Are You Suffering from Angry Black Woman Syndrome?

December 22, 2010  |  

Months ago, I was having dinner and conversation with a few male and female friends and acquaintances. We were discussing relationships and issues among black men and black women. And while the conversation was initially relatively low key, one of my guy friends decided that it would be a great idea to put on what he described as “ a really good movie.” The movie was “Diary of a Tired Black man.” And within the span of a few minutes and few scenes of the movie, he turned our discussion on relationships into an outright battle of the sexes.

Before watching the movie, I had never heard of the term “Angry Black Woman Syndrome (ABSW).” It’s definitely not an official clinical diagnosis or something I learned in medical school. But despite the movie’s negative depiction of black women in relationships, in my opinion, ABWS goes beyond just the dynamic between black women and black men. In fact, after watching the movie, doing a little research, and observing the attitudes/behavior of some black women, it seems to me that the term ABWS is just a more long-winded way of describing a black woman as a word that starts with the letter “b” and rhymes with the word “itch.’

That being stated, I’d like to address the term ‘Angry Black Woman Syndrome’  because it is something that ignites strong feelings among black women.  And while I do believe that the the movie “Diary of an Angry Black Man” is a bit overly dramatic, I do believe it highlights issues within a subset of black women. There are black women out there that need to seriously check themselves- particularly black women who think it’s cute to be bitter, argumentative, man-hating, and generally angry females. She’s that woman who frowns or rolls her eyes when smiled at,  brands all men as being “dogs” and “no good,” and she’s the woman that thinks it’s necessary to curse out a chick if she bumps into her at the store even after she’s received a sincere apology.

It’s unfortunate when black women have attitudes and behaviors like I described above, because it’s this type of female that sometimes gets acknowledged as the PR representative for all black women. But at the end of the day, the vast majority of black females don’t suffer from ABWS. I know I don’t- and my girlfriends surely don’t. And for every black woman out there that feeds into the stereotype of being bitter and antagonist, they are still outnumbered by black women who are smart, classy, and engaging. Truth be told, when I saw “Diary of a Tired Black Man” I laughed for many reasons. And at the end of the day I believe ABWS should be replaced with the term “Angry Woman Syndrome (AWS)” – because Lord knows (and men of all races can attest) that angry women come in all colors.

Trending on MadameNoire

View Comments
Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Mr_Kensou

    Seeing the movie myself, I have to lay it out for clarification….

    The movie, in its depiction, documented the most common stereotype in the subsets of most, but not all, black women. Though there were scripted scenes to showcase humor yet the most common response of what a black man would do in situations such as this, Diary of a Tired Black Man pin-points what this article rebuttals: the accuracy of the situations and what’s lain within all women, and not just black.

    The movie showcased women of all color but had different opinions and views on certain situations. When a woman (regardless of color) considers herself a Queen, she feels she’s entitled to royalty of some type due to hardship and life experiences. yet, when you ask “what you’re entitled to?”, generally they are met with a contradiction; it has little to no concept.

    What was the most interesting thing about this article is that it states upon how the clinical term wasn’t official based on academic knowledge, dismissing that it actually exists within the society, comprehending her surrounding majority of black women who don’t suffer from this, and stating as how a conversation turned into the battle of the sexes, versus observing what any medical student would do: the psychology behind the movie and the focal point lain therein. This, of course, was also featured in the movie and showcases the acute signs of the Syndrome; partial delusions of grandeur.

    Whether you laugh it off or not, it exists and it’s the truth. You talk to a woman about it, and it’s frowned upon because they feel the term doesn’t apply to them. One can simply agree or disagree, but when it boils down to psychosis, it’s inevitable to justify that the movie is anything but laughable or comedic.

    This paragraph showcases a fine-tune example:

    “But at the end of the day, the vast majority of black females don’t suffer from ABWS. I know I don’t- and my girlfriends surely don’t. And for every black woman out there that feeds into the stereotype of being bitter and antagonist, they are still outnumbered by black women who are smart, classy, and engaging.”

    It’s not about the majority, much like the majority don’t suffer from domestic violence, dowry, economical abuse, sexual violence, emotional abuse, a beating in a game of Pool, Street Fighter, or being doused with a bag of Eggs, no. It’s about revealing the truth and what’s laced in our society even to this day. It was also displayed by the Doctor in the movie that it wasn’t just the black women that are with the syndrome, but women of all colors.

    Everything what you saw in that movie is based on past experiences and how most (if not all) didn’t amend to the experiences by clinical resolution or therapeutic resolve. In essence, you simply laugh it off because it doesn’t pertain to neither you, y9our friends, or the majority of the black women.

