Rachel Blau duPlessis/Ann Snitow
THE FEMINIST MEMOIR PROJECT: Voices from Women's Liberation
Edited by Rachel Blau duPlessis and Ann Snitow
Reviewed by *Sheila Tobias
This is a "must read" for anyone who lived through the beginnings of the Second Wave, or wishes she had. Rachel Blau duPlessis, a historian at Temple U. and writer Ann Snitow have edited remembrances of the women's liberation movement from 32 feminists into a collective memoir. We experience again the spirit of those times, their "excitement and engagement" from those who were there.
The contributors offer highs and lows and a range of remembered and current political agendas. I was struck with how much Idid not know (or had forgotten) -- that Carol Hanisch initiated the Miss America action, that, No More Fun and Games was an 80 page manifesto, that Valerie Solanas (author of The S.C. U.M. Manifesto) died a bag lady in San Francisco in 1978. But most of all the book reminds us how much feminism meant to us and how it transformed our lives.
A book like this inevitably provides perspectives on the same events. The first gatherings of exiles from SDS and other male-dominated movements in Maryland and Illinois are remembered variously -- as in the 1970 Congress to Unite Women. Also of importance was the first wave of writings: Jo Freeman's Voices of Women's Liberation, Naomi Weisstein's Psychology Constructs the Female, Juliet Mitchell's Women: The Longest Revolution, and the S.C.U.M Manifesto itself.