The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Second-Wave Feminism


“For all of its attention-sucking, data-mining downsides, the internet has held true to at least one of its original promises: connecting disparate groups of people. There’s hardly a better reminder of this than a global health crisis and a national wave of protests. Online, informal support networks have flourished; people are coordinating services for their neighbors and other communities, sending micropayments to strangers, and adding book and media recommendations to immaculately organized Google Docs. They are also, sometimes, simply passing PDFs from friend to friend. This was how I first encountered ‘The New Woman’s Survival Catalog,’ a zinelike 1970s compendium of feminist publishers, bookstores, health clinics, divorce co-ops and rape crisis centers across the country. It is the culmination of a six-month, 12,000-mile road trip in which the authors attempted to document a nationwide network of feminist alternative culture and resources. Reading it now feels nostalgic, voyeuristic even — all that travel and communing — but also inspiring. It’s an example of resources readily shared, of helpful social connectivity. ‘The New Woman’s Survival Catalog’ was a best seller when it was published in November 1973, but soon fell out of print, the remaining print copies rarely even surfacing on secondary markets. … It’s hard to miss: Large-format, 223 pages, with a siren-red cover, it’s about as physical a representation of network culture as you can get. The black-and-white cut-and-paste, catalog-style interior is reminiscent of Stewart Brand’s counterculture classic ‘Whole Earth Catalog,’ but the singular focus is women-run initiatives, from feminist credit unions (‘credit discrimination is a very sexist business’) to a feminist karate union (‘free from male chauvinism’) and feminist goat farmers. ‘Back then, cataloging was essentially our version of what social media is now,’ said Susan Rennie, 80, a co-author of the book. She and the book’s other author, Kirsten Grimstad, 75, were both professors who saw the compendium as a way to draw attention to the Women’s Movement. Ads in the catalog suggest visiting a 20-foot bulletin board at the Oakland bookstore A Woman’s Place to connect with other women; or to send a letter to one of the volunteers in various states offering legal guidance for changing one’s name to a ‘liberation name,’ à la Sue Sojourner or Laura X. …”
NY Times
The New Woman’s Survival Catalog


The book is culmination of a six-month, 12,000-mile road trip from 1973 in which the authors documented a nationwide network of feminist alternative culture and resources.

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