    What you meant to state in that paragraph is the following:

    “But at the end of the day, my studies came inconclusive to whether or not if the majority of black women don’t suffer from ABWS. I may not be aware of this issue, and I never knew this might exist in my group of girlfriends but this is something I’m willing to exploit to create certain solutions to the issues within our culture. For every woman that’re a part of this problem, I may consider reaching out to them to showcase an awareness that they can be smart, classy, and rivetingly engaging; to appeal to all and not because they are entitled. We, as women, can actually command the three that I’ve purveyed. It just doesn’t start from understanding ourselves, but to walk a mile in a brother’s shoes.”

    You, Madame–of all people–should know that when you amount black women as “black females” and consistently label the issue as a “PR Representative” (by the way, PR literally stands for “Public Representatives” among other meanings of the acronym, which derives from the same term as “Rep” or “Represent”, thus “Public Representative Representatives” is what you’ve stated) shows that whatever you’ve researched wasn’t shown in this article.

    My point is: a brother has to walk a mile in one’s shoes to fully grasp the concept of what makes a woman angry, and that movie is the golden example to what’s in this society, culture, plus. As a black man who has been characterized for seeing women of all color as equal opportunity ala dating outside my race, diving into the world of female fashions, don’t sleep around with several to justify my manhood, living a simple spiritual lifestyle to ensure my respect for myself and anyone else around me, I have beyond several testimonies to witness how this exists even within my own family.

    This response is to exempt any notions that your article speaks for the majority of all black women when clearly, you’ve proven the stigma of “it doesn’t pertain to me, therefor I can laugh because this is ridiculous” when you never gave any relations whatsoever to how men feel about the black women in America today.

    Give or take, you’ve set back the movement for unification to us all for about a good 2-3 more years and until you comprehend that you–yourself–is an African American woman of greatness to spread the good cause and draw more to your attention, you will remain ignorant to the matters at hand.

    Stop looking at things being neutral for once and start walking a mile in a brother’s shoes. The same goes for the brothers: walk a mile in that woman’s shoes. Wear them and let me know how they feel to you, because deep down pain is NEVER optional; only fear and misery.


  • Pingback: No Pressure: You’re Just Representing Your Entire Race And Gender! via Huffington Post « Just Ange()

  • Thekarma16

    you must first walk in her shoes she may have been abused all kind of reasons you being a so called doctor should no better .

  • Pingback: dewalt table saw()

  • Pingback: The Communicated Stereotype » Communication And The Angry Black Woman Stereotype()

  • That is truly worth it to read, and really does make me wonder where means that going.

  • Very clear! I think this info is very simple but we often forget that simplicity is the key! Keep it up.

  • tina

    if some black man could relize what they have we wouldn't have this problem.

  • Lee Kelly

    It is my opinion, that a lot of young black women are suffering from the lack of a positive prospectus of a biological father in their lives. In my lifetime, I have found myself dealing with many black women that have many issues that could be traced to the absence of a positive biological father as a male role model in their upbringing. The problem is quite real. Please research the corelation of absentee father to young black women that are in jail, divorced, and/or having a healthy marriage. The number is staggering. Please understand that many young women really need help. I myself have a daughter and I am doing everything I can to give her a healthy example of how a man suppose to love and treat her and I am an absentee father and I have to deal with quite a few issues to be in my child life as much as possible. But I persist. And hopefully from our interaction throughout her upbringing she would learn how to treat the man in her life when she get older. With a mutual respect. In closing it is not a problem of black women having a position or opinion. It is a problem that they exhibit in expressing themselves to the ones who cares for them most.

  • Lisa

    I agree, dont be angry about what your past was like because you miss the present of the present…if you get what I mean. Allow yourself to be angry at something that goes wrong but please do not be angry for a lifetime. Get over it. There are pastors, celebrities and many others that break up so if break up is the reason for being sour…it didn't start with you and it surely won't end with you

  • Dr. Austin I would like to have you as a guest on a future show. If you are interested please contact me.

    • phoenyxaustin

      Hi Gyan, feel free to email me at, and we'll discuss. Take care!

  • Susie

    Its a disservice to black men and women to constantly portray us in an adversarial position. Anger, bitterness, disillusionment is not owned by one race. What evidence is there that black women are any more petulant or angry than any other women? I don't a case can be made based on anecdotal and biased perceptions. If a woman is angry there is an underlying reason. No biggie. Why portray black women in a negative light? I'm tired of reading all the bs. Treat a woman with respect and kindness and there is a far greater chance that the woman will be loving and receptive towards you. Stop the nonsense!

  • Karen

    That's angry white women syndrome, too. A lot of them have attitudes but they get a pass.