Griping without acting gets you nowhere, but we all do it. Everyone loves to pontificate about what’s wrong with the world and what needs to change. After all, one of the defining features of being American is the right to free choice and the liberty to express opinion.
But, for most of us, it stops once we’ve expressed our opinion.
Conversation is great, but is it enough? Emma Gray, author of the newly released A Girl’s Guide To Joining The Resistance: A Feminist Handbook on Fighting for Good would argue that it’s not.
“I would hope that anyone who reads the book will walk away with a renewed energy, regardless of politics, and understand that their experiences matter, and that a healthy political system is one that all citizens engage with — and that sitting on the sidelines is not an option,” Gray tells OkCupid.
Gray not only inspires participation, she directs it. A Girl’s Guide looks and reads like your big sister’s scrapbook—that one you found under her bed after she went off to Cal Berkeley. Only this isn’t a collection of revolutionary moments gone by. It’s as current as it gets.
Gray is unparalleled in her ability to articulate the need for today’s women to unite. But what separates this book from anything I have seen recently is its practical instructions on getting involved and staying involved.
Gray provides readers with numbers to call, organizations to email and donate to and scripts for reaching out to representatives and organizations.
But the book is far more than a Yellow Pages of Women’s Groups. Gray begins her story on that fateful night in November 2016 when millions of women across the world were KO’d by a left hook they never saw coming.
I ask Emma about that night in our discussion on last week’s episode of Book Talk.
“We certainly shouldn’t have been shocked and I certainly know that a lot of my colleagues of color were not as shocked as I was,” notes Gray. “So that was certainly a moment for me as a member of the media, and as a white person, to really sit and reflect on all of the blind spots that I have even as I try to be as aware and to listen and to try to amplify voices. Certainly there are things that a lot of us missed.”
I admire Gray’s vulnerability and admission of her shortsightedness because it illustrates one of her major themes, if not her most prominent message. We all need to do more listening and be more self-aware. Griping not only means no action and therefore leads to no change, it also means the one doing the talking is not listening. Imagine an America where the responsibility to listen and sympathize with others point of view was as valued as the freedom to express.
To hear directly from Emma herself, check out last week’s episode of Book Talk with Kory French.