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Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger

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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 it, and asked if it would kill us to smile. Yes, yes it would.

Contrary to the rhetoric of popular “self-help” and an entire lifetime of being told otherwise, our rage is one of the most important resources we have, our sharpest tool against both personal and political oppression. We’ve been told for so long to bottle up our anger, letting it corrode our bodies and minds in ways we don’t even realize. Yet our anger is a vital instrument, our radar for injustice and a catalyst for change. On the flip side, the societal and cultural belittlement of our anger is a cunning way of limiting and controlling our power.

We are so often told to resist our rage or punished for justifiably expressing it, yet how many remarkable achievements in this world would never have gotten off the ground without the kernel of anger that fueled them? Rage Becomes Her makes the case that anger is not what gets in our way, it is our way, sparking a new understanding of one of our core emotions that will give women a liberating sense of why their anger matters and connect them to an entire universe of women no longer interested in making nice at all costs.

Following in the footsteps of classic feminist manifestos like The Feminine Mystique and Our Bodies, Ourselves, Rage Becomes Her is an eye-opening book for the twenty-first century woman: an engaging, accessible credo offering us the tools to re-understand our anger and harness its power to create lasting positive change.

364 pages, Hardcover

First published September 11, 2018

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About the author

Soraya Chemaly

9 books434 followers
Soraya Chemaly is a 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 organizations dedicated to expanding women’s freedom of expression and public parity. She has been named by Elle Magazine, The Telegraph, and Fast Company as among the most inspiring women to follow in social media and the co-winner of a 2017 Newhouse Mirror Award for Best Single Story. You can find her on Twitter @schemaly.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 995 reviews
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,826 reviews2,186 followers
September 25, 2019
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 anger in our everyday lives.

“It took me too long to realize that the people most inclined to say “You sound angry” are the same people who uniformly don’t care to ask “Why?” They’re interested in silence, not dialogue.”

I came across this book when I overheard a coworker talking about it. I’ve been meaning to introduce more nonfiction into my life, so I went ahead and requested it on audio and I am so very glad I listened to it. I found myself nodding my head and saying yes in the car to so many things discussed. For me, this book brought statistics and validation to things I already felt/knew but hadn’t gotten the science behind it.

Parts most interesting to me where the studies of how children are raised and how boys and girls are programmed differently. But the number one thing that stood out was how most parents/caregivers discuss most emotions with their children, except for anger. I think this is something we need to consciously change, ASAP.

This book won’t be for everyone, but I really enjoyed it. So if you are looking to learn, or maybe agree with what you already know, this is a great start.

“A society that does not respect women's anger is one that does not respect women; not as human beings, thinkers, knowers, active participants, or citizens.”

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Profile Image for Thomas.
1,459 reviews8,561 followers
December 16, 2018
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 emotional labor than men while also receiving punishment for expressing emotions like anger whereas men get praised for it. One of the many quotes about the uses of anger that I appreciated:

"What if we used frustration, irritation, humiliation, anger, and other 'negative' feelings to be methodical and demanding? First at home, then at school, then at work. This would mean critically assessing the comforting habits we support out of nostalgia and tradition, which would require no small measure of effort. It means walking out of places of worship, not buying certain movie tickets, closing certain books and picking up others, refusing to pay for certain products, and finding compelling ways to disagree with friends and family at the dinner table. It means explaining to grandparents, engaging with school administrators, and demanding rights at work. The slow and productive burn of anger is an asset. But leveraging it means taking a risk: the risk of finding out how much what you care about matters to your community."

Only giving this a lower star rating because the format of the book dragged a bit for me. Again, I loved the actual content and Chemaly's take-home message, I just found that some of the sections blurred together and read like a long list of research findings and related facts without a more cohesive structure. Still, I liked the book, and I am glad to see its emergence alongside other recent books about women's anger, like Eloquent Rage by Brittany Cooper, which I loved, and Good and Mad by Rebecca Traister, which I have and will read soon.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,727 reviews6,663 followers
September 21, 2018
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 benefit from the much needed voice that the healthy and penalty-free expression of women's anger would provide. Chemaly stresses that Rage Becomes Her is not a self-help book nor is it an anger management guide.
“Self-help, different from self-efficacy, is frequently what you do when you aren't getting the help you need from your society. We cannot “self-help” our way to being heard, taken seriously, paid fairly, cared for adequately, or treated with dignity. We cannot “self-help” our way to peace or to justice.”
Chemaly's research and writing provides enormous validation as she connects the dots between ignored anger and common women's issues ranging from shame to chronic pain, while also offering a look at culture, sexualization, women's rights, #MeToo, raising girls, and even the beauty industry which profits from it all. Rage Becomes Her is bold, confrontational, and angry, and it embodies Chemaly's very message that women's anger can lead to meaningful change. It embraces femininity and feminism equally, because it is. “Because the truth is that anger isn't what gets in our way – it is our way. All we have to do is own it.”

