Cover Photo: Carl Rahl, ‘Orestes Pursued by the Furies,’ c. 1852
Carl Rahl, ‘Orestes Pursued by the Furies,’ c. 1852

Anger That Can Save the World: On Justice, Feminism, and the Furies

“Our anger exists to scourge the world, and to save it. Not everyone wants it saved.”

This is Role Monsters, a series on monstrous female archetypes by Jess Zimmerman.

Myth and folklore teem with frightening women: man-seducers and baby-stealers, menacing witches and avenging spirits, rapacious bird-women and all-devouring forces of nature. In our stories and our culture, we underline the idea that women who step out of bounds—who are angry or greedy or ambitious, who are overtly sexual or insufficiently sexy—aren’t just outside the norm: They’re monstrous. Women often try to tamp down those qualities that we’re told violate “natural” femininity. But what if we embraced our inner monsters?

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The Eumenides,

I can help fix this. I can protect someone else. I just have to say it’s wrong.

This is gasoline. This is rotten meat. This is a rose

This is misogyny. This is rape culture. This is abuse.

The Eumenides.really

Jess Zimmerman is the editor-in-chief of Electric Literature. Her essays and opinion writing have appeared in the Guardian, the New Republic, Slate, Hazlitt, Catapult, and others. Her book Women and Other Monsters, on feminism and mythological creatures, is forthcoming in March 2021.