In the year 2000, girl culture was clearly ascendant. Lilith Fair, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the WNBA all seemed to indicate 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 remains critical for today’s young women to focus on gender. Deftly applying Third Wave confidence to Second Wave consciousness, Baumgardner and Richards offer a perceptive indictment from within of the state of feminism—and an incendiary call to arms. They show the vibrance from which the movement has evolved, detail important goals—ones that have been achieved and ones still on the horizon—and spell out what a world with true equality would be like.
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.