My favorite quote:
"If #MeToo has made men feel vulnerable, panicked, unsure, and fearful as a result of women finally, collectively, saying 'Enough!' so be it. If they wonder how their every word and action will be judged and used against them, Welcome to our world. If they feel that everything they do will reflect on other men and be misrepresented and misunderstood, take a seat. You are now honorary women."
Profile Image for Mehrsa.
2,234 reviews3,657 followers
September 16, 2018
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 of affairs, this book just confirms and validates your feelings. But what now? Also, I am not sure just expressing outrage is helpful. Perhaps men are given more latitude to do so, but it's also not effective when they do it. To just point out the double standard and say that women are not able to express anger is not enough in my opinion. Anger doesn't change things. If it pushes us to organize, then great. But we need to get beyond anger to make changes.
Profile Image for Laura Noggle.
677 reviews387 followers
February 1, 2019
~ 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, this book is even more powerful, and they make excellent tandem reads.

Are you a woman? Read this book.

"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, judgement, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary and anticipatory. 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."

"Sexism might alter your day, but misogyny and the power behind it will alter your life outcomes and shape the world around you at every level."
Profile Image for Bethany (Beautifully Bookish Bethany).
2,045 reviews3,441 followers
August 19, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Ausra Maldeikiene.
18 reviews299 followers
January 19, 2021
Esė pagal šią knygą pirmą kartą skelbta "Literatūroje ir mene", 2001, sausio 8 dieną

Yra knygų, kurios supurto. Jos it vaikiškas kaleidoskopas, kurio spalvoti stikleliai susideda į kaskart kitokį, margą, bet stebėtinai nuosekliai pasikartojantį vaizdą. Tokia 2020-ųjų knyga man tapo Sorayos Chemaly „Pyktis jai tinka“. Apie ką knyga? Apie tai, kad moterys išties turi dėl ko pykti. Ir apie tai, kaip, prisidengus tradicija ir šeima, atimama jų teisė spręsti ir gyventi.

Ei, garbingi vyrai, kada paskutinį kartą buvote apdovanoti klimakterinio diedo epitetu? Aš klimakterine boba pirmąkart buvau pavadinta prieš 23 metus, kai save tikrai garbingu laikęs rimtos naujienų agentūros mandagus ir taktiškas (kaip be to...) redaktorius pasipiktino mano sprendimu pirmenybę naujienų sraute skirti ne savaitinei automobilių pirkimo apžvalgai, o dienos biržos naujienoms. Nuo tada toks komplimentas lydi nuolat, net dabar, kai tas fiziologinis gyvenimo tarpas jau kadais baigėsi.

O kada, vyrai, buvote pavadinti nedapistais? Nedapista turgaus boba mane nuolat tituluoja vyrai ir moterys tiek mano veidaknygės paskyroje, tiek komentuodami visuose įmanomuose žiniasklaidos puslapiuose.

Kai vieno aukšto ir gražaus krepšininko žmonos, užklojusios mano vietą lėktuve savo rankinėmis, drįsau paprašyti leisti atsisėsti (dėl vėžio gydymo kojos nelabai laikė), jos vyras taip pasiuto, kad net 4 kartus garsiai lėktuve rėkė: „Nedapista boba, kurią išrinko Pašilaičių pašalpiniai.“ Neišlaikiau. Sunervino ne tas seksualinis veiksmas, kurio stygių puikiai regi visokio plauko komentatoriai, kiek panieka politikai.

Komiška, bet politiniu idiotu pavadintas anas krepšininkas isteriškai rėkė, kad jį pažeminau jo vaikų akivaizdoje. Kai savo vaikų akivaizdoje jiems į močiutes tinkančią moterį jis vadino nedapista, jo vaikai mokėsi tinkamo moterų statymo į vietą. Tegul nuo vaikystės žino, kam skirtos bobos.

Šią diskusiją girdėjęs garbus profesorius tesugebėjo išspausti: „Stengiausi negirdėti.“

Kaip socialiniai vaidmenys virsta biologiniais

Pastaruoju metu posocialistinėse valstybėse (tarp jų ir Lietuvoje) labai agresyviai kovojama su vadinamaisiais socialiniais lyčių vaidmenimis. Tiesa, bet kokio bandymo aiškintis, o apie ką konkrečiai kalbame, kai vartojame sąvoką socialiniai lyčių vaidmenys (angl. gender), oponentai nenori. Jie tiesiog a priori žino, kad socialiniai vaidmenys reiškia galimybę rinktis lyties tapatybę, o tai yra blogis, pakertantis garbingą tradicinę šeimą ir kažin kokiu mistiniu būdu dauginantis aniems neįtinkančių grupių žmones.

