It’s not often we get to see a prime-time offering of smart, accomplished and angry women on our screens but that’s exactly what we got.
By
Saman Shad

5 Nov 2019 - 12:29 PM  UPDATED 5 Nov 2019 - 2:00 PM

OPINION

If you’re going to have someone like Mona Eltahawy on your show then you’re going to have to expect fireworks. Especially the “f-bomb” kind. And that’s exactly what happened on Monday's episode of Q&A.

“You're asking the person here who travels the world to say ‘f--- the patriarchy’,” passionate Egyptian-born feminist writer Eltahawy fired off. 

While ABC host Fran Kelly tried to keep things under control, the fact of the matter was there was no controlling a panel of women who were fired up, and let’s face it, angry.

It’s not often we get to see a prime-time offering of smart, accomplished and angry women on our screens but that’s exactly what we got. And it was refreshing. Mild-mannered viewers however may have found it confronting viewing, especially as for so long angry women have often been portrayed as being deficient in some way or “not of sound mind” on our screens.

Women are angry because things are unfair. 

Maybe sometimes women have to lose our minds a little to get the message across.

“How many rapists must we kill until men stop raping us?” Eltahawy asked at one point.

“I wonder what our kind of tipping point in Australia's going to be when people will start burning stuff? I look forward to it,” writer Nayuka Gorrie chimed in.

These were provocative statements but they were being said for a reason – because women are sick of sitting around waiting for society and the world at large to change just so we can feel safe, or at the very least have equal footing in a world very much in men’s favour.

As domestic violence researcher and author  Jess Hill reminded us, being provocative was a strategy used by the suffragettes: “If anyone’s shocked by what Mona’s suggesting, you just have to look back to history, and a certain faction of the suffragettes … they used violence. They thought what they were fighting was a civil war between the sexes.”

In the 1910s the suffragettes conducted a bombing and arson campaign across the UK, including carrying out attacks on the houses of MPs, churches, railway stations etc, because they wanted women to have the right to vote. Many of these women were subjected to police brutality and sexual assault. And while most of us would disagree with their methods, some may argue that’s what it took for women to get the vote – at least in the UK.

As far as I could see the f-bombs were being dropped as much out of anger as they were out of passion.

But last night’s Q&A wasn’t just about the fiery statements and the rallying cries for action, it was also about the swearing. It seems we are still not used to the sight of women saying the f-word without it affecting our sensibilities.

As far as I could see the f-bombs were being dropped as much out of anger as they were out of passion.

The women on the panel last night are at the forefront of making change. They are writing books, giving speeches, travelling the world speaking out about how society is constructed to put women at a disadvantage.

They are used to repeating certain statements till they are blue in the face, often without being listened to. At least by swearing and making provocative statements this time they are being heard.

I for one would love to see more women openly expressing their anger. We are taught from a young age to curb this fieriness inside of us. We are deemed bossy or difficult if we let this anger seep out from time to time. But it should be OK.

Women are angry because things are unfair, society continuously puts us down and while no one is seriously suggesting violence as a means to win equal footing, at least being vocal about our unhappiness will perhaps mean things change sooner rather than later.

You can follow Saman on Twitter on @muminprogress. 

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