Deanna Geddes encourages women to express anger

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Anger is a form of pain and suffering rather than hostility, according to Deanna Geddes, associate professor of business at Temple University.

Geddes led a presentation on understanding and appreciating anger as women and discussed the benefits of expressing constructive anger. The seminar was organized by the Woodbury School of Business and the Women’s Success Center Jan. 21 in the Sorensen Center.

Geddes stressed how anger is a status emotion. Women are often seen as ‘the angry woman’ when expressing themselves in a more direct manner, unlike men, who may be perceived as confident, direct and intense.

A 2015 study titled “One Angry Woman” conducted by Jessica Salerno, assistant professor of social and behavioral sciences at Arizona State University and Liana Peter-Hagene, assistant professor of psychology at Southern Illinois University, showed how the influence of the jury was impacted by gender bias. Whenever anger was expressed from men, the jury found it to be a more positive influence, whereas the women were perceived negatively.

Another study titled “Can An Angry Woman Get Ahead?” was conducted by Victoria L. Brescoll, associate professor of organizational behavior at Yale School of Management. She had a group of men and women watch clips from a job interview and were asked to guess the applicant’s status and salary. The man who expressed anger was given the most status, while the woman who expressed some anger was given the lowest.

Geddes said that women who express anger in their professional and social roles are judged as less competent, lose social influence in groups and have a lower wage and status.

“Anger is a natural response of expression and is different from aggression, because aggression has the intent to do harm,” she said.

Geddes, who serves as the chair of  human resources management at the Fox School of Business, said that the most damaging type of suppression in the workplace is to be organizationally silent.

She stated the purpose of anger in our professional and personal lives and how we can learn about ourselves which promotes dialogue, apology, compassion and forgiveness.

Mary Morgan, a junior hospitality management major, talked about how we can begin to break out of social norms and roles as women.

“Throughout history we’ve been seen as delicate, who can’t do hard labor and that anger could break them. I think it’s about starting a dialogue that it’s normal and healthy to experience and express anger. Having it as a hidden aspect of society doesn’t help anyone,” Morgan said.