Vis dėlto imsiu ir pakartosiu klausimą. O kas išties mūsų, moterų ir vyrų, gyvenime yra nulemta biologijos, o kas – socialiai sukonstruota? Ir ką išties saugome, kai kovojame su sąvokomis? Esu moteris ir tikrai žinau, kad geriausia Dievo dovana už mano lytį – galimybė net porą kartų po 9 mėnesius savyje jausti bręstančius sūnus. Palaima – tegul ir skausminga – buvo juos gimdyti. Tikrai malonu glausti prie krūtinės ir žinoti, kad tavo pienas padeda vaikams augti. Bet čia biologija ir baigiasi. Visa kita – jau socialiai sukonstruoti vaidmenys.

Vaiko priežiūra, net jei visuomenė įpratusi, kad tuo iki darželio ar ilgiau užsiima moteris, visiškai įveikiama bet kuriam protiškai įgaliam vyrui. Tai įrodo ir vis didesnis procentas vyrų europiečių, ypač Skandinavijos šalyse, kurie prižiūri savo kūdikius ir mažylius. Lietuvoje taip pat vis daugiau vyrų, kurie išeina vadinamųjų tėvystės atostogų.

Mano jaunystėje buvo tradicija (tikiuosi ne ją dabar saugo visokio plauko tradicinių vertybių gynėjai), kad moterys gimdo labai jaunos, o paskui vaikutį augina tuo pačiu metu studijuodamos ir dirbdamos. Esu nuėjusį tą kelią, kaip ir daugybė mano kartos moterų. Ir džiaugiuosi, kad dabar jau turime kitokią socialinę konstrukciją, kuri pamažu tėvystei vis labiau įgalina ir vyrus, o moterims suteikia galimybę ilgiau pasidžiaugti savo mažyliais.

Išskirtinis socialinis lyties konstruktas yra ir vogčia moterims primetama neįgaliųjų ar senatvės bėdų kamuojamų šeimos narių priežiūra. Vadinamojoje tradicinėje visuomenėje vyrų rūpestis monetarizuojamas, taip jiems suteikiant teisę išsisukti nuo emociškai labai sunkaus kasdienio monotoniško slaugymo ar globojimo.

O moterims, ciniškai aiškinant, kad jos iš prigimties ir dėl biologijos švelnesnės ir nuolankesnės, paliekamas kasdienis, dažnai ne tik itin sunkus fiziškai, bet dar labiau emociškai sekinantis rūpestis ir globa. Taip metų metais globodamos neįgalius vaikus ar tėvus, jos esą tiesiog realizuoja tradicines moters prievoles.

Realiame gyvenime tokia moterų ir vyrų rūpesčio kitais skirtis, nors ją ir bandoma grįsti biologija, pasirodo kaip neapmokamas moterų darbas. Ir nereikia didelio proto suprasti, kad slaugymas, rūpestis ir pagalba silpnam šeimos nariui yra ne biologinė paskirtis, o socialinis konstruktas. Tiesiog visuomenė patogiai, daug nesvarstydama stumiama priimti, kad vaikų globa, tėvų karšinimas ir bet kokia kita emociškai sekinanti veikla yra moterų darbas.

Socialinis konstruktas yra ir visuomenės bandymas kiekvienai močiutei – nori ji to ar ne – įpiršti anūkų priežiūrą. Socialinis konstruktas yra ir nuolatinis seksualinis moterų objektyvizavimas kone kiekvienoje gyvenimo srityje. Toks pat ne biologijos, o tik sutarimo nulemtas dalykas yra ir patronuojantis visuomenės santykis su moterimis (rečiau vyrais), kurie dėl vienų ar kitų priežasčių gyvena vieni.

Per pastaruosius metus girdėjau daug „draugiškų“ skatinimų (net iš žurnalistų televizijos laidoje!), neva dabar, kai „taip išgražėjot“, susirasti vyrą. Nė vienas iš šių „geradarių“, vadovaudamasis tais pačiais visuomenės konstruktais, nė karto nesuabejojo, ar mandagus toks patarimas. O ir kam abejoti, juk tradicinių socialinių konstruktų pasaulyje net blogiausias vyras šalia moterį kilsteli į vienišosioms esą nepasiekiamas tikrųjų vertybių erdves.

Reprodukcinio teisingumo stygius, kai moteriai visuomenė primeta prievolę gimdyti ir auginti irgi yra šalutinis socialinės normos padarinys. Beje, ar girdėjote, kad ta visuomenė verstų vyrą auginti, o ne vien paremti pinigais jo pamestą kūdikį? Galima tęsti ir tęsti.

Vyriškumas sukurtas iš moterų pažeidžiamumo

Minėtos knygos originalus pavadinimas ilgesnis: „Pyktis jai tinka: moterų pykčio jėga“. Toks man patinka labiau. Pyktis – pradžioje tegul ir pyktis, kad esi nuolat verčiama objektu, įrankiu, pyktis, kad esi persekiojama, nes tiesiog neatitinki kažkieno lūkesčių, – gali gydyti.

