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.
Life Sentence: My Uncertainty Principle
This piece is about the inevitable uncertainty in the experience of writing. It analyzes different styles and describes the difficulty of being clear without cancelling out complexity or hiding the holes to be found in all arguments. The author describes her own writing history as a dyslexic child and her own continuing struggles to write well; she then offers examples from other writers. Though unclear academic writing gets some criticism here, it is recognized that sometimes what becomes jargon originated as oppositional language, an effort to name new ideas and break with old categories. All writers encounter ignorance as they write and uncertainty is always somewhere in the prose. However, writing is a reach for coherence; it puts power and powerlessness together.