2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Photo credit Youtube // Edited by Valery Perez

You make me do too much labour: the experience of female rage

By Avery Sharpe, May 1, 2024—

The idea of female rage has been rising in the media lately, especially when conversations turn toward the topic of feminism or the patriarchy. We often see female rage portrayed stereotypically in the media, through screaming, heartbroken women or explosively furious mother figures. However, I believe female rage is too often misrepresented and misunderstood when it is portrayed in this way. That’s why the recent TikTok trend surrounding Paris Paloma’s new song “Labour” has been an enlightening and empowering movement as it makes its way around social media.

The song “Labour” was originally released in March of 2023, following the song’s teasers on TikTok that spread rapidly and widely. The lyrics seemed to resonate with many women around the globe, who used its central messaging to bring awareness to the issues and patriarchal oppression they faced simply because of their gender. One of the first videos I encountered using the song was by TikTok creator unfabled.co, who used the trending sound clip to explain the issue of the gender health gap. Watching the video was extremely emotional and it resonated deeply with me, especially because I’m someone with health issues and have experienced much of what they were discussing firsthand. Too many women have faced doctors dismissing their health struggles as anxiety or experiencing the feeling of having to get dressed up for an appointment so that concerns are taken seriously. So many of these problems stem from a systemic injustice and inequality, and Paloma’s song “”Labour”’ is an exact expression of what it’s like to live as a woman in our society.

Now, Paloma has released a second version of “”Labour”” titled “Labour (the cacophony)” on YouTube, as a teaser for her new album coming out on Aug. 30. It is essentially the same song, but instead of just Paloma singing it is the voices of hundreds of women. To make the song, Paloma put out a request for her followers on TikTok to record themselves singing the lyrics, and the many submissions were blended together into what now sounds more like a war cry. This layered and unified voice is even more representative of what I believe female rage actually is: a long-suppressed generational fury that is finally coming to the surface. 

The consistent misrepresentation of female rage is why “Labour” is such a powerful song and movement. The song resonates with women of all backgrounds because in reality we have all experienced some kind of discrimination. The lyrics themselves even demonstrate this multiplicity, as they often have double meanings that allude to physical abuse, weaponized incompetence, forced pregnancy, or sexual assault. These common experiences are what bond us together in sisterhood, and also what causes the female rage that is often dismissed as an overreaction. However, the reality is that our anger is not an overreaction, but simply a release of the rage that has been suppressed for too many generations. Globally, only one of four cabinet ministers are women, women do 50 per cent more housework, and one in four women have experienced completed or attempted rape. When will it end?

In essence, these statistics and common experiences of women everywhere is what Paris Paloma’s song is about, and also why it is taking the world by storm. Women know the kind of anger that is expressed through those lyrics, and the chills that go down all of our spines are proof that we know change needs to happen. I’m tired of feeling nervous walking home in the dark. I’m tired of not being able to travel by myself. And most of all I am tired of our anger being dismissed as irrational, hormonal or hopeless. Female rage is not the terrible violent thing it is made out to be, but a societal reaction to systemic inequality that needs to be normalised and encouraged. We can’t make change if our voices aren’t heard, and we won’t be heard unless we are screaming.

Listen to “Labour (the cacophony)” here.

This article is a part of our Voices section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet editorial board.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet