Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future

It was worth the money I paid for an otherwise useless CCSF women’s studies class to inadvertently stumble on this work, although I would have preferred to just read this book and avoid the peek I got into the desperation and mind-numbingness of community college classes. (Half an hour of precious time devoted to roll call – with extra credit given out if she mispronounced your name! Another half hour wasted reading aloud the “rules of engagement” about respecting each others’ opinions in class. I stopped showing up after this.) This is the book I’ve been searching for, but it was unfortunately written in the idyllic year of 2000 (“For the first time in American history, there is no war, not even the cold war, to mobilize and bond Americans. As desirable as this is, it also makes finding a collective identity more difficult.”), with innumerable printed references to websites and groups that no longer exist. Feminist history is ephemeral, you must catch the tiger by the tail and hope to be given the secret password to the exclusive clubs as it morphs and slinks into new spaces.
From the beginning, I related to the writers; Jennifer name-dropping Solanas in her intro “This is the kind of anger I associate with men, with privilege, with the reasons that the he-girl of anger, Valerie Solanas, was driven to write the SCUM Manifesto, not to mention shoot Andy Warhol. I couldn’t get it out of me. It was like a virus. I had road rage – and no car.” Amy and Jennifer take you on a much needed tour of feminist history and feminist present. Things I’ve been trying to figure out, like why it’s so damn hard to find feminists, explained in the media blackout of all fem-news. And because we’re so quick to forget about the past, due to lack of coverage, we’re destined to re-invent in the wheel every few decades, spinning our wheels. I had no idea about Carol Downer’s DIY and safe early-abortion technique (Del-Em: a helpful technique as we continue to see women’s health rights eroded in Texas and the south) and got a welcome refresher on Steinem & Gurley-Brown, among other learnings. Good stuff.
“Feminism is like fluoride. It’s in the water.”