Freaking Out: Has Anger Fallen Out of Fashion?
Has art lost its critical power because any form of critique is automatically neutralized by capitalism? Current issues such as trafficking, global warming, the AIDS crisis, violence, homelessness, militarisation, poverty, homophobia, sexism, racism and disrespect for human rights demand proactive measures if philosophers not only wish to interpret the world in various ways, but also to change it, as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels once so memorably. Certain theories and terms are more marketable than others in specific historical situations. What is hip today will inevitably be outmoded tomorrow, but not necessarily forever. Ideas come and go, and unexpected forms of theoretical and artistic continuities and coalitions appear. Central to feminist and activist theorizing is anger, and this paper deals with the feminist tradition of such anger. Feminist theorist Sara Ahmed classifies feminist emotions as anger, wonder and hope. Anger awakens the feminist and keeps her going. Wonder is about seeing the world in a way that encounters ‘as if’ for the first time. The third component is hope, and when thinking about feminist futures we also must attend to the legacies of feminist pasts. As Ahmed has written, “for feminists, a political and strategic question remains: When should we let go? And what should we let go of? Such a question has no immediate resolution: we must decide, always, what to do, as a decision that must be made again and again, in each present we find ourselves in.”