From our Sad/Angry/Happy series, our experts this time turn their eyes to outrage, frustration and fury — from the electrical signals and balance of chemicals that fire up our brains, to the social pressures and metaphysical entanglements that drive our behaviour. Chaired by Hilary Harper, our exploration of anger features guests Brendan Cowell, Karen Pickering and Michael Currie.
Cowell discusses the anger of the characters in his book How It Feels as they grapple with complex emotions and the restlessness of adolescence in Cronulla. It’s a situation familiar to psychologist Currie, who has written two books on his innovative approaches to working with boys, men and their families on anger and self-expression.
Currie describes anger as ‘abnormally normal’, agreeing with Cowell that it should be acknowledged as a valid response to some situations. He explains that by accessing anger’s ‘kernel of truth’ and encouraging self-awareness, those befallen by rage can move to resolve real issues.
As the host of the Cherchez la Femme feminist salon and an organiser of SlutWalk Melbourne, Pickering is accustomed to being perceived as angry. However, she holds that common cause anger can be a galvanising and productive force for good in a world which has no shortage of reasons to be frustrated. She also discusses the gendering of anger and the idea that men externalise their vexation whilst women internalise it.
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