Consider the Case of the Angry White Woman

Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy admits that he's rarely seen a white woman as angry as Margaret Doyle, who was ejected from the Virginia Capitol during a protest against legislative assaults on women's reproductive rights.

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Abortion-rights march (Getty Images)

In his column at the Washington Post, Courtland Milloy revisits the case of Margaret Doyle, who was arrested last month after she had a meltdown inside the Virginia General Assembly during a protest against legislative assaults on women's reproductive rights. He says that her anger is at odds with the stereotypical image of white women in America. 

When Margaret Doyle’s temper exploded inside the Virginia General Assembly a few weeks ago, a photograph of her being ejected from the state Capitol became a symbol of front-line resistance to legislative assaults on women’s reproductive rights.

Doyle, who is 53 and weighs 115 pounds, was so fired up that it took four police officers to restrain her. Other protesters also were subjected to the strong arm of the law.

Curiously to me, nearly all of the women were white.

I confess to rarely seeing a white woman as angry as Doyle appeared in the photograph, an image captured by Bob Brown of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. With teeth clenched, eyes ablaze, she stood in jolting contrast to the archetypal white woman — the privileged female ideal relentlessly promulgated in the media and deeply embedded in the American psyche.

The statistical portrait of the white woman in America certainly buttresses that image.

She has the longest life expectancy in the country and, through sheer numbers, dominates the demographic landscape. Her power at the polls is immense. Her risk of falling victim to street crime is low compared with the risk faced by black women. She’s rarely exposed to the AIDS virus, and breast cancer is no longer the death sentence for her that it is for so many others.

Relatively healthy, happy, safe and financially secure, she is the reigning queen of the “golden mean,” the norm by which other women are measured.

Given all of that, what does the white woman really have to be angry about?

Read Courtland Milloy's entire column at the Washington Post.

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