Do you know what pisses me off? Warren Buffett calling out Elizabeth Warren for being angry.
As I’ve grown older I do indeed try to temper my anger, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get mad; I just try to save my mad for the things which are really worth it. And injustice, inequity, power-grabbing one-percenters, those things are worth getting mad over. As are the banks and the banksters who seem to operate still—even after they helped crash our entire economy— with impunity.
There are many things worth getting angry about in the world today and Warren has pinpointed some of them for many Americans. She is the voice of those whose anger won’t make a lot of difference because she is in the public eye; she has the spotlight. And she is shining that spotlight on the sorts of things thatshould piss off the majority of us.
Now, uber-investor Buffet says, “”I think that [Warren] would do better if she was less angry and demonizing.”
Anger isn’t pretty. And women haven’t been encouraged to use it. Once upon a time, anger could get us locked up and out of the way. Not a hundred years ago women were still being institutionalized—against their will– for talking back to any male figure, for being too “hormonal,” or too sexy, or too emotional. Women, like children, were supposed to be seen and not heard. More recently, women’s anger has been the butt of jokes and not-so-subtle putdowns. How many of us have been told to “chill out” when we express displeasure at something? How many of us have been dismissed when we find something insulting rather than funny? Get a sense of humor! We are told. Calm down.
Men are strong when they’re angry. Women? We’re just being bitchy. Or maybe it’s our “time of the month.”
The New York Times recently published an article about the medication of women and how more women than men take anti-depressants and mood elevators. As writer Julie Holland so eloquently puts it: “[W]e are under constant pressure to restrain our emotional lives. We have been taught to apologize for our tears, to suppress our anger and to fear being called hysterical.”
Buffett, who is actually a pretty good guy in many respects, wants Warren to not “demonize” the banks and financial institutions she says need to be reined in. But what DO we call people who have robbed others of their homes, their livelihoods, their very lives? What do we say about the absolute power of those whose reign over the powerless is without check? It isn’t as if we don’t have proof in the ashes of foreclosed homes, ruined communities, destroyed families. Buffett’s money cushions him and so he asks for “compromise.” Warren, who also has money, doesn’t bask in the comfort of hers: instead she talks loudly and carries a big stick, all the better to protect those behind her who look to her protection.
Women have been asked to “compromise” forever. It’s one of the tenets of feminism that sometimes shouting more loudly than we want to is the only way to get heard. We hear Warren and we like what we hear. Rage on, Elizabeth.
(This post originally appeared in The Broad Side)