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Naomi Wolf: live webchat TODAY, Thursday 6 September, 12pm to 1pm

(410 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 04-Sep-12 15:22:16

Naomi Wolf is joining us for a live webchat on Thursday 6 September at 12 noon. Naomi's latest book, Vagina - A New Biography, has attracted major media attention this month and we're delighted she's joining us to tell us more about the book and answer your questions. 

Described as 'exhilarating and groundbreaking', Vagina combines cultural history, physiology and personal memoir to explore the role of female desire and how it affects female identity, creativity and confidence.

Naomi Wolf is author of seven books including the bestseller, The Beauty Myth. She travels regularly to speak about gender equality and social justice. She lives in New York and is working towards a doctorate at New College, Oxford University. 

Please post your question to Naomi in advance, or set the date in your diary to join us this Thursday at midday to chat to Naomi 'live'.

comixminx Wed 03-Oct-12 08:34:54

I see her current doctorate at Oxford is about the discourses about sexuality in the nineteenth century. Pity: she could be doing experimental psychology and actually learning about neuropsychology properly. Oh well. Not like I care but she would then be in a position to actually learn from the criticisms that have been made, maybe...

Fobwatch Sat 29-Sep-12 09:13:27

Just watched the Paxman interview.


The bit where he questions her on what it isbif you wake up in the morning and find someone has had sex with you whikst you slept and her response is so revealing. She says "well, the law sees it as rape, that's the law"

NurseRatched Fri 28-Sep-12 23:45:22

Jeremy Paxman debates Naomi Wolf on Rape and the Vagina

chaya5738 Wed 12-Sep-12 18:25:27

Still waiting on that apology re: appalling Assange comments....

swallowedAfly Wed 12-Sep-12 15:51:47

well any doubts i had that naomi was a feminist no more and actually rather a misogynist have been waved away by her appearance here (and it was still redeemable) then that article.

all that space to write an apology and instead more book promotion and strawman arguments and patronising of her critics.

ho hum. seeya naomi. enjoy the rewards that come with selling out. shame you had to sell out the victims of rape in the process.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 15:27:08

Dear Naomi,
People are not saying that writing a book about the physiology of the vagina and its connection with the brain is essentialist.
The point they are making is that ascribing a unique importance to the vagina-brain connection is essentialist.
They are also not criticising you for writing about the physiology of the vagina and its connection with the brain, they are criticising you for having a poor grasp of our current level of knowledge with regard to the physiology of the vagina and its connection with the brain.
love Tunip x

prettybird Wed 12-Sep-12 15:20:04


She really doesn't understand her own lack of scientific rigour methodology basic knowledge.

TunipTheVegemal Wed 12-Sep-12 15:10:36

Wow, she has an amazing ability to avoid reality and