Jau vaikystėje mergaitės mokomos būti geros, o berniukai – drąsūs ir aktyvūs. Savaime ši skirtis nesukelia didelės bėdos, svarbu tik sutarti dėl minėtų dorybių turinio. Ir vėl koją gali kišti semantika.

Gera mergaitė mokoma būti maloni, kalbėti švelniai, džiaugtis globėjišku vyro elgesiu. Gera mergaitė negali pykti (pyksta tik turgaus bobos, ar ne?). Tiesa, mergaitė gali romantiškai liūdėti, tad jau mažutė ji išmoksta savo pykti slėpti liūdesio kauke. Jei moterį užvaldo pyktis ir (ar) neteisybės jausmas, jai leidžiama kur nors vonioje paraudoti. Bet raudoti gera moteris turi tyliai, kitaip gali trikdyti kitų šeimos narių emocinę ramybę, o tai yra netinkama ir šiukštu neleistina.

Gera moteris, jei ir nesidžiaugia globėjišku vyro elgesiu, to niekada neparodo. Ji privalo nereaguoti net tada, kai tas esą kiekvienos moters taip trokštamas (kas kada klausė?) riteriškas vyro elgesys virsta palankiu geranorišku seksizmu. Moteris mokoma priimti paramą, kartu jai užmetant atsakomybę už kitų jausmus. Blogiausia, kad nuolatinis bandymas atitikti kitų lūkesčius, kuris formuoja moters pasaulį, pamažu pakerta laisvę ir galimybes.

Pyktis moteriai tinka. Tiesa, suvoktas pyktis, leidžiantis ir parodyti savo jausmus, ir pareikalauti pagalbos, kai nebėra jėgų (tiksliau – iki tol, kol tos jėgos išseks). Pyktis tinka moterims, kurios save gerbia, tad nematydamos adekvataus partnerio su bet kokiu nesitaiksto.

Kaip man gaila Lietuvos vyrų, kurie esą taip nukankinti, kad vargšams belieka tik žudytis, čia neraudosiu. Palieku vyrams patiems spręsti savo bėdas ir patariu: jeigu save gerbia, tegul liaujasi savo tingėjimą mokytis, dirbti, negebėjimą prisitaikyti ciniškai užversti ant moterų galvų kaip kaltę.

Ilgas, kartais sunkus gyvenimas pamažu išmokė adekvačiai priimti savo jausmus, supykus nevaidinti liūdinčios princesės. Viešojoje erdvėje esu tiek spardyta, kad išmokau nejausti, o mėlynes paversti paska­ta kovoti už kitus.

Mano profesija suteikia privilegiją būti visokių mačo ir jiems pataikaujančių moterų bokso kriauše. Manęs tas vaidmuo negąsdina. Pyktis man – normali žmogaus reakcija į neteisybę. „Pravertos moterų burnos ir jų aukštesni balsai jau nuo neatmenamų laikų laikomi beprotybės, pavojaus, chaoso ir žlugimo požymiais“, – rašo S. Chemaly. Belieka pažadėti, kad mano burna bus praverta, kol būsiu gyva, o mano aukštas balsas skelbs pavojų ir žlugimą visiems moteris naikinančių tradicijų apologetams.
Profile Image for Andrea McDowell.
569 reviews314 followers
October 22, 2018
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 feminism and anger in the life of one black feminist. They nicely span the range between global to personal, make a sincere effort to be intersectional, and if these don't put a fire in your belly on women's issues it's very likely nothing ever will.

Here's a quote from the end of Rage Becomes Her that encapsulates her book's arguments and really could be put on a motivational poster or a t-shirt (or a meme, if it were a little shorter):

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, judgement, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary and anticipatory. 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.

If you feel right now like you have a lot of rage, and don't know whether or not that's a good thing, and have no idea what to do with it all, these are three great books to read. I got to the end and felt about a million times better (though no less angry) and ready to make a lot of noise.
Profile Image for Krystle.
22 reviews32 followers
August 15, 2018
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 of sticking to this unhealthy social norm, Soraya Chemaly encourages women to understand and use their anger, not in the name of vengeance, but as a way to create positive change in the world. This involves having uncomfortable conversations, asserting oneself, and getting involved, such as joining a protest or starting a petition.

Overall, this was a great feminist read that encourages women to express themselves and strive for social change. She does not encourage blind rage or revenge, but encourages women to express and channel their rage in a healthy way, rather than allowing the anger to bubble up inside, which can negatively impact anyone. The book is intersectional and well researched. There were some sections that I found to be a bit dry, but I also found other sections to be completely absorbing. I would definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Terena Bell.
Author 1 book4 followers
September 14, 2018
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 generalizations about men having a lower pain threshold, a section on public restroom design. It stops being a book about anger and starts being a list of -- I don't know, I guess everything that makes the author angry. Then the narrative shifts AGAIN, turning into some sort of self-help book for women with inane tips like "get a therapist" (followed by several paragraphs on how therapy doesn't help women). Well, I don't need therapy to help me deal with my anger over this book. I just threw it in the recycling and moved on.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,653 reviews1,688 followers
March 26, 2022
"Is it possible to read a book about anger and not get mad? I haven't found it possible in writing one. What are we doing? Why does anyone think that men who cannot say the word 'period' and do not know that the vagina and stomach are not connected are competent and trustworthy leaders?"

