Debate on the state of feminism is not lacking these days among veterans of the fight for women’s rights and the women’s movement, some of whom feel young women take for granted the gains they struggled for, and among conservatives and even middle-of-the-roaders, who argue feminism has outlived its usefulness.
In Manifesta, I love how Ms. Magazine alums Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards meet the young women of today halfway, and on their own terms. They survey the highlights of the women’s movement, and sketch what life was like before it. Rather than judge the “girl culture” of Lilith Fair or Hello Kitty, the authors embrace it as empowering, but caution that it doesn’t exactly constitute a political strategy. They encourage girls and young women to actively build on past gains, and give valuable information on how to take that action in the form of grassroots organizing.