This week I’ve Been Mostly Reading About Other Women’s Vaginas

Naomi Wolf’s got a new book out about her vagina. I’m not a fan of Wolf to begin with as I think she’s an essentialist who confuses sex and gender under the guise of “feminism”. And, that was even before she started in on the “Assange is the Second Coming and therefore can’t be a rapist” shite. The kindest thing I can think to say of Wolf is that she’s a great self-publicist; although having read her book on motherhood it’s not really a kind statement to make. But, how can you be nice about someone who writes a book about what its really like to give birth in the US but who doesn’t get that their experience as a privileged white woman WITH HEALTHCARE is completely different to huge swathes of American women. Wolf just doesn’t get how unrepresentative her experience is and doesn’t get how foolish she sounds when making up shite about archaeology and neuroscience. The fact that Esquire thinks she’s “out-of-touch” just demonstrates how utterly ridiculous Wolf is. Even the MRAs think she’s a joke.*

I haven’t even read Wolf’s book [and have no intention to as I still want back the 3 hours it took me to read Misconceptions] but this discussion about her vagina has come out at the same time as I’ve been reading Monique Roffey’s With the Kisses of His Mouth: A Memoir. I loved Roffey’s The White Woman on the Green Bicycle. I am not loving her memoir. It started off as a brilliant discussion of the destruction of her relationship following her partner’s affair and the beginning of her new life. I’m only half way through it and its veered off into support of tantric sex. This obsession with the male penis validating women’s sexuality is just depressing.

The vitriol with which Wolf is being attacked is partly because of the bad science but it’s also because the book is about female sexuality. If there is one thing the Patriarchy loathes, it’s women discussing their bodies and their sexuality [both in theory and practise]. Women having honest conversations with one another about how they achieve orgasm or whether or not they masturbate or even if they have ever had an orgasm shifts the Overton Window. It makes the pornographication of society more evident. We need more women speaking about sexuality, both personally and theoretically. Unfortunately, Wolf chooses to universalise her experience and try to validate it under some very suspect science. Roffey’s memoir is far more honest since it is her personal journey. I just wish her journey involved loving herself more than it does about finding sex. Or, maybe that’s what bothers me so much about it. I will finish Roffey’s With The Kisses Of His Mouth but first I’m reading Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder. Sometimes, Atwood is the answer to every question. And, right now, I’m questioning a lot of things which I took as read even three months ago.

* Here, I am being maliciously unkind to a purpose. Actually, I think the very valid criticisms of Wolf’s book have been buried under a load of misogynistic twaddle but more about that later.

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