It's Not All In Your Head: Women Who Show Anger Lose Respect

by Niki McGloster

Women are constantly worrying if their passions or opinions are being wrongfully dismissed as "too emotional." At times, I've even been dubbed the "Angry Black Girl" for expressing my opinions without qualifying myself.

Ladies, you're not paranoid. In fact, there's scientific proof to back it up.

According to a new study published in the Journal of Law and Human Behavior, a woman's anger is not only dismissed in group settings, but it also diminishes her social influence.

Researchers Jessica Salerno and Liana Peter-Hagene rounded up about 200 students to participate in a computer-mediated mock trial.

However, the trial was based on R. v. Valevski, a real murder case from 2000. The prosecution claimed a man killed his wife by slitting her throat. In turn, the defense argued the victim was depressed and committed suicide.

The students were shown two photographs from the real crime scene, in addition to written witness testimony and opening and closing statements.

After reviewing the evidence, each student sat at a computer to note initial verdicts and his or her confidence level about them.

However, there was one person appointed to object each time a student presented his or her case.

Later, after the mock trial, the confidence levels of the student's original verdict was assessed.

Unsurprisingly, when the female objector expressed her anger towards the student's verdict, she was largely ignored.

The study states,

Participants became significantly more confident in their original verdicts after female holdouts expressed anger, even though they were expressing the exact same opinion and emotion as the male holdouts.

On the other hand, a male's objection made many students second-guess their verdicts.

The study also found,

Participants' confidence in their own verdict dropped significantly, however, after male holdouts expressed anger.

Cool story, bro.

The result? The study explains women potentially have less influence on societally important decisions than men. A good example would be during jury verdicts.

This is not a new thing.

Another study, published in 2008 by Psychological Science, found that women lose respect when expressing anger, attributing emotional reactions to internal characteristics.

When you imagine all the female activists who are passionately advocating on the behalf of women, you have to wonder if they're being heard or being dismissed.

Does this mean only men should speak up for women, considering this gender gap of influence? Hell no.

It probably means we should shout louder.

Citations: Women Who Show Anger Are Taken Less Seriously (Science of Us)