General Question

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Why are anger issues socially acceptable for men and not for women?

Asked by The_Compassionate_Heretic (14596points) April 19th, 2009

There seems to be this “conventional wisdom” that it’s somehow acceptable for men to express themselves through anger but when a woman does this she’s labeled “a bitch”. I don’t understand why the double standard exists.

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29 Answers

tigran's avatar

gender questions are not a good idea on fluther

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Why not? Is this a taboo topic?

live_rose's avatar

Because Men have a history of being dominant being the protector and if that needs anger/force so be it. And that anger has washed over from that protection fueled dominance to just ego educed dominance/ anger. I could be wrong . . . Im basing this opinion on nothing

fundevogel's avatar

Gender stereotypes die hard.

And people seem to think presence testosterone excuses as certain amount of aggression in men. Of course when women get hormonal its still our fault. I know we can be bitches but come on.

The fact of the matter is if you’re being a bitch or a bastard hormones don’t make it any more or less appropriate. Just more medicatible.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I was unaware that anger issues are acceptable for men. Certainly not in my book.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@BBSDTfamily I’m inclined to agree. There’s the whole “boys will be boys” attitude that enables this behavior but it’s unacceptable.

Deathcabforhottie's avatar

I don’t think boys will be boys is refering to anger most
If the time I hear it it’s used in the context of boy will
Be idiots and (insert stupid prank here). Though it is true thy men are expected
To be more a agressive doesn’t mean people tolerate it, and as for women there are two things:
A) men seem to want control and women to be submissive so to reinforce that any girl who gets angry is a “bitch”
B) you don’t normally expect women to be as agressive and violent as men

willbrawn's avatar

Why do women have to question everything?

3or4monsters's avatar

@willbrawn The person asking this question is male.

@The_Compassionate_Heretic I think a lot of the problems with gender labels is the pesumption of why the person (male or female) is acting out in the first place. The assumption for women in general is that they are being irrational or unreasonable (internal source) whereas for men, they must have been provoked (external source).

The problem with these assumptions is that it precludes the possibility that an unreasonable circumstance has backed a woman into a corner wherein she reacts aggressively (defensively), and does not acknowledge that men can be irrational or unreasonable… as we all know from personal experience, is just as likely.

I blame movies and television, honestly. Modern people don’t look enough to eachother for their understanding of human nature, and spend more time being spoonfed the fiction of gender rolls from media sources who just want to make a dollar and don’t really care that much for people. But that’s neither here nor there.

rooeytoo's avatar

This is very noticeable in professional tennis matches. When a male player swears or throws or breaks a racquet the audience usually reacts minimally but when a female player reacts in a similar fashion, the hisses and boos from the spectators is always fast, loud and disparaging.

I’m so glad that I don’t buy into that stereotype, I can cuss and break racquets with the best, heheheh!!!

AlfredaPrufrock's avatar

I don’t think anger is acceptable in males, but a certain amount of aggressiveness is. Society expects girls to be nice, or people won’t like them. Aggressiveness in girls comes across as “bitchy.”

3or4monsters's avatar

@rooeytoo Perhaps we are more willing to forgive the childish outbursts of men, but hold women to a higher standard? That might be wishful thinking.

fundevogel's avatar

@3or4monsters – Generally speaking, when you hold people to higher standards, they will also start holding themselves to higher standards. Cutting them slack isn’t going to help the problem.

rooeytoo's avatar

@3or4monsters – I believe that is true, more is expected of women, I think unfairly

@fundevogel – I agree, I think many use the boys will be boys line as an excuse for boorish behavior. Through the ages men have pretty much made the rules so they made them easy on themselves.

