& scream & holler : feminism and the performance of anger in the American twentieth and twenty-first centuries




Orem, Sarah Ruth

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As defending anger and “angry feminists” have become central projects for feminist critique, highly visible, large-scale performances of anger – such as rallies, protests, and consciousness-raising seminars – have been assigned special significance and value within feminist studies of anger. Urging for a paradigmatic shift away from thinking of feminist anger primarily through large-scale, organized performances practices, & Scream & Holler generates a new model of feminist anger that recognizes how the feeling matters in private, quotidian acts. Returning to the category of feminist anger in the wake of the scholarly turn to trauma and morning over the course of the last decade, & Scream & Holler theorizes what I term “everyday anger” in women’s literary culture: displays of anger narrated in drama, memoir, and fiction that unfold in the home or in domestic spaces, lack an immediate audience, and seem more hesitant than defiant. Accounting for the anger of communities of Black women, queer women, and women with psychiatric disabilities – women who might live in precarious conditions and who could risk experiencing violence if they articulate brash, open hostility or stage collective action – necessitates searching for ephemeral traces of anger that are coded and mediated. The writers I draw together approach anger ambivalently, challenging assumptions that expressing anger enables women to overcome the historical imperative to be passive.



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