You only have to look at the statistics on women in leadership to see the stark reality facing those crawling up the corporate ladder in this country. To say there is little upward movement on the proportion of women in leadership would be an understatement of epic proportions. We know…
Vagina – small word, big controversy!
Last month, Naomi Wolf released her latest book Vagina: A New Biography. It is a book that brings together cutting edge science, cultural history and the authors personal journey to reframe how we understand female sexuality, and in turn, how we understand women in today’s society.
At a time when the commoditization of women’s sexuality appears to be at an all time high – where books about S&M and sexual aggression are selling in the millions and the tabloid media continue to exploit and devalue what it means to be a woman in today’s society – along comes Naomi Wolf to blaze some urgently needed fire and light on the subject. In the 90’s Wolf radically changed the way we think about women’s appearances and beauty and now, two decades later, she is doing to the same with women’s sexuality.
We have long heard of the mind-body connection, which is scientifically researched and supported. But until Wolf’s research, we have not made a scientific link or even a mythical link between the vagina and the mind. I found this book to be riveting in both the personal journey of the author, and the scientific findings that I found to be rigorous and well researched.
Wolf’s work has often been referred to as provocative, and looking at the reaction to Vagina, this book is no different. What surprised me, but maybe shouldn’t have, was the violent reaction to the book. So called feminists have come out in droves, not only to attack the book, but to personally attack Wolf. And as it later came to pass, many of these angry, exceptionally negative reviews were clearly written by people who had not even read the book. It raises a few questions for me. Firstly, why do some women, particularly those who claim to be leading feminists which by default should lead them to support other women, feel the need to so blatantly attack a writer who is trying to raise a dialogue around women’s sexuality, in order to support other women? And secondly, why are we so threatened by the idea of a sexually empowered female and a return to our Goddess nature? The questions are clearly linked, and remain unanswered.
Wolf remains for me the preeminent feminist voice of my generation. Vagina is a timely, important and highly readable book that will forever change the way we look at women and sexuality in our society. This book is destined to be yet another classic from Wolf. When she wrote The Beauty Myth she was way ahead of her time, provoking debate and changing societal perceptions forever. I see the same future for Vagina.
Have you read the book or been following the debate? Leave a comment below and join the discussion.
Get a behind the scenes look at Naomi on book tour in this fascinating article The Vagina Travelogues from The Huffington Post.
You can check out the book and buy it here on Amazon.
For more about Naomi Wolf, go to her website here.