The answer in my opinion is that all people treat all people with respect and dignity and delete the cultural gender based attitudes and excuses and expectations.

mattbrowne's avatar

Perhaps sex differences in human brain morphology, for example the size of the corpus callosum. But it’s only a speculation.

fundevogel's avatar

I’ve known plenty of genuinely great guys that don’t have anger or aggression issues though so you can’t just pass this off as biological male thing. Or at least not an insurmountable biological male thing.

asmonet's avatar

@tigran: You’ve been here what, five minutes? The only thing the users of Fluther don’t welcome are sweeping statements and generalities.

3or4monsters's avatar

@fundevogel I don’t see where I said we should be cutting anybody any slack. I just stated that perhaps that is what is going on in our society at large.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I didn’t know it was socially acceptable for either. When a man loses control, we often first laugh to ridicule him then pick him apart at the seams.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@3or4monters astutely mentioned that this prevalent in sports. When Tiger Woods gets mad and yells at the gallery, he’s called “competetive”.

adreamofautumn's avatar

@asmonet I was going to say it but you beat me there! Damnit!

I think we’re moving towards a time when it’s not really acceptable for anyone to be expressing themselves in overt anger on a regular basis (occasionally those moments when you are really, genuinely pissed are bound to happen), but that may just be the dream of living in a liberal collegiate bubble. I think it has been mentioned, but the “boys will be boys” attitude needs to be nixed from childhood, telling young boys it’s okay to act in a certain way because they’re boys will only perpetuate this problem. I think society saying it’s “okay” is the biggest cause for this discrepancy.

fundevogel's avatar

@3or4monsters – I didn’t mean to imply you did, I was just regurgitating little behavioral trivia your post reminded me of.

3or4monsters's avatar

@fundevogel Aha! :) I understand.

tinyfaery's avatar

It’s a cultural thing. In gang culture women are expected to be violent and agressive, and they behave as such.

I agree with @The_Compassionate_Heretic about gender bias when raising kids. Boys are allowed more leeway when it comes to agression. But, I do believe that attitudes about outbursts of anger in men are changing. Or at least, let’s hope they are.

cak's avatar

@tinyfaery – I think both you and @The_Compassionate_Heretic landed on something in regards to gender issues (anger) while raising children. I have a boy and a girl – big age differences, though. When I take my son to things where his friends – mostly boys, are all together, the aggression level is higher than I ever saw with my daughter and her friends. The difference, some of the parents excuse it (boys are wired differently, boys are just naturally more aggressive) and some, like my husband and I, don’t tolerate it, at all. We accept that boys and girls (men and women, too.) get angry. That’s fine, it’s an emotion; however, how it’s handled, matters. We are showing him how to handle anger, because outbursts and aggression, that’s not okay.

Unfortunately, there is still more of an acceptance of men and anger and how it’s handled, versus woman and how they handle anger issues. It’s not okay. I find it very annoying when a man can express their anger in a more aggressive or boisterous manner, than a female. We are told to control ourselves, pull it together. Men, well – they are given space, let it blow over…give them time.

I do think there is less tolerance than there used to be, but it is a very slow change.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m just wondering if there is any evidence to support the assertion that it is more socially acceptable for men to express anger in public. In my neighborhood, more women express anger in public (usually at men). I don’t know whether that is relevant to the issue of accepting anger. However without a study asking this question, I have no idea whether the assumption in the question is true or not.

alossforwords's avatar

I have seen first hand (with a family member) that men are prosecuted more vigorously for laws that are broken involving fighting and other aggressive behavior. Men are usually less emotionally involved even when it comes to anger. Physical aggression comes with the territory in human males. In the insect world, it’s usually the women that snap and eat the men and other women when they get pissed. Society expects a degree of maturity from women because they are the “mothers and caretakers” in most cultures. Gender roles are not necessarily a bad thing.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not all males are physically agressive, or any type of agressive. It comes with the territory due to culture.

Strauss's avatar

I’ve heard this type of behavior excused in men as “male aggressiveness” and in women as “PMS”. I don’t buy either.

a female friend of mine, many years ago, used to joke that the “P” in her PMS could stand for “pre-”,“post” or “peri”, meaning it could happen at any time!

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