Mara Wilson on the Importance of Letting Girls Be Angry

Photo by Morgan Basham on Unsplash

Editor's Note:

Also in the news: Stephen Hawking has passed away at age 76, and LitHub’s new literary advice column. It’s your Daily Blunt!

What if girls knew they were allowed to be angry? That’s the question posed by Where Am I Now? author Mara Wilson in a new essay for Elle, in which she recalls listening to Bikini Kill at a formative age, struggling to reconcile her own rising anger with the way she knew girls her age were expected to behave. In the age of Trump, Wilson no longer has to hunt for ferocious women to bond with: “Suddenly, they were everywhere. They were at friends’ houses making posters, using bullhorns at rallies, writing about what the world was now and what it could become. Sometimes we didn’t even need to say anything: I could look in their eyes and I saw their passion, their resolve.”

Stephen Hawking’s life demonstrated to fans worldwide how science and logic may help us transcend the limitations of our tiny planet, as well as those of the human body. Now, at the occasion of his passing at the age of 76, tributes are pouring in from those whose work he inspired. “His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we & the world are exploring,” tweeted NASA, adding: “May you keep flying like superman in microgravity, as you said to astronauts on @Space_Station in 2014.” Hit that CNN link to read farewell messages from Neil deGrasse Tyson, Eddie Redmayne, and the many others touched by his life and work.

As women channel their ferocity, we’re also entering a new era of role models for male tenderness. Writing for Electric Literature, Terra Loire lists fictional characters that provide the “antidote to machismo,” even providing a checklist for identifying the Tender Man, such as: “Is he invested in all of his relationships, not just romantic ones?” and “Is he unafraid of male intimacy?” The amount of male characters in books, movies, and TV that fit this bill is truly heartening. Are boys receiving the message?

LitHub’s stumbled upon a terrific idea: Dear Book Therapist is an advice column in which the columnist (author and licensed therapist Rosalie Knecht) recommends a book to help with the querent’s problem. Her inaugural column ends up serving as a testimony to the healing powers of Lynda Barry and Michael Chabon. In the case of the former, Knecht recalls hearing Barry speak once about the inner voices telling her she’s not talented or worthy of success: “Would I listen to anyone else who talked to me that way? No, I would think ‘That person’s an asshole’ and I would never talk to them again.” Remember that the next time your demons start hissing in your ear.