I want to get my thoughts out before my book club meeting tomorrow (during which I have been told we will be smashing things! with protective eyewear). I almost feel like I should have read this twice, because I already don't really remember specifics, but I know this was a hugely, uh, enjoyable? That's not right. Entertaining? No no no. Well-written, engaging, infuriating. There we go! Yes, literally I had to stop reading this for extended periods because I could feel my blood pressure physically rising, and the veins in my head were like thrumthrumthrum.

It's like, there's a certain base level of things you just learn to live with, but when laid out back to back like this, and when she's constantly dropping in stories about women and their worst case scenarios, your brain just unconsciously starts to go, wait a second, FUCK THIS. Like, the husband stitch? WHAT EVEN. Her great-grandparents and her poor great grandmother? The entire chapter about sexual assault?? Just, rage emoji, FU meme, fuck all of this cat.

Helpfully, this isn't just a book that makes your blood pressure rise and leaves you hanging, it's also a book about how to use that rage to make productive change. It's about ungendering emotions, not just rage. She doesn't advocate going on a rage and fucking shit up. In fact, she explicitly says the opposite. That anger festers when repressed, that it should be acknowledged and used as fuel, not let alone until you feel like you're about to explode. I would give more specific examples, but I refer you again to the first paragraph, and remind you kindly about my terrible memory.

Highly recommend this one. Will be buying myself a hard copy. (The audio version was great if you're into that! The author reads it herself and does a great job.)

[4.5 stars, rounded up]
Profile Image for Rachel Polacek.
531 reviews9 followers
November 10, 2018
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!
Profile Image for Trista Hendren.
Author 28 books143 followers
September 14, 2018
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!
Profile Image for Clarissa.
313 reviews18 followers
October 5, 2018
“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 not get my number). I was often told that getting angry was not good for my health and my short temper was often compared to that of my grandmother’s. While she’s not the nicest woman, I have always admired her ability to speak “sin pelos en la lengua”. In other words, without a filter. In a way, my mother was right: suppressing anger is not great for your health and I have a healthy 82 year grandmother who is still living it up to prove it.

In Rage Becomes Her, Chemaly does a wonderful job exploring the sources of women’s anger (too many to list) and the effects of not being allowed to express it in the same way men can has on our psyche, body, relationships, and society as a whole. Here she encourages women of all ages to acknowledge their anger and learn to harness it in a constructive and healthy way.
Profile Image for Mónica BQ.
765 reviews117 followers
September 9, 2019
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"
Profile Image for Tonstant Weader.
1,185 reviews66 followers
October 15, 2018
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 acceptance. Then she spends several chapters reminding us why we should be angry, from pay differentials, the women tax, sexual assault, health care inequities, and the flat-out misogyny that impinges so much on our lives. I would read a bit and then have to get up and chop onions VERY HARD or take a short walk just to walk off some of the anger so I could read some more.

It’s not that I didn’t know a lot of this, but concentrating it is an intense experience. However, Chemaly does us the service of ending with a chapter on turning our anger into more than a fiery furnace so that it is instead, the optimistic demand for justice that righteous anger can be.

It took me far longer than usual to read Rage Becomes Her. This is not because this is not a good book, it’s because it is so very intense. Seriously, if you could measure injustice per column-inch, this book is near the saturation point. In spite of bringing all the scholarly receipts, Rage Becomes Her is a very readable narrative. Chemaly brings herself and her family into the narrative, telling of seeing her mother’s evident, but unexpressed rage and finding herself falling into the trap of perpetuating the ‘good girl” socialization with her own daughter who was being bullied. This kind of honest self-reflection reifies many of the broader themes.

This is not a happy book and it will make you angry, but you should read it anyway. We really need to see the bigger picture. We really do need our anger and we need to employ that anger to make the world less unfair and better for women, not just for us, but for the next generations.

I received a copy of Rage Becomes Her from the publisher through NetGalley.

Rage Becomes Her from Atria Books
Soraya Chemaly at Women’s Media Center

Profile Image for Mel.
256 reviews9 followers
November 19, 2018
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.
Profile Image for Anne.
353 reviews52 followers
August 12, 2019
(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 for both [sic] genders!" (This last one is a paraphrasing of what a man once told me in absolute earnest and self-confidence at a dinner party. Needless to say, I disagreed and told him why).

Chemaly has somehow managed to transform a lot of material (100 pages of endnotes' worth) on anger and feminism into a cohesive, rich, compelling book, that touches upon every important aspect of being a woman today: the body, the mind, thoughts, emotions, socialisation, sexual and physical abuse and violence, and so on. Chemaly argues that anger is something that culturally is accepted in men, and denounced in women, but that if women were to embrace anger and use its force, they can affect change and claim their place in a sexist world.

