CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? Trying to get the message across can be an exhausting process.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? Trying to get the message across can be an exhausting process. VasjaKoman

One man's angry is another woman's here we go again

CALLING a woman 'angry' is the default cry of the male who is in complete denial about what's going on around him. He wears confusion like a suit of armour and, when it comes down to it, is happy with the way things are thanks.

Liberally applying the angry tag to a woman is quickest way to dismiss her.

It's just another derailing ploy used by those whose own experience of being angry is when a footy game isn't available on free-to-air. What they are really saying is they don't care why you're angry. Or more pertinently, don't want to know why, because deep down it encroaches on their comfort zone.

So depending on where you fall in the grand scheme of society, being angry isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you are treated like second class citizen you have every right to be angry. If you face daily prejudices there's no reason why you should have to politely smile and suck it up. If you are treated with less respect because you were born female, black, in another country or with a disability, angry protests become part of your vernacular.

Being loud and irate helps to crack through the veneer of complacency but it's an exhaustive process, so little wonder we're all tired and cranky.

In some cases what's happening to angry people is so bad they feel everyone should be angry alongside them. But more often than not, that doesn't happen, which can be deflating especially when it's life threatening or the behaviour vile.

If you are brave enough to stand up to it and hit a nerve, abusive responses and undermining is pretty much de rigueur in this country. But you keep chipping away, hoping the mainstream will begin to understand your plight and save you the relentless task of having to point out everyday. It's how change happens but it can drag out over lifetimes.

I sometimes cop grief for repeatedly highlighting male behaviour that impacts directly on women both textbook bad and seemingly benign. You learn a lot living as one and watching what happens to other women around you so it's not a stretch to have an opinion about it.

Indigenous people get similar rebuttal when they question white Australia's behaviour and its response to things that have, and continue to, impact negatively on them.

We're all angry for different reasons but that's not because we want to be, it's in reaction to the society we've been inflicted with. Here in Australia it was constructed and implemented by Caucasian males and at present it's still very pale and very patriarchal despite what those men will have you believe - from their own perspectives of course.

Calling outspoken or non-compliant women nut-jobs and telling indigenous people to 'get over it' is wearing thin. As too is feigning confusion or ignoring these angry people in the hope they will shut up and go away. (Um, we're not by the way).

Indigenous people still have plenty to angry about. Pretending that they don't or stupidly blaming them for their own problems is only going to see the volume increase and not just on Australia Day. With more and more non-indigenous people supporting them in their fight for human rights and official recognition in their own country, prepare yourself for more damning evidence. Massacre maps, recounts of all kinds of racist behaviour and legislation, and questions posed like why don't we have a national indigenous institution honouring their presence both ancient and modern in their own country? Why don't we have a treaty or recognise our first nations people in our Constitution?

Women are also realising they have been duped and bullied their entire existence by men. Not just the thugs but nice guys and average Joes who on paper are decent and law-abiding but who all have stories and experiences that have contributed to where we are now. That would be where women are still being killed at the hand of her partner or ex every week.

Male attitudes from the subtly sexist to the plain aggressive, verbal responses both flippant and terrifying, physical treatment from sleazy to violent, it's all part of that melting pot of macho that has been undermining women since life itself.

My latest bout of angry woman syndrome arrived over the weekend, no not my period you jokesters (another popular male retort perpetuating a sexist culture), it happened after tuning into a morning news bulletin.

In half hour of stories I learned about another sporting club sexual assault and boofhead response to it, the latest on the guy who mowed down and killed 10 women because he was sexually frustrated, the celebrity who drugged and raped numerous women over his esteemed career finally brought to justice and a guy with a submarine and 'psychopathic tendencies' who tortured and chopped up a female journalist while denying anything about it until her body parts floated up next to him.

But wait there's more. In news that same day in Spain, a bunch of men including a police officer and soldier who planned and carried out the pack rape an 18-year-old girl ("involving every type of penetration, sometimes simultaneously” the prosecutor pointed out) while filming the whole thing for posterity, were convicted of the lesser charge of sexual abuse because she was immobile with her eyes shut the whole time according to the footage.

There seems to be a recurring theme here but of course none of this news is new or extraordinary which might explain why some people just don't get angry about it.

Thankfully others are prepared to on their behalf, so much so angry is becoming mainstream. Its causes are being talked about, male behaviour is being questioned and condemned, incidents reported and men held accountable (some at least) for the role they play in this dysfunction. Those with supporting roles are also being pushed in directions they didn't know existed. And it's only going to get louder and angrier as we go.

So strap yourself in, invest in some quality ear plugs by all means, but just don't call people angry unless you're actually willing to find out why.