Distinguished Lecture Series

Farwell Distinguished Lecture:
Rebecca Traister

October 10, 2019
7:00 p.m.
Center for Faith and Life, Main Hall

Rebecca Traister will give the Farwell Distinguished Lecture on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Her talk will focus on topics discussed in her most recent book, Good and Mad, which explores the transformative power of female anger and its ability to transcend into a political movement.

Rebecca Traister is writer at large for New York magazine and a contributing editor at Elle. A National Magazine Award finalist, she has written about women in politics, media, and entertainment from a feminist perspective for the New Republic and Salon and has also contributed to the Nation, the New York Observer, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, Glamour, and Marie Claire. She is the author of All the Single Ladies and the award-winning Big Girls Don’t Cry. In the year 2018, it seems as if women’s anger has suddenly erupted into the public conversation. But long before Pantsuit Nation, before the Women’s March, and before the #MeToo movement, women’s anger was not only politically catalytic—it was politically problematic. The story of female fury and its cultural significance demonstrates the long history of bitter resentment that has enshrouded women’s slow rise to political power in America, as well as the ways that anger is received when it comes from women as opposed to when it comes from men.

In her most recent book, Good and Mad, Rebecca Traister tracks, with eloquence and fervor, the history of female anger as political fuel—from suffragettes chaining themselves to the White House to office workers vacating their buildings after Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court. She explores women’s anger at both men and other women; anger between ideological allies and foes; the varied ways anger is perceived based on its owner; the history of caricaturing and de-legitimizing female anger; and the way women’s collective fury has become transformative political fuel. She deconstructs society’s and the media’s condemnation of female emotion (notably, rage) and the impact of their resulting repercussions. Highlighting a double standard perpetuated against women by all sexes—and its disastrous, stultifying effect—Traister’s latest book is timely and crucial. It offers a glimpse into the galvanizing force of women’s collective anger, which, when harnessed, can change history.

“The most brilliant voice on feminism in this country"—Anne Lamott

“Every fifty years since the French Revolution there’s been an uprising on behalf of women’s rights—we’re in the middle of one right now—and each time around a fresh chorus of voices is heard, making the same righteous bid for social and political equality, only with more force and more eloquence than the time before. Among today’s strongest voices is the one that belongs to Rebecca Traister. Deeply felt and richly researched, her new book, Good and Mad, is one of the best accounts I have read of the cumulative anger women feel, coming up against their centuries-old subordination. Read it!” —Vivian Gornick

This event is a collaboration between Campus Programming and the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement.