Anger management is a project that challenges narratives of female anger, aiming at creating conditions for change through materialization and conversation.
Narratives of anger are manipulative tools of oppression and power. This is shown through how anger as a reaction to injustice and inequality within marginalized groups historically has been pathologized and invalidated by privileged groups who benefit from maintaining the status quo. Rather than seeing anger as a valid reaction to injustice endured it is situated as a problem or defect within the bodies and minds of those expressing it. Through tropes and internalization these narratives surrounding, for example, black people, working class people or women and their anger as being uncivilized, unintelligent and unhinged live and prosper.
I am, in this project, working as an anger blacksmith; a friend and anger therapist making weapons for anger for my collaborators
In my project I am working closely with seven women in Växjö aged 13 to 62 in order to create conditions for them, and me, to challenge these broader narratives as well as our own internalized narratives of female anger. I am, in this project, working as an anger blacksmith; a friend and anger therapist making weapons for anger for my collaborators.
As the anger blacksmith I am making tools to express and manifest anger in new ways. These tools are made from household object and hacked into weapons that form a protest against the feminized labour of care and composure that the original objects manifested.
As the project protests the role of a perfect, unangry, constructive woman it simultaneously is situated within female practices such as crafting, gifting and caring and I, as a designer, utilize my role of a woman and my female friendships as a foundation for the project and it’s collaborations.
Through letter writing, conversations and a digital newsletter I keep an ongoing conversation with my collaborators exploring what we think of our own anger, where these thoughts come from, why they exist and how we can dismantle them. Taking inspiration from Sara Ahmed’s concept of the killjoy* and killjoying together, the project forms collectivity and support without necessarily being a participatory project or a project with an articulated collective.
The project also branches out into a mini zine and an online instruction. Both form invitations into the project by sharing the practices and methods needed to make your own weapon for anger.
Anger management states that the personal is political and questions what ownership we have over our emotional expressions by looking at them as learned behaviours and social constructs. The project clearly states that our emotions are not created equal and that we have to understand that the way we are policed, and police our own and other’s expressions of anger, are part of structural inequality.
- S. Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life, Durham, Duke University Press, 2017.