How annoying is it to deal with someone telling you to calm down whenever you’re impassioned about something? As one fiery chick I’ve heard this for most of my life, especially when I’m talking about issues that affect me as a marginalized person; I’m black and I’m a woman, there are plenty of things for me to be angry about. But anytime I’m not preaching to the choir when I’m complaining about street harassment or racial profiling–in real life and online–there’s always got to be that one person who tells me to calm down.
I’ve been seeing this mantra a lot during the Ferguson saga. Well meaning people keep tweeting “anger doesn’t solve anything, it only makes things worse!” Uh, no. Can we stop trying to police emotions? Can we let people be angry about a really effed up event? Sure, some anger can make situations worse, but let’s not ignore the fact that it’s the anger of people who have been wronged that helps bring positive changes. Like the saying goes, if you aren’t angry then you aren’t paying attention.
Listen, if someone has ever told you to calm down about the following seven things, tell them to back off.
Homophobic And Anti-Queer BSQueer voices are silenced all the time. Listen, just because some states and countries are allowing same-sex marriage doesn't mean that the lives of tons of LGBTQ folks are peachy. Their representation in the media is lacking, transgender people (especially transgender women of color) are being murdered left and right and many school proms still won't let gay couples go to prom together. I think that young queer girls have a lot to be angry about, and rightfully so! Photo Source: But I'm A Cheerleader
Our Society's Effed Up Approach To Body ImagePlus size women are shunning bikinis because they're afraid of being mocked. Girls are suffering from body dysmorphia because of their inability to reach the beauty standards that they think they need to achieve to be valued. How many of us have considered some ridiculous, unhealthy crash diet in an attempt to lose a few pounds really quickly? How often are dark skinned girls told that they would be prettier if they were lighter? Don't tell these girls to calm down. Photo Source: My Mad Fat Diary
Racism, Period.With a show of hands, how many of you non-white readers have been accused of playing the "race card" just by pointing out something you know is either obviously racist or has racist undertones? Doesn't that feel awful? It's as if our feelings don't matter, as if we're making stuff up to be angry about. Um, no, we just have to look around us to be upset about the way things are. Whether one of our own is allegedly gunned down by a police officer or we're trying to find diverse representations of ourselves in the media, racism is still a problem that many young women women have to deal with! Some instances are big some are small, but they all matter! Photo Source: Dear White People
Sexism EverywhereHow can you not get angry about sexist advertising? How can you not get angry about the lack of female directors in the film industry? How can you not get angry about how we're disproportionately affected by rape culture? If you're not angry, you're not paying attention! Photo Source: The Simpsons
Class IssuesWe don't talk about class issues too much on Gurl, but we should, because it's not just something you start thinking about when you're a grown up. Try being a teenage girl from a lower class family who can't afford to go to college because the cost is out of this world! Or the girl who feels left out because she can't afford to buy a whole new wardrobe every school year and has to work after school to keep her family afloat. Plenty of real girls deal with that BS all the time and telling them to stop complaining and suck it up does more harm than good. Photo Source: Shameless US
Your Mental HealthMental health issues are so stigmatized. Unfortunately, many people who don't suffer from them would rather brush them off than listen to you talk about it. But you're not selfish for talking about your depression. You're not over-exaggerating for talking about how your ADHD is taking its toll on your anxiety. You're not being a brat for complaining about living in a world in which your mental health problems are ignored. Find healthy outlets for your anger, but you're not wrong for getting upset about being misunderstood. Photo Source: Some Girls
Street HarassmentYou don't need to lighten up if you feel offended by someone obnoxiously checking you out on the street. You don't need to get a sense of humor if you don't appreciate random men telling you to smile. You don't need to get a grip if you aren't flattered by some creep trying to follow you and calling you baby. Street harassment is annoying and scary, and it's okay for you to feel angry about its prevalence. Photo Source: Stop Telling Women To Smile
And if anyone ever tells you that you’re overreacting or being irrational, just send them this link.
What other things are you sick of people telling you to calm down about? What’s the biggest argument you’ve ever had about an issue that you’re passionate about? Tell us in the comments!