“Vagina: A New Biography” by Naomi Wolf


Lindsay Beyerstein in In These Times:

Naomi Wolf tried vainly to deflect feminist criticism of her new book, Vagina: A New Biography in an interview with Amanda Hess of Slate.

Vagina has been savaged by leading feminist writers including Katha Pollitt, Michelle Goldberg, Jaclyn Friedman, Zoe Heller, and Ariel Levy. Even Germaine Greergot some good swipes in.

Why has Wolf's silly book inspired so much feminist pushback? Because we’re sick of religious conservatives trying to reduce us to our sexual organs. It’s bad enough when it’s a Republican senatorial candidate pontificating about “legitimate rape.” But it’s even more galling when the conservative in question is hailed as a major feminist thinker and her religion is Pop Tantra.

Like Todd Akin, Wolf preaches that women can only be fulfilled through rapturous surrender to our biological-cum-mystical destiny.

Akin and his cronies want to reduce women to their wombs. Wolf wants to reduce us to our vaginas. My colleague Sady Doyle sees Wolf’s daft brief for vagina worship as essentially harmless. If Concerned Women for America published this book, I'd agree.

If reactionaries are going to reduce us to our reproductive organs, they might as well reduce us to the fun ones. But pelvic essentialism is dangerous, whether it’s about babies or pleasure, and doubly so when it’s being peddled as feminism.