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Book Review: Good and Mad

Women’s outrage was a driving force behind some of the most significant movements for social change in the history of the United States, including abolition, women’s suffrage, and the civil rights movement. Rebecca Traister, a feminist author, and journalist use this history to illustrate how women’s anger is growing in response to Donald Trump’s victory and the expanding #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment. Traister draws on this history to show how women’s anger is building in response to both of these events (Traister, 2018). Women are infuriated by the fact that they still face challenges in achieving social and economic equality. This rage, which does not appear to have an end in sight, has already motivated women to take political action on a scale never seen before in an effort to ensure that their concerns are given top attention.

Traister explains why women find anger to be both a tough and compelling emotion, as well as how it motivates revolutionary change and how it motivates women. She provides some background information, a lesson, an introduction to politics, as well as a manifesto (Traister, 2018). Traister has uncovered previously unknown information about the past and woven it into an exciting plot. Good and Mad is an outstanding and informative book that presents the waves of the feminist movement via the use of narratives as well as criticism that is thinly veiled. The finished product is a guide that is both informative and enjoyable for feminists and political aficionados. In point of fact, Traister will drive a reader “good and furious.”

The book written by Traister is a really good one, and it is centered on the strength of women’s rage and evaluates its potential to improve the political realm. In light of this, the topics of women and politics are extensively discussed throughout the course of this book. The book places men and women on opposing sides of an argument. Most significantly, according to Traister, the only way for women to prevail is for them to triumph over men and take the prizes, which she considers to be major positions in political power. Traister is on a mission to educate us on current events, such as “Black Lives Matter,” Donald Trump’s triumph, and the “Harvey-sized hole” that #MeToo has created, and he does so by taking us through these topics (Traister, 2018). She thinks that women’s fury over all of the aforementioned can shift us from the “potentially revolutionary moment” we are currently into another that truly alters the power dynamic of the situation we are in. She is of the opinion that the primary obstacle that is keeping this from happening is the tendency that women have to bury their anger (Traister, 2018, p. 101). As to her, “Women’s anger spurs creativity and drives innovation in politics and social change, and it always has” (Traister, 2018, p. 130).

The role of anger is demonstrated in how Trister explains how anger can make people feel good about themselves, cloud judgment, and erode real power. According to Traister, our occasional enthusiasm for female rage is inversely related to its outcomes. “We like Ruth Bader Ginsburg because her fiery opinions are consistently overruled, making her “a little doll of female wrath.” (Traister, 2018, p.151). Similarly, because the Angry Black Woman is so cut off from actual power, she is praised and fetishized as “the cultural caricature of neck-snapping, side-eye-casting black female criticism” (Traister, 2018, p. 168). She rarely causes any disruptions. As mentioned by Traister, these symbols help white women express the rage they feel but are unable to express themselves. The result is a rise in “digital blackface” gifs, caricaturing strong emotions and assigning them to persons of color.

The author also targets men in an organized and approachable manner. Men, particularly white men, are the main targets of this rage. Good and Mad was sparked by the intensity of the “2017 Women’s March on Washington”, the greatest one-day protest in American history; by 2018, 83 percent of Democratic women, according to a survey by Elle that Traister cites, were angry at the news at least once a day (Traister, 2018). Traister concedes that oppositional rage is not precisely orderly (Traister, 2018). Most of the women of color quoted by Trister express resentment toward white women and themselves. 52% of them voted for Trump. Traister believes white heterosexual marriage to be the underlying cause of his victory. Scrutinizes of 2016 vote patterns disclose a sizeable political split between non-married and married white women: Republicans received a majority of votes from married people (57 percent); Democrats did not (59 percent voted for Clinton). While just 49% of divorced women voted Republican, even women who had previously been married— separated women and windows —were more inclined to do so (Traister, 2018). Traister concludes from this that being close to white males increases white women’s tendencies to support white male dominance where possible. “policies and parties that protect the economic and political status of the men on whom they depend” (Traister, 2018, p.215)

The fundamental question that the author has is centered on the subject of whether or not White women will be compelled to exercise their own authority in order to defend their needs and aspirations or whether or not they will condemn the uneven treatment that is given to other sorts of women. The fact that Traister has provided this information lends credence to the idea that the response is correct. Certain people will join together in support of more major causes, even though other people have made the decision not to participate.

