A Feminist Guide to Dealing with Anger and Toxicity

By Rachel Dupree

SPOILER: Feminists are usually angry. Like, I’m enraged 85% of the time.

We have good cause to be mad—I mean, look around. Extremists are blowing up our clinics, harming our doctors, withholding our fair wages and causing a ridiculous amount of other anger-inducing things. It is damn hard to be a woman, POC, LGBTQIA and/or a non-binary person in the U.S.  Some of us feel like this might be the worst election season in terms of being bombarded with messages that are sexist, racist, hateful and harmful.

And honestly, it’s time to talk about it. I go on social media every morning for my news, and it just sucks. My mental wellness is in a strange place after reading these messages daily. It’s not only hard to be angry all the time, but it’s hard to know what we can do about it without damaging ourselves further.

“Burn out” in the movement is real, and while feminists give voice to the oppressed, we sometimes forget our own. So, from my own experiences as a person with moderate anxiety, I’ve come up with a small guide to self-care and speaking up.

1. Meditate regularly

If you’re not into being a hippie as much as I am, you might want to consider doing other relaxing self-care activities. However, if you haven’t tried meditating before, (or have tried it and you’re “bad” at it) I highly recommend doing guided meditations with the Stop, Breathe and Think app.

The app gauges your current emotional and physical state and gives you options for guided meditations based on that information. After that, a recording of a person guides you through breathing exercises and thought patterns for about ten minutes, depending on the meditation you choose.

You can also just choose a meditation from their list, which includes everything from calming down before bed, walking mindfully, increasing compassion and accepting change. I find all of these features to be really helpful and grounding in a time of political chaos, so I really encourage you to give it a go! If you’re still not convinced, check out this list of self-care tips.

2. Pick your battles

This is a tough one. It’s hard to know when people are genuinely asking questions, much less if you should answer them. It’s the difference between getting rightfully angry and trying to have a fruitful conversation about the state of women in the world. If you’re too far in, just getting angrier and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, just stop. My go-to for ending a feminist dispute is to suggest some reading material and dip. Ultimately, you know your limits and you know when something/someone is starting to affect you.

3. Speak your truth to find your people

Do you ever post one thing and then suddenly have 25 nasty mentions? Because #same. I even had a family member unfriend me once (whoops?). I’m here to tell you it’s okay, in case you didn’t already know.

Sometimes speaking your truth feels like talking to a brick wall. You feel like you’re not making a huge difference or making people on the other side think. While it’s not your job to teach feminism to the bros, it is your responsibility to speak out and further the thoughts of your community. It’s completely possible for one person to change another, but it’s a hell of a lot easier if you have a squad.

So, speak your truth to find and further your people. You all should support each other through the haters.

4. Follow these stellar accounts

Speaking of finding your people, I made a feminist Twitter starter kit for you. Follow these accounts! Find your people, people!

There are so many more, but this will get you started.

5. Stay woke, stay educated, spread the knowledge

Above all, keep up to date on current events in your community and country. But, remember that happy news deserves to be shared just as much as the chaos. Lift up and recognize the people doing good things for the movement. Shout the bad, shout the good—but please, keep shouting.

By Rachel Dupree

Rachel is a recent graduate of Drake University who studied International Relations, Global Public Health, and PR. She was a Summer 2015 Global Rights intern at the Feminist Majority Foundation. She has a lot of opinions and feelings.

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