The Right of Amount of Panic sounds interesting as a title for a book doesn’t it, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic? I definitely found it intriguing, although it didn’t have anything to do with the right amount of panic for this outbreak. We could use some kind of manual on that, couldn’t we? Instead, this book explores and defines “panic” as it applies to women and their efforts to prevent being harassed or harmed by men. No matter your gender or your feelings about the feminist movement, this book is an an interesting and useful read.

What’s The Right Amount of Panic About?

Really, if you have any desire to understand problems in society in general or what it’s like to be a woman in this day and age specifically, at least in relation to the social dynamics between men and women, this book is worth a read, at least so that you can be more informed. Ninety-percent of this book is descriptions by various woman of the “safety work” they and others do to prevent any kind of threat of sexual harassment or violence, things like learning self-defense, holding your keys a certain way, or carrying mace when you travel by yourself. These are things I’m already pretty familiar with, so I skipped over a lot of them.

This book isn’t an exploration of the glass ceiling that many women encounter at work or of any of the other myriad issues unique to us. It’s not a rallying cry against men, although there are some feminist undertones. It is a tool for understanding and maybe even for dialogue.

I, for example, think author F. Vera-Gray makes an interesting point: that there’s something wrong with the fact that women have done so much “safety work” that they take for granted that it needs to be done. She doesn’t tell women to stop doing safety work, nor does she accuse all men of being domineering. I’m glad she didn’t lambaste all men by virtue of their gender because that would have been too generalizing to be helpful or constructive.

She does, however, tell women to be more mindful of the safety work that they and others do. That, if anything, is the main purpose of The Right Amount of Panic: to increase women’s awareness of each other’s situations because, as she says, “the only way to adjust this paradigm is collectively.” Although I feel that point would have been made in much fewer words–it became repetitive after a while–it still needs to be said.

Personally, though, I found this book interesting not only because of the experiences other women have had, but also because it helped me gain a perspective on something I hadn’t realized I was missing. I extrapolated Vera-Gray’s conclusions about why women do what they do to other social issues, like race.

It made me wonder, for instance, if most African Americans don’t speak up about their collective mistreatment by white people because they–like women avoiding sexual predators or bullies–have just done so much of the “safety work” of keeping their heads low that they too just think of it as part of their lives. It’s an unpleasant and unfair one, to be sure, but a here-to-stay part nonetheless. At least, I guess that’s what they might think. They’d rather continue to do the safety work they’ve always done than try to fight the bigger fights–not only of changing any still-prejudiced minds but also of convincing other African Americans to actively join them in the effort. Or maybe they haven’t experienced that mistreatment as much as others? I don’t know.

Who Would Like The Right Amount of Panic?

Both gender and race issues are complicated and nuanced ones, for sure, but you’ll like this book if you like nonfiction books with lots of real-world situations and a good amount of research. And ones that make you think.

Book Deal for The Right Amount of Panic

The lowest price I could find on this book was $19.99 on BarnesandNoble.com.

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