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Manifesta 10th Anniversary Edition [Paperback]

J Baumgardner
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 2 2010

In the year 2000, girl culture was clearly ascendant. From Lilith Fair to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the WNBA, it seemed that female pride was the order of the day. Yet feminism was also at a crossroads; “girl power” feminists were obsessed with personal empowerment at the expense of politics, while political institutions such as Ms. and NOW had lost their ability to speak to a new generation. In Manifesta, Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards brilliantly revealed the snags in each feminist hub, all the while proving that these snags had not imperiled the future of the feminist cause. The book went on to inspire a new generation of female readers, and has become a classic of contemporary feminist literature.

In the decade since Manifesta was published, the world has changed in ways both promising and disheartening for the feminist cause. Despite major strides forward, the wage gap remains vast; many feminist publications have died; shame around abortion has lingered and ’90s-style anti-abortion terrorism has reemerged. Many of the points first raised so bravely in Manifesta remain urgent—namely, why it’s still critical for today’s young women to focus on gender. This tenth anniversary edition of Manifesta, complete with updated back matter, commentary from the authors, and a provocative new preface, shows why the issues first raised by Baumgardner and Richards remain as timely as ever.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Two youthful alumnae of Ms. magazine present not a manifesto, but a talky defense of contemporary feminism, directed in part at disappointed Second Wave foremothers. Arguing that feminism is already all around us, the heart of the book is a long, unbridled paean to tough and sexy "girlie culture," as represented by Xena, Ally McBeal, the Spice Girls and little girls wearing Mia Hamm jerseys. Sporting green nail polish and Hello Kitty lunchboxes isn't infantile, the authors declare, but a "nod to our joyous youth." At the same time, they caution young women not to stop and rest on the success of cultural feminism, but to develop political lives and awareness. The book suffers mightily from its determined evenhandedness; Baumgardner and Richards typically temper any negative comments with an immediate positive note, and vice versa. Whether this feminist duo's ambivalence reflects schisms in the movement, their own fear of offending other feminists or simply the awkwardness of joint authorship, the result is shallow, both as a critique and a call to arms. Analysis of the few Third Wavers who are already visible in the media ought to have been surefire; instead, the chapter "Who's Afraid of Katie Roiphe?" comes too late (after 200-odd pages) and is too tame and indecisiveAthe authors pointedly clamp down on their own irritation with Roiphe, referring to her simply as a "controversial" figure among left-wing feminists. Fewer history lessons and more pique might have given this book more force. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Baumgardner and Richards, two writers with Ms. affiliations, start their analysis of U.S. feminism with a wonderful assumption: that "girl culture," from women rock stars and athletes to female entrepreneurs and inventors, have become an integral part of the national psyche. Thanks to Second Wave feminist agitators, today's young womenDthose who grew up believing that they could be anything they wanted to beDhave unprecedented opportunities. Now, as responsibility for women's liberation falls to them, decisions about goals, strategies, and direction have to be made. Manifesta, which is far less shrill than the name suggests, urges young women to pick up where their mothers, aunts, and adult mentors left off. Their challenge? To fulfill feminism's promise of justice, equality, and sexual freedom for all. Complete with appendixes to teach novices the nuts-and-bolts of community organizing, this book is a reasoned and passionate call to action and an exciting how-to guide for both burgeoning and seasoned Third Wave feminists. Recommended for all high school, college, and public libraries.DEleanor J. Bader, Brooklyn, NY
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Emily
This book is one of the most interesting books I've read on third wave feminism. The two young authors tell it like it really is (or was, as reading today you can see that the book is already somewhat dated even though it was only published a few years ago). They give a very fair and open-minded look at many feminist issues from dealing with different generations of feminism (and why they often struggle when working together) to whether it is good or bad that companies such as Mattel (makers of Barbie) sponsor feminist-oriented organizations. The book is highly entertaining, and even though it looks like a hefty read, it is so enjoyable and fast-paced that it will be done before you know it. The thing that makes this book really unique though, is the resource kit in the back complete with webpages, books, and addresses for just about anything a feminist of any age could be looking for. I highly reccomend this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars P.S. Aug. 20 2002
By Setsuna