Because "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."

Or like an intelligent, treasured friend of mine once said when I was deeply upset about something: "Allow yourself to get angry, because you cannot be angry without feeling in the right, like what you think and feel matters". It's one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received.

I also very much enjoyed Chemaly's astuteness, because she can parse sexist statements like no one I have ever read before. Her sharp readings of events and remarks concerning the election of Donald Trump were extremely interesting, for example, and the way she incorporates very common arguments against feminism and dissects them to lay bare their ideology is fascinating and educational.

I was also glad to see that she included intersectional research wherever she could, with regard to race, class, sexuality, and gender, for like Roxane Gay has said: "All women must be included in the feminist project. Any feminism that does not include all people who identify as women, is trash."

(The only point of criticism I have is about some of the chapter titles. The titles of chapters 2,6,7, and 8 don't really encompass what they are about (they mostly reflect an anecdote or metaphor from the beginning and/or end of that chapter). I can imagine myself wanting to come back to a certain section in a year or so, but not being able to find it that easily, because I will have forgotten the anecdote or metaphor that is the key to these chapters' content.)
Profile Image for Donatas.
Author 2 books169 followers
December 9, 2020
Džiaugiuosi kiekviena verstine feministine knyga, nes ilgą laiką, atrodo, buvom atitrūkę nuo feminizmo leidybos aktualijų. Rimtesnė feministinių knygų vertimų banga užsibaigė ties kokiais 2000-aisiais, o po to – daugmaž tyla. Kai kas nors užklausdavo, ką feministiško galima būtų paskaityti, tekdavo vardinti dešimties ar penkiolikos metų senumo veikalus. Situacija, rodos, kažkiek keičiasi. Alma Littera neseniai išleido dar vieną įdomų verstinį kūrinį, kurį atsiuntė dovanų.

Tai 500 puslapių pusiau publicistinis, pusiau mokslinis tyrimas apie teisėtas moterų pykčio priežastis ir neatleistiną to pykčio ribojimą ir slopinimą socialinėmis „moteriškumo“ normomis. Knygos autorė, žurnalistė argumentuotai sudoroja kvailą klišę, kad „gera mergaitė“ ir „padori moteris“ neturi rodyti pykčio, nes tai – vyriška emocija. Ji siūlo moterims atsigręžti į šį jausmą ir atrasti jame ne destruktyvią, o produktyvią galią, nes įsisąmonintas pyktis, jos supratimu, turi gerą pokyčių užtaisą, leidžia judėti pirmyn, skatina spręsti problemas. O tas užgniaužtas ir nutildytas pyktis apsiriboja lėkščių svaidymu ir emocinėmis problemomis. Todėl Chemaly sako, kad reikia užsiugdyti pykčio kompetenciją: „Priešingai vyraujančiai nuostatai, kad pyktis temdo protą, šis jausmas jūsų mintims gali suteikti nepaprasto aiškumo ir blaivumo, jei tik pasistengsite jį perprasti“.

Radau daug įdomių įžvalgų apie tai, kad moterims leidžiama pykti, bet jokiu būdu ne už save ar savo patirtą neteisybę, o už kitus, pvz., savo vaikus. Tada jų pyktis suprantamas. Įdomu, kad feminizuotos specialybės yra būtent tos, kuriose privalu užgniaužti tokius neigiamus jausmus kaip pyktis (pvz., slauga, administravimas, aptarnavimo srities darbai). Rodos, kultūrinės normos sustyguotos taip, kad to pykčio moteryse nesimatytų.

Knygos silpnybę matau tame, kad Chemaly daug laiko praleidžia pasakodama, dėl ko moterys turėtų pykti, lyg norėdama užmotyvuoti jas pagaliau normaliai įširsti dėl patiriamos įvairiausių rūšių diskriminacijos, kuri detaliai aptarinėjama knygos skyriuose. Todėl specifiškai apie pykčio fenomeną kalbama palyginti mažai, o apie moterų diskriminaciją – labai daug. Kita vertus, tai paverčia knygą mažiau specializuotu objekto tyrinėjimu, o daugiau tokiu skaitiniu, kuris būtų prieinamas daugeliui, be ypatingo pasiruošimo ar nusiteikimo.

Bet užstrigo ir dar vienas aspektas – knygoje remiamasi daugybe tyrimų, tyrimėlių ir tyrimukų (gale išnašos užima 80 p.), bet įspūdis toks, tarsi autorė būtų niekaip negalėjusi apsispręsti, kurie įrodymai tikrai verti būti įtraukti, o kurie yra tiesiog įdomūs, bet neatlaiko rimtesnės kritikos. Dėl to knygoje atsiranda neesminių apibendrinimų, kuriuos reiktų remti ir ramstyti, kol jie taptų gerai pagrįsti. Ir kartais atrodo, kad skaitai referatą.

