, but I didn't love it. It's not really a contemplation of anger that provides new insight or analysis. It's sort of a hodgepodge of feminist critique--all of the micro and macro ways in which women are harassed, discriminated against, and devalued. If you're a woman who has been paying attention to these trends, you likely know all of this stuff. Still, it's a thorough and sad catalogue of sexism. There wasn't much to learn from. If you are already mad about the state ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-faves
One of the most powerful books I've read this year, Rage Becomes Her gives voice to the causes, expressions, and possibilities of female rage. I will do a full video review on my YouTube channel Beautifully Bookish Bethany, but I cannot recommend this book enough. It says the things that have long needed saying. It also strikes the perfect note between anecdotes and hard research, making it very readable. This will make you reconsider everything. ...more
Andrea McDowell
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read Eloquent Rage, Rage Becomes Her, and Good and Mad sequentially over about a week, and I highly recommend doing so. They're very complementary. Rage Becomes Her is a sociological book with an incredible amount of research on everything that is making women angry and why that's not a problem; Good and Mad is a narrative journalistic account of the many times in history and the present day that women's anger has changed society for the better; Eloquent Rage is a memoir and account of feminis ...more
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Can you read about a book about rage without becoming angry? I certainly could not. Chemaly brings up many relatable experiences and topics: the role of women as selfless caretakers, fear of being publically harassed and shamed, women in politics, benevolent sexism, the #MeToo movement, Hollywood, and general injustices against women.

Clearly, the main topic revolves around anger. Women are taught to suppress their anger because to express it would be unladylike and against gender norms. Instead
Terena Bell
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book doesn't know what it wants to be. In the ARC, it's marketed, titled, and introed as an exploration into women's anger -- how the emotion manifests differently in women than in men, how women handle (suppress?) it, the effect it has on women's bodies. And in the beginning, it is, and this part of the book is fantastic. But then the narrative shifts with each new chapter an exploration into something unrelatedly different: a tirade about women not being paid as much, hodge-podge generali ...more
Britta Böhler
Well-researched exploration of gender unequality, focussing on present day USA.
Trista Hendren
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have been following Soraya's writing for many years, so I expected this book to be amazing—but it surpassed my wildest expectations. Rage Becomes Her will make you cry—and make you angry—but it will also leave you hopeful and filled with the energy necessary to create change. Astoundingly Good! ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“There is not a woman alive who does not understand that women’s anger is openly reviled.”

Honestly, Chemaly doesn’t state anything woman today aren’t at least vaguely familiar with. How many of us were told it is not good to express anger because it’s unbecoming of a lady? My friend's would describe me as sassy, which I chose to take as a compliment, and I'm sure some men I've come across would call me a 'fiesty Latina' trying to be flirty. (I think it goes without saying that those men did no
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is transformative. I am now constantly thinking about how I present myself and consider my emotional response. I have also been forced to do some reflection on what I consider my normal, quiet nature — how much of it is from my own innate personality, and how much is learned? There is a lot to think about here, and I am glad I get to discuss it with some strong women!
Jenna Bookish
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“In my experience, it is difficult for many adults to accept that boys can and should control themselves and meet the same behavioral standards that we expect from girls. It’s even harder to accept that girls feel angry and have legitimate rights not to make themselves cheerfully available as resources for boys’ development.”


Rage Becomes Her is a timely and extensive exploration of women’s anger. Chemaly discusses varying aspects of this topic, from the differences in the expectations we set for
Tonstant Weader
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rage Becomes Her is at once the worst and best book to have started in the midst of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation. I was already enraged and this book has so much more to make me angry, but it also puts it into context. Of course, the best thing Soraya Chemaly does with Rage Becomes Her is encouraging us to see our anger as healthy.

Chemaly begins by reclaiming anger. Women are supposed to be sad, not angry. We are not supposed to have the power of anger. Anger is a demand, sorrow is acceptanc
Mónica BQ
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars rounded up

Again, too US- centric for me.
Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut truths are spoken. And the eloquence with which this restless feeling of absolute madness is explained is top-notch. This is the non-fiction book that I needed to read right now.

"I hunt the grounds for empathy
And hate the way it hides from me
Of care and thirst I have become"
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(4.5 stars rounded up)

Rage Becomes Her is the kind of book that everyone should read. Yes, everyone, because women are half of the population of this planet. You should read it if, like me, you already consider yourself a feminist, but want to know more about it. You should read it if you hesitate whether feminism is still "necessary" - because women have "choices" now. You should read it if you're the type of person to say "we should call it humanism or something, because it's about equality fo
Nov 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know what to say about this book. It is so good. I wanted to start it again as soon as I finished it. Given how angry I am at the world these days, it feels so great to have someone else put your frustrations into words so succinctly and clearly.
Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)
I won this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to Goodreads, Atria Books, and Soraya Chemaly. As always, an honest review from me.

Rage Becomes Her might be my book of the year. It's incredibly powerful, poignant and validating for women. I want to share the book with every single woman I know. Actually I need every single person on the planet to read it. No arguments, just reading and learning.

