The Feminism of Uncertainty: A Gender Diary
Ann Snitow is Associate Professor of Literature and Gender Studies at Lang College, The New School, in New York City. A longtime activist, Snitow has cofounded The Network of East-West Women, No More Nice Girls, and New York Radical Feminists. She has written for The Village Voice, The Nation, The Women’s Review of Books, Dissent, and many other publications, and is coeditor of Powers of Desire: The Politics of Sexuality and The Feminist Memoir Project: Voices from Women's Liberation.
The Beast Within: Lady into Fox and A Man in the Zoo, by David Garnett
In the 1920s, the novelist, critic, and scion of the Bloomsbury school, David Garnett, produced two extraordinary novellas. Here his self-conscious, literary inheritance achieved a perfect balance with the wildness of his childhood, spent roaming free in the silence of the woods. Snitow’s descriptions of these stories, written in 1986, were meant to counter more harsh depictions of male and female sexuality arising in the feminist anti-pornography movement active at that time. In the first, the wife turns into a fox, but the husband loves his wild vixen anyway. Finally, though, she is too wild for him and he has to let her go. In the second, it’s the husband who is too wild for his lady-like fiancée. He is a beast, she says, because he dislikes prissy English social life. So he moves to the Zoo. Ultimately though, it is this passionate, unsociable creature that she wants.