"A New Kind of Party Animal", by Marlene Mitchell
A Review by Sidra Vitale
A New Kind of Party Animal: How the Young are Tearing Up the American Political Landscape, by Marlene Mitchell.
Read. This. Book.
An accessible and seminal work discussing the political activity of 18-35s in the US, I think "Party Animal" illustrates some of the
differences betweeen the 'Second Wave Feminist Movement', and the third wave of feminism.
To put it more succintly, I think it illustrates the major differences between my "Gen-X" peers and "our parent's generation", in all
areas. Which is why I recommend it to third and second wave feminists, to older votors, to activists of any stripe who are wondering
about the supposed 'apathetic slackers' of my generation.
In the US, people my age often exhibit the following characteristics:
We lack party affiliation, feeling no need to spout a party line, whether it's Democratic, Republican, or the line of some national
feminist organization, i.e., NOW.
We have diverse interests in a wide range of issues, which strongly implies that if you want the 'youth vote', on anything, you
simply aren't going to get it. We all have our own pet peeves and projects, and that's part of why we tend to register as
independents when we vote, because we're not interested in attaching ourselves to some large ideology. Can the baggage, just solve
As a feminist, I have a deep respect for all the other interests that friends who call themselves 'feminists' might have. We don't have
to agree, and with a group this large, we shouldn't agree on everything anyway.
We have grassroots-based approaches to problem-solving -- look to the Internet as a case in point. If a website isn't grassroots,
what is? As activists, we tend to organize and focus our attentions on the local level instead of the national. And since 'everything
important in America happens at the national level'...these efforts are easily overlooked, and my generation gets labeled "apathetic".
We demonstrate a lack of gender bias The overriding question for us is "can this person get the job done" when we're hiring, or
voting, or donating money.
Our generation is highly skeptic of marketing and advertising. We know a soundbite when we hear it and we don't trust it
worth a damn. There's always more to the story than meets the eye.
and we're computer savvy, so when we get slapped with smarm and condescension in some political ad, we have no qualms about
diving straight into the Congressional Record to find the truth.
Copyright 1999 Sidra M. S. Vitale.