Naomi Wolf waxes spiritual on the metaphysics of her vagina
A New Biography
by Naomi Wolf
$27.99 List Price
In 2007, Naomi Wolf warned us that the specter of fascism was haunting America. The radical Right was set to become a homegrown American version of the brownshirts. The free press was withering under a steady stream of disinformation and newspeak. A craven cabal of political elites was bullying the voting public into submission with cries for endless war. There were only a handful of patriots, in Wolf’s estimation, actively stemming the authoritarian tide. To increase their numbers and bolster the democratic cause, she published Give Me Liberty in 2008. The subtitle was A Handbook for American Revolutionaries, and Wolf devoted hands-on chapters that showed readers everything from how to start a boycott to the ins and outs of launching a politically themed blog.
Wolf’s newest book, very much by contrast, is a sharp lurch into the personal-is-political territory pioneered by second-wave feminism. In Vagina: A New Biography, Wolf doesn’t pause to mention if the ominous jackboots are still marching, or if the fight to keep America from devolving into a military junta has been won. But the evidence on offer in her, um, anatomy of the female pleasure center suggests that, at a minimum, the crisis in democratic politics has tapered off enough for her to indulge in a bit of below-the-navel gazing. Unfortunately for her readers, the gaze is shallow and dull. The book’s contents would be insulting were they not so silly. Here, for instance, is her précis for understanding her subject as a portal to the “Goddess” in daily female experience, as well as a sweeping characterization