Female Rage: On the Page
Any self-respecting TikTok FYP will have seen the Feminine Rage aesthetic doing the rounds recently. I can’t quite believe that is a sentence.
Kickstarted by Anya Taylor-Joy’s iconic interview moment, where she gleefully disclosed that she ‘has a thing’ about feminine rage. You best believe BookTok and Sad Girl Core have come out in full force, Lana del Rey vinyls and tote bags in tow, making the most high-tech edits that’d blow your average A24 director out of the water.
Full disclosure: we have also partaken in this trend. We are BookTok/Sad Girl Core allies.
The crux of this argument is that female rage in cinema is typically portrayed as a heroine’s silent, seething, tear-rolling-down-the-cheek as she accepts her fate kind of rage. The new wave of TikTok #girlpower is paying homage to the kicking and screaming the house down kind of rage. The rage that, when portrayed by men in film, begs the question: is he a good actor or is he just yelling? Feminism is having the audience doubt whether SHE is a good actor or is she just yelling.
It only makes sense to throw our hat in the ring, and roundup our fave books that celebrate female rage.
Animal by Lisa Taddeo
It’s all in the name.
Taddeo’s debut novel dishes out hot takes left, right and centre: “honestly, sometimes I think it’s the only recourse. Killing men in times like these.” Slay.
Joan has been on the receiving end of male violence all her life. But when one day a violent incident goes a step too far, she takes it upon herself to transform from being prey, to predator.
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
Eileen follows the mundane life of our narrator, who works a dead-end job, has no friends and lives in a nameless town. If I were her I’d also be raging. Nothing but empathy for my Sad Girl President.
With the arrival of a beautiful and mysterious stranger, suddenly the monotony of Eileen’s world is upended, and life as she knows it will never be the same again.
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante
No one captures the vast breadth of female emotion quite like Elena Ferrante.
In this instalment of The Neapolitan Quartet, we follow Olga as she spirals following her husband abandoning her. Her entire identity has been built around being a wife and a mother - a supporting role to the main character in her life. She must now deal with this loss of sense of self and attempt to reconstruct a new one.
A Certain Hunger by Chelsea G. Summers
There’s female rage and then there’s female rage.
By rage I’m talking about cannibalism. Obviously.
Dorothy Daniels is a food critic with a passion for her craft. A Certain Hunger, one might argue. She’ll go to any limit to explore the most exquisite tastes our green earth has to offer. Even if that comes in the form of her ex-boyfriend on the end of a fork.
Nightbitch by Rachel Yoder
The struggling mother of a 2 year old and an absent husband starts to notice something changing. Her canines sharpen, her hearing heightens. As these new characteristics emerge so too does a new appetite inside her.
That’s right - she thinks she’s turning into a wolf.
Boy Parts by Eliza Clark
Irina is an artist who specialises in subversive and explicit content. Eddie from Tesco is the unfortunate new apple of Irina’s eye.
Think 21st Century American Psycho if Patrick Bateman was a red-headed Geordie with a penchant for BDSM and bunny masks. Nothing but respect for MY President.
Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung
This genre-defying collection of short stories explores the very real horrors of patriarchy and capitalism on the female body. Each story is as heartbreaking as it is frustrating to read. A true champion of tapping into that rage.