Why are modern women so aggressive? It's been called the dark side of equality - a surge in respectable women flying into violent rages for the most trivial reasons. Research has also found that women are significantly more likely to be verbally and physically aggressive to men than vice versa — something physicians are seeing more of in their clinics.As women hit menopause, they tend to get observably unhappier and angrier. However, Western society no longer permits men to keep middle-aged female anger under control any more than it permits them to restrain young female promiscuity.
'We are treating more women than ever who are struggling to regulate their emotions and express themselves appropriately,' says Dr Monica Cain, a counselling psychologist at London's Nightingale Hospital.
So what is causing the red mist to descend for so many women? And why is this anger afflicting so many upstanding women, the sort you might hope would be immune to, or too ashamed of, having outbursts?
Some experts suggest women believe that such outward displays of aggression allow them to seize the initiative from traditionally dominant men. Whether it's in the workplace or around the dining table, shouting, swearing or throwing things are increasingly viewed as valid methods for women to assert themselves.
Dr Elle Boag, social psychologist at Birmingham City University, says: 'Women feel aggression is a form of empowerment. It has become so commonplace that it's not even shameful.'
Two observations. First, it's clearly not psychologically healthy behavior: I get heart palpitations and shake. Then I open my mouth without engaging my brain. I shout and use foul language I regret afterwards. It takes me a couple of hours before I can calm down.'
Second, it is milquetoast men who are enabling the self-destructive behavior. As mild-mannered as Jo is volatile, he's found that the best thing to do is to walk away and let the tantrum burn itself out.
The reason for the behavior is that this is what the unrestrained female psyche looks like. I would be willing to bet that there is no problem of violently angry women in Saudi Arabia, because a woman who acted that way would be badly beaten down by the first man she tried to provoke.
The irony is that this ridiculous, even infantile, behavior is not merely permitted, but enabled, by men. It's not necessary to physically slap down a perpetually angry woman. Simply telling her to "shut the fuck up" and then refusing to have anything to do with her when she's raging will suffice to inspire any woman who isn't literally off her rocker to control herself.
I don't accept verbal aggression from women. If it is directed at me, I respond to it in kind. Unsurprisingly, I very seldom encounter it. It may be useful to note that women cannot stand vulgarity or contempt as well as men can, so instead of matching their shrill tone or raised volume level, two things they can abide rather better than men, it will usually be more effective to use obscenities in a dismissive manner.
Protesting, "You're always shouting at me! Would you stop shouting!" is only going to launch an interminable high-volume argument about what "always" and "shouting" mean, whereas a dismissive "turn down the fucking volume" is much more likely to be met with a blessedly silent period of pouting. You can't fix their feelings, or their sense of the world's injustice, but you can certainly convince them to shut the hell up.
Take what victories are available to you. Soft-voiced obsequiousness is only going to further infuriate them. One thing I've noticed that accompanying every married rage-queen is a meek husband who never seeks to correct or control his angry wife.
And should they try to play the "you shouldn't use that language" card, simply respond with "don't use that fucking tone". Either communication is civil or it is not. Once one party has decided to forgo civil communication, they have lost any right to appeal to conversational etiquette. Treat a woman who speaks like a lady like a lady, and a woman who talks like a bitch like a bitch. It's her call.