Su trūkumais, bet svarbi knyga, pateikianti išsamią lyčių nelygybės apžvalgą ir įrodanti, kad priežasčių pykti yra daugybė, o jei pykstama bus produktyviai ir kūrybiškai – ši emocija gali atnešti rimtus teigiamus pokyčius.
Profile Image for Jenna Bookish.
181 reviews97 followers
December 7, 2018
“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 male and female children, to the ways race intersects with gender to set our expectations. (For example, angry black girl stereotypes vs. the image of Asian women as inherently submissive.) There is a clear effort to make the topic intersectional and to show respect for the varying backgrounds and experiences of women.

While Chemaly is definitely making arguments and sharing her own opinions throughout the essays, the book is also brimming with facts. It’s evident that the work was very well researched and the author frequently cites studies to support her points.

Chemaly doesn’t make the argument that the sexism imbued in our society never harms men, but she does make an interesting point about her personal experiences from speaking to students in high schools throughout her career. When she asks students to give examples of sexism against their own gender, the girls, as a general rule, speak from personal experience. They talk about things that happen to them or things they have personally witnessed.

The boys tend to speak in hypotheticals and generalizations: disparities in family court, or the expectation that a man be the provider in a relationship. It’s very commonplace for feminists to talk about ways that the patriarchy ends up inadvertently hurting men, but Chemaly seems to worry that this tendency is an indication of missing the point; men have set the rules that now hurt men. Then the men who are hurt… blame feminists.

This review feels painfully brief, but I find it difficult to express my feelings about this book. If you are a woman, you will probably find the contents extremely validating and sometimes enraging. If you are a man, I hope you will find it eye-opening. It’s something that is at times difficult to read, but I think it’s important.

You can read all of my reviews at my blog, Jenna Bookish!
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Profile Image for Ūla Pociūtė.
86 reviews10 followers
November 10, 2020
Yra tokia grupė knygų, kurios, gaila, bet vis populiarėja. Apie tai, kokios vargšės tos moterys, juk jos turi būti ir mamos, ir žmonos, ir sėkmingos darbe, ir sutvarkyti namučius, ir suplauti indukus. Ir kad PASAULIS TOKS NETEISINGAS. Lūkesčiai slegia kiekvienos pečius, nes vyrai gali viską, o moterims dirbti reikia trigubai, nes - vėl - tie lūkesčiai. Čia tas kaip ir feminizmas, bet nu vis tiek ašarų pakalnė ir skundų puodas.

Tą patį galima ir apie garsiųjų sesių 'Perdegimą' parašyti. Kaip ir pastaroji, šitos knygos autorė irgi nori padrąsint tas, kurios būtent ir jaučiasi taip, kaip hiperbolizavau, bet iš to išeina dar viena erzinanti knyga, kuri galėjo būti one pageris su antrašte TAI, KAD TU MOTERIS, NEREIŠKIA, KAD TURI SLĖPTI SAVO PYKTĮ.

GAL aš gyvenu burbule. Ir sutinku, kad yra to seksizmo likę ir gerokai per daug, nei norėtųsi, bet nu o dievai, argi ne patys šitą pasaulį kuriam?

Žodžiu, ketinimai geri, bet man tik sukėlė pyktį ir tikrai nemanau, kad JIS MAN TINKA.
Profile Image for Veronica.
256 reviews41 followers
February 5, 2022
Soraya deftly explains why women are full of rage and why the world, including those close to us, try to minimize that rage to make others more comfortable. This book came at just the right time in my life, personally and politically, that I had to put the book down many times to scream, "YEEEES!" then swiftly picked it back up to keep reading. Rinse and repeat until the end.

Profile Image for Victoria | victoriashaz.
234 reviews398 followers
May 10, 2021
This was a fantastic, intersectional look at the ways in which society pervasively tries to quiet women and silence them. I'm so happy to say this is one of my favourite works of feminist non-fiction and will be recommending this to all of the women in my life.
Profile Image for Miriam.
410 reviews28 followers
March 27, 2022
My book club had our meeting about this today and it was a SMASHING good time. Those of us who were there today agreed that everything in this book is enraging as hell, and we were able to tell stories of ways we've been impacted by the same issues that Chemaly brings up. Our discussion also included ways our female ancestors were impacted. Then we smashed a bunch of stuff (if you are in our book club, and you missed it, head over to the blog so you can see some pics). It was amazing. But obviously, we're all still pissed about the fact that any of this (the book, our meeting, etc.) is even necessary. It's easy to feel like there's nothing we can do, but here's a short list of things that are attainable:
- Believe women
- Educate and employ women in the arenas of...city planning, medicine, law, politics...and everything else.
- Educate all children about responsibility
- Educate all children
Profile Image for Ericka Clou.
2,102 reviews163 followers
December 7, 2018
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.'" Though I think there were many more and worse names we were called. "Puritanical" would have been a relief by comparison.

