Bottle Bitches Book Club: My relationship with Half the Sky

 
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For our February book club, we decided to read the Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof andSheryl WuDunn. Our editor-in-chief, Christianna Silva, had some opinions.

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The summer before my freshman year of college, I read Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn for the first time. It was May 2013. I was a very worried 18-year old.

My dad gave me Half the Sky. For as long as I can remember, my birthdays consisted of gift cards to Antigone Books (an incredible independent bookstore in Tucson, Arizona) and a trundle of pages to flip through for the next year. This book, though, was different. I read it in a crucial time of my life, when I was attempting to discover what would be most fulfilling. I was moving away from home and starting a new life. I was scared and second guessing my every move.

Half the Sky opened my understanding to how the world worked, and showed me how much more I still have yet to learn. It is a storytelling of the injustices of girls and women in developing countries, told through stories of the young women who live there.

The book made me grounded. It painted pictures of the lives of women across the world: what we understand, what we're attempting to grasp and how quickly we judge those whose beliefs don't immediately align with our own. Kristof and WuDunn do a shockingly good job of reaching out to third world countries, explaining what they're facing and delving into how we can help without being a white savoir. It stays away from white people fixing the problem, and instead focuses on the fact that we must make sure the plights of people in developing countries aren't forgotten, while exploring how we can help if they want it.

Through reporting, interviewing, traveling and writing, the couple showed me that perhaps I did have a direction. You can be a humanitarian no matter your day job.

Half the Sky tore down my idea of equality but gave me hope for the potential for progress, and my place within the progress as a reporter, writer, news-reader and woman.

“The tide of history is turning women from beasts of burden and sexual playthings into full-fledged human beings.”

It's the reason I went into journalism. It pushed me to become the angry feminist I am today, which pushed me to create Bottle Magazine.

This was the first time I read Half the Sky. Since then, I've read it three more times: once during a big move, once during a gut wrenching heartbreak and a final time with my fellow Bottle Bitches last month. Each time I cry. Each time I set Half the Sky down, I get up more inspired than before.

Thank you for reading with me.


Christianna is an adventurous, optimistic feminist who can hold her own in a few topics: politics, music, baking and books. At a party, you can find her consoling the hostess’s pets and sipping a gin and tonic.