By Triveni Sharma: We all get angry, but we do so in different ways. Some of us detonate. Others simmer silently. But none of us is untouched. It’s a very normal human retort.
Indeed, anger in men is often viewed as “masculine”–it is seen as “manly” when men engage in fistfights or act their anger out physically. Women usually get the message that anger is unpleasant and unfeminine.” Therefore, their anger may be misdirected in passive-aggressive maneuvers such as sulking or destructive gossip.
Women tend not to be as aggressive as men in expressing anger and tend to talk about their anger more. They are more proactive and use more problem-solving approaches in discussing a problem with a person they are angry with. There are usually three common roots to women’s anger: powerlessness, injustice and the irresponsibility of other people.
While research has not yet suggested that different factors trigger men’s anger, researchers continue to uncover differences in how men and women experience it. Men are higher on physical aggression, passive aggression and experiences of impulsively dealing with their anger. They also more often had a revenge motive to their anger and scored higher on coercing other people.
Women, on the other hand, were found to be angry longer, more resentful and less likely to express their anger, compared with men. Women used indirect aggression by “writing off” a higher number of people–intending to never speak to them again because of their anger.
Women are more likely to elicit emotional responses to pain, but are also more likely to be accepting of and passive to painful experiences in certain situations. Men, in contrast, are more likely to react actively and/or violently. Women may be uncomfortable with feeling angry, but when you get right down to it, they often act on their anger just as well as men do.
Perhaps women feel more effective if they selectively demonstrate their anger on the outside. Because of societal expectations that women cover-up or ignore their anger, they may have developed alternative routes to getting the things they want besides directly using their anger.