On the other side, the author uses the racist trope of white cluelessness an inordinate amount, even when he is critiquing those who attempt the latter (Traister, 2018). Traister shows surprise at the expansion of #MeToo complaints to include complaints about “plain old lousy sex” and other minor transgressions in a throwaway remark. The last political question to be answered is whether or not the movement has been sufficiently ambitious (Traister, 2018).

Traister also makes use of a tone that is intended to be controversial. It is possible to get a sense of this from her political analysis, particularly in the way that she portrays women of color as angry insight spigots. The aforementioned illustrates her urge to loosen up, which is what drove her to seek out various parallel forms of outsourcing (Traister, 2018). Saira Rao, an attorney based in Colorado who had just recently lost in a Democratic congressional primary, is the one who is cited in this passage. Rao is quoted as saying, “I think the reason white women are the way they are is that the system is working for them and because they are comfortable laying aside their law degrees and wearing Lululemon.” (Traister, 2018. P.220). She is of the opinion that White Women have disregarded their own best interests in favor of putting their faith in the system to provide for them. She cites Jessica Morales Rocketto, a left-wing activist, who says that even if all people of color became politically involved, “that is only 38 percent of America.” She says this in reference to the statistic that she cites. Rocketto Morales directs this appeal toward white women in the audience (Traister, 2018).

The “blame game” notion presented in Good and Mad Book appears to ignore some realities to some extent. It is not incorrect for Traister to place emphasis on white men because of their role as “the traditional Republican base.” On the other hand, determining how to distribute the anger is a more challenging decision (Traister, 2018.P.222). Every week, a new analysis of the 2016 election is published, and it demonstrates that white male Republicans did not carry Trump to victory on their own without any assistance. The author fails to account for voters who supported both Sanders and Trump, voters who supported Obama and Trump, major Latino and Asian voting blocs, voters who supported Sanders, and the fall in African American turnout caused by those who opted to stay at home (Traister, 2018). Nevertheless, patriarchy cannot fully explain the voting tendencies of women if it is considered in isolation. On the political front, The Blame Game is likewise filled with cynicism. These make for intriguing reading since Traister gives a platform to a select number of aggrieved individuals (Traister, 2018). The reading should, in theory, inspire a more all-encompassing purpose; nevertheless, because she excludes other key perspectives, her feminist mission comes across as unsatisfactorily lukewarm (Traister, 2018).

The radical nature of the demands that Trister explains continues to be exemplified by the tacit recognition that women have a place in the world and the economy that is distinct from that of men. This can be attributed to the social costs associated with having a feminine figure. In recent times, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the monetary effects that sexual harassment can have. Nevertheless, there are additional issues that tie women more profoundly, and one of those concerns is parenting. In the United States, 86% of women are mothers, a much larger group than the one that Leon Wieseltier targeted, “whose behavior gets more agonized treatment in Good and Mad than the material burdens of maternity do” (Traister, 2018, p.256).

In a nutshell, Traister has deftly fashioned an engaging novel out of the events that transpired in history. Bad and Mad is a great instructional book that presents the waves of the feminist movement in a manner that is easily understandable by making use of subtle anecdotes and telling stories along with criticism that is lightly veiled. The author employs a tone that is intended to be offensive in order to stir up White women and inspire them to fight for their interests or protest the unfairness that is typically faced by other women. The primary themes that are explored in this book are rage felt by women, as well as the intersection of women and politics. Notable is the fact that the book is written for both women and men. The time may have come for a vision that is even more explosive, despite the fact that she explores the historical detail of women’s suppression and explains the act of White women enjoying privileges due to how close they are to other White women. Despite the fact that she does this, the time may have come for a vision.


Traister, R. (2018). Good and mad: the revolutionary power of women’s anger. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.


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