From our Sad/Angry/Happy series, our experts this time turn their eyes to outrage, frustration and fury — from the electrical signals and balance of chemicals that fire up our brains, to the social pressures and metaphysical entanglements that drive our behaviour. Chaired by Hilary Harper, our exploration of anger features guests Brendan Cowell, Karen Pickering and Michael Currie.
Cowell discusses the anger of the characters in his book How It Feels as they grapple with complex emotions and the restlessness of adolescence in Cronulla. It’s a situation familiar to psychologist Currie, who has written two books on his innovative approaches to working with boys, men and their families on anger and self-expression.
Currie describes anger as ‘abnormally normal’, agreeing with Cowell that it should be acknowledged as a valid response to some situations. He explains that by accessing anger’s ‘kernel of truth’ and encouraging self-awareness, those befallen by rage can move to resolve real issues.
As the host of the Cherchez la Femme feminist salon and an organiser of SlutWalk Melbourne, Pickering is accustomed to being perceived as angry. However, she holds that common cause anger can be a galvanising and productive force for good in a world which has no shortage of reasons to be frustrated. She also discusses the gendering of anger and the idea that men externalise their vexation whilst women internalise it.
Dr Michael Currie PhD is a psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist in private practice in Melbourne, where he works with adults, adolescents as well children and their families.
Karen Pickering is a feminist writer, organiser, and speaker who co-authored About Bloody Time: The Menstrual Revolution We Have to Have and edited Doing it: Women Tell the Truth About Great Sex. She has co-founded several seminal feminist events, including Girls on Film Festival and SlutWalk Melbourne, and appeares regularly across print, radio, television, and festivals.
Hilary Harper has a degree in English Literature and Cultural Studies, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing, and 30 years’ experience in radio. She’s been at the ABC since 2005. She’s covered everything from news and current affairs to traffic reporting, arts, health, gardening, science, finance, education, relationships, parenting, and much discussion of food.
Brendan Cowell is an Australian actor, playwright, director and author of the novel, How it Feels.