'Half the Sky' Brings Gender-Based Horrors to Documentary Film
When my church began reading World Vision president Rich Stearns's book The Hole in Our Gospel—a book about our gospel call to seek justice worldwide—I thought something was wrong with me. While other church members spoke of needing to "pause for cry breaks" or feeling "wrecked" after reading a chapter, I felt none of that. Yes, I was angered and saddened in parts, but my life just didn't seem as affected as others' seemed to be.
I confessed this to a woman at my church, wondering aloud what sort of stone-hearted monster I was for not being "wrecked." She shook her head.
"Of course you're not as affected, Caryn," she said. "You've read Half the Sky. You've already been wrecked."
She had a point. While I had long understood the travesty and tragedies brought about by brutal patriarchies throughout the world, reading the heartbreaking specifics of fistulas and enslaved girls in Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide rocked my world. The book didn't just make me want to cry—it ignited something closer to rampage. The book ultimately offers hope by contending that educating women will free them. But the horrors offset that hope enough that once I finished the book, I sat with an intense anger from which I wasn't sure I would recover.
When I first heard that PBS's Independent Lens film channel was developing ...1