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What Would a Vagina Think of Naomi Wolf's Silly New Book About Vaginas?

The vagina may be built to withstand multiple childbirths, but apparently even a joke at its expense can shut women down, according to Naomi Wolf's strange new book.

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The vagina makes women need a lot of things more than men—like love and tenderness (Wolf attacks young feminists for defending casual sex). But what it most requires is what Wolf calls the Goddess Array: worship and pampering. For “evolutionary reasons,” she writes, “women need to be told regularly by their mates that they are beautiful—indeed, ‘the most beautiful’—in order to truly sexually release.” If you doubt that biology is destiny, just ask Teleflora: “Why will any control group of heterosexual women instinctively agree that they don’t want the guy who brings chrysanthemums, or carnations? Why does it seem to matter, erotically, if the flowers were ordered thoughtfully in advance, or picked up hastily at the deli down the street, and offered in their plastic wrapping?”

It is hard to believe evolution had much to do with these botanical requirements, or with the drawn baths, candlelight and other precoital attentions expected here of men.

In case your man is unwilling to become your personal spa attendant, there’s always North London’s Mike Lousada, an investment banker turned tantric “somatic therapist” who for a fee will massage your neglected yoni; if he thinks it will be “extremely therapeutic,” he’ll even deploy his lingam and have sex with you. Nice work if you can get it! It is unclear what separates Lousada from the Victorian doctors Wolf disapproves of, who genitally massaged their frustrated women patients to orgasm. For that matter, what separates him from a sex worker? A bit of Orientalist folderol, knowledgeably debunked by Michelle Goldberg in  Newsweek, and of course that universal solvent of all things fraudulent and humiliating, religion.

It’s lucky vaginas can’t read, or mine would be cringing in embarrassment that  Vagina is what millions think of as feminism.

Katha Pollitt is a columnist for The Nation.
 
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