And this describes my internal fears almost everytime I go for a walk by myself: "Men learn to regard rape as a moment in time; a discreet episode with a beginning, middle, and end. But for women, rape is thousands of moments that we fold into ourselves over a lifetime. Its' the day that you realize you can't walk to a friend's house anymore or the time when your aunt tells you to be nice because the boy was just 'stealing a kiss.' It's the evening you stop going to the corner store because, the night before, a stranger followed you home. [...]. It's the time it takes you to write an email explaining that you're changing your major, even though you don't really want to, in order to avoid a particular professor. It's when you're racing to catch a bus, hear a person demand a blow job, [...]. It's the second your teacher tells you to cover your shoulders because you'll 'distract the boys, and what will your male teachers do?' It's the minute you decide not to travel to a place you've always dreamed about visiting and are accused of being 'unadventurous.' It's the sting of knowing that exactly as the world starts expanding for most boys, it begins to shrink for you. All of this goes on all day, every day, without anyone really uttering the word rape in a way that grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, teachers, and friends will hear it, let alone seriously reflect on what it means."

There is certainly a lot more that can be said on the topic of anger in particular though. One thing that I thought was missing from these discussions is that shutting down anger is a political tactic that extends beyond sexism. Even male Democrats are told not to be angry, and "just accept" the results of multiple stolen elections, gerrymandered districts, Democratic governors stripped of power, etc. "A society that does not respect women's anger is one that does not respect women; not as human beings, thinkers, knowers, active participants, or citizens." Perhaps the problem is that increasingly there is less respect for the concept of democracy or human rights in general.
September 13, 2018
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:

- The author made me realize that I actually am very angry. Not annoyed, frustrated, sad, but angry. So many women have to put up with so much hatred, injustice and ridicule. And it's ridiculous.
- I can relate to almost everything that she's writing.
- I learned so much and so will you.
- Highlights the value of women as caregivers and the lack of value society places on us.
- Gives words to feelings and experiences that I've had before. Incredibly validating!
-Books this powerful set my soul on fire
-Teaches women how to make positive change using all that justifiable anger

There is nothing negative that I can say about the book.

Here are a few quotes that help to demonstrate the power of this novel:

"Angry women burn brighter than the sun."

"The unfairness that we intuit and experience but cannot "prove" as we are asked to do so often, are more likely to become internalized anger rather than externalized action."

"How much is a little girl worth?" -Rachael Denhollander

"Little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world." -Kyle Stephens

I literally had chills and tears while reading, from the power of the author's words.

Please, if you only read one book that I recommend this year, made it this one.
Profile Image for sara.
733 reviews162 followers
September 18, 2018
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 the injustice that you've lived through ever since you were born. It was very eye-opening, liberating and healing to read all about these instances; and, selfishly, to understand that I am not alone in my suffering.
It kills me to know that this entire humanity is built on the collective abuse of women everywhere. It is literally breaking my heart, to know that any silence that exists in history it does because of too much pain and too much stiffled anger.

It gives me hope to know that, in the end, no silence lasts forever. Because, in the end, this book is hopeful. It bristles with anger, raw and valid, but so valuable because it inspires change. I think we need to stare straight into the 'eyes' of the injustice we've suffered and say, no you have no more power. no, i will do this instead with my anger.
I can't say how much I needed this read. I'm so angry, and I've been so damn angry for such a long time over things I was never allowed to talk about. But hey, can you hear me now? Give me a bit more, and I'll try again, louder. I'll try to do better, for myself and for all the other women in my life.

It's really empowering, to have a whole 400 pages long book dedicated to validating feelings you barely acknowledged as existing. A thank you maybe is not enough.
Profile Image for Michaela.
72 reviews36 followers
August 18, 2018
---- 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, & reading about it all collectively really put me in a mood, so to speak. It's an appropriate reaction, but all I'm saying is that for your own sake maybe this particular book isn't the best choice for taking along on certain occasions, like to holidays w/ your "I don't want to hear it" kind of relatives. (Although one might cheekily "forget" to pack it & leave it behind at their house, or something of that sort. ;) ) Other than that note, this is a book I have already passed on to others, & find myself still thinking & talking about, which I believe is exactly what this book was intended to do. As such, I must decree it a fabulous success! Definitely recommend it, even to those that will never accept the subject matter as legitimate, b/c the information needs to be in everyone's heads. I'm so glad this exists! Thanks, Ms. Chemaly.

Profile Image for Magdalena.
300 reviews1 follower
September 21, 2018
I wanted to like this book. I need a book that delivers on the subtitle, "the power of women's anger." This book was an exhaustive and depressing litany of all the excellent reasons women have to be pissed off. Enraging to read! And I suppose it's useful to have such validation if you're a young woman, or an uninformed woman, or one who's never been to therapy. One chapter at the end detailed how to transform rage into power. I would have preferred a chapter apiece for specific women who were able to transform their rage into social action, such as the people who created HollaBack to address street harassment.
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