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.
Feminist Futures in the Former East Bloc
When Snitow began her travels to East Central Europe in 1991 as a feminist organizer and teacher, she was surprised to find that, though there were post-communist women with feminist ideas and wishes, these women were isolated amid a massive repudiation of everything from the Cold War past, including the communist rhetoric of female emancipation. For complex historical reasons, independent feminist movements, present in the region from the nineteenth century, had become ideologically and socially homeless at the end of the twentieth. This piece offers a catalogue of twelve reasons why feminism is ignored, repudiated, called irrelevant, grossly insulted, made a joke, or, sometimes, treated with a useful skepticism in the region. The list is polyglot and often internally contradictory and explores regional debates about the value of: identity politics (or any form of politics); of essentialism; of the traditional family; of readings of the past and future, etc.