I forgot to mention....... this book is also really a call to action! makes me fel like i should be out there writing a zine or just whatever... something BIG! this book is inspiring!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book Aug. 20 2002
By Setsuna
is very informative and not pointless drivel. Well i mean obviously but.... right. back to the point...... this book is really very interesting and...... fun (seriously.... it's my favorite non-fiction book and I'm 15 so it's not just dry facts and opinions) so read it and get in touch with your inner feminist self!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource in trying times Dec 9 2001
Unlike so many publications and resources that use feminist sounding terms to sell the same old commercialism and bodily-self hatred...or openly trash the movement as outdated and irelevant, this is my generation of feminsm in it's finest form.
Both authors have a open style of writing that encourages all members of Generation X--irespective of their previous level of involvement with feminism--to find out what is really is and really is not. Having grown up without many of the gender barriers that had plauged earlier generations, we were both more conditioned to live feminism, and less aware of the need for change compared to other generations.
Yet, Richards and Baumgardner also know this juxtaposition does not mean we want to see the clock turned back on women's progress any more than previous generations of activists and current activists do. A combination of personal discussions, pop culture and political references explicitly make it clear that two young women are writing this for themselves and others who share their same perspective on life.
Although they champion second wave feminists like Gloria Steinem for reaching out to young women and trully respecting their own paths and projects, Richards and Baumgardner also do not hide disdain for feminist elders who are self-absorbed, ageist and condescending. Indeed, the authors note these women forget that long after they have passed on, the young will be left running feminist organizations---and it would be so much better if we were seriously mentored now instead of reinventing everything while simmultaneously trying to stave off attacks from our generation of the far right.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book June 15 2001
By A Customer
MANIFESTA is an important writing because the young feminist movement needs focus. The authors have clearly been involved with the movement for long enough to realize many of its strengths and weaknesses. They also know that it needs to be shaped to meet the demands of young women today, while at the same time addressing the needs of older women. They discuss the issue of abortion, which alienates many women who would otherwise consider themselves feminists. MANIFESTA is a book for men to read also. It helps them to understand the daily struggles in life women are facing. Although the authors are living in more cosmopolitan areas than most women, men and women will learn from this book. I hope this effort by Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards will inspire many young women to write books on what feminism means to them, too. I believe only then will the older generation of feminist really understand the revolution that has occurred.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the place to start June 15 2004
this book is awesome, awesome, AWESOME as a starting point for those who feel a connection to feminist ideals but might not know how to begin or what they're subscribing to. excellent, comprehensive, easy to read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspires activism! Aug. 21 2002
Manifesta is truly inspirational and a call to action for all people, but third wave feminists in particular. Women today live better lives as a result of changes feminism has made in society; this book examines these changes and where we need to go in order to make more progress in the future. Manifesta also includes extensive appendices detailing a great deal of information and other media resources related to modern feminist activism.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good ideas, but very uneven Dec 4 2001
Perhaps my problem with the book came from the fact that it was written by two people working together, which probably contributed to its uneven tone. Jennifer and Amy (as they call themselves) try to encompass quite a bit of description and critique of certain youth-oriented trends in feminism, and sometimes it falls apart by the sheer width of their scope. And even though they continually point out that they are members of the Third Wave, the younger wave of feminist women, sometimes they seem strangely removed from the ideas that they purport to describe. For instance, they feel obliged to dismiss Girlie feminists as ineffectual, when this brand of feminism probably attracts more young people to the movement than any other. They were also dismissive to the huge contributions that Third Wavers have made to incorporating men to the cause. On the other hand, they were particularly adept at dismantling some of the myths that are commonly believed about feminism, which is a valuable task for anyone, Second or Third Wave. It's worth reading, but don't accept it as encompassing as a manifesta should be. Even the authors ask this of the reader.
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