With that being said, here are all the reasons why Rage Becomes Her is a must read book
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ----

After thinking on it & reading the other reviews I honestly don't think I have anything else to add. It's a great book long overdue in existing. I try to stay well-versed in most of the kinds of information that was discussed in here, but even so I still learned new things, & spent some time mulling over the content. Having not been previously unfamiliar with this subject matter, I must admit that having it all in one place, &

Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review soon! What a great book to finish as we enter 2019!
Esther Espeland
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
a fitting start to 2019! Very timely read if you want a neat articulation of what the ladies are up against these days. More about disparities that should make women angry than anger itself. Was really impressed with how intersectional this was! Freaking finally! Race was always woven in, (book was written by a woman of color) and trans women, non binary ppl and other LGBTQ folks got their air time! Also lmao how I was sexually harassed on the train while reading the chapter on sexual harassment
Ayala Levinger
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Soraya Chemaly does in this book what I missed in Naomi Wolf's "the beauty myth". She closes it with anger, not with apologies for sounding angry because this whole book is about our right to be angry and how being socialized to "manage our anger" is making us unwell. Thank you for this important work. One day I will get a printed copy. I will read it again, mark half the pages and get it signed like my "the beauty myth" copy.
It was amazing to listen to Soraya Chemaly reads her own work especia
Rita Shaffer
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Important book! I am so glad that I read this - I will think differently about how I present myself. And constantly work to support the strong, smart women around me.
C.M. Arnold
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a really great book on the subject matter of women's anger. That might sound redundant of me to say, obviously that's what it's supposed to be about, but nonfiction can be hit and miss. There have been times where I've been allured by a great title, only to be let down when the content didn't live up to my lofty expectations. Men Explain Things To Me, for example. I feared the deception of a good title and cover. Let me just say, Soraya Chemaly composed a book that is both clearly expres ...more
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Compared to That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) about Working Together that I read earlier this year, Rage Becomes Her was a harder read for me to swallow. Both books highlight how sexist treatment still prevails in the USA and overlaps with other prejudices. I even stumbled on the same exact sources cited between them, but Chemaly will always note whenever there is a severe lack of medical and psychological studies for women. A good chunk of her sources ...more
Erica Clou
Lots of salient and interesting essays about feminism.

I had a lot of favorite quotes. This, for example, describes my high school (class of 1997) experience pretty well: "In the classroom, it was almost certainly the case that the women were managing a double bind that we face constantly: conform to traditional gender expectations, stay quiet and be liked, or violate those expectations and risk the penalties, including the penalty of being called puritanical, aggressive, and 'humorless.'" Thoug
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.

This was a beautiful, much needed insight into women's anger. The author asks: can you read a book about anger without becoming angry yourself? The answer is still no, especially when it's an anger that is directly connected to t
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you're a woman who has lived enough decades and are well-read then nothing in this book will surprise you. It is packed with every hurtful, discriminatory, and abusive thing women experience every day all over the planet and throughout history. And while it won't surprise you, it can be infuriating to have all that presented in one well-researched, tightly written package. Don't read it before bed.

I do think this would be a good book for young women. And for my part I gained a better apprecia
Alyssa Foll
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am enraged.
There's nothing like growing more and more angry while reading a book on anger. And there is plenty of anger to around.

Soraya Chemaly, in "Rage Becomes Her," convinced me to plunk down cold, hard cash after reading the first few pages. The first chapter sets the rest of the book in motion; Chemaly makes it clear that this is a book about women's anger -- why it exists and how women are taught to express it (or not express it). Chemaly also explores why women have so much to be ang
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Soraya Chemaly is an American writer and activist whose work focuses on the role of gender in politics, religion, education, tech, and media. A 2016 Mirror Award Winner, her work appears in a wide range of publications including TIME, The Guardian, The Nation, Huffington Post, Verge, Quartz, The Atlantic and The New Statesman. Chemaly is also involved with multiple anti-violence and media equity o ...more

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“We are so busy teaching girls to be likeable that we often forget to teach them, as we do boys, that they should be respected.” 40 likes
“Anger is an assertion of rights and worth. It is communication, equality, and knowledge. It is intimacy, acceptance, fearlessness, embodiment, revolt, and reconciliation. Anger is memory and rage. It is rational thought and irrational pain. Anger is freedom, independence, expansiveness, and entitlement. It is justice, passion, clarity, and motivation. Anger is instrumental, thoughtful, complicated, and resolved. In anger, whether you like it or not, there is truth.

Anger is the demand of accountability, It is evaluation, judgment, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary, and participatory. It's a speech act, a social statement, an intention, and a purpose. It's a risk and a threat. A confirmation and a wish. It is both powerlessness and power, palliative and a provocation. In anger, you will find both ferocity and comfort, vulnerability and hurt. Anger is the expression of hope.

How much anger is too much? Certainly not the anger that, for many of us, is a remembering of a self we learned to hide and quiet. It is willful and disobedient. It is survival, liberation, creativity, urgency, and vibrancy. It is a statement of need. An insistence of acknowledgment. Anger is a boundary. Anger is boundless. An opportunity for contemplation and self-awareness. It is commitment. Empathy. Self-love. Social responsibility. If it is poison, it is also the antidote. The anger we have as women is an act of radical imagination. Angry women burn brighter than the sun.

In the coming years, we will hear, again, that anger is a destructive force, to be controlled. Watch carefully, because not everyone is asked to do this in equal measure. Women, especially, will be told to set our anger aside in favor of a kinder, gentler approach to change. This is a false juxtaposition. Reenvisioned, anger can be the most feminine of virtues: compassionate, fierce, wise, and powerful. The women I admire most—those who have looked to themselves and the limitations and adversities that come with our bodies and the expectations that come with them—have all found ways to transform their anger into meaningful change. In them, anger has moved from debilitation to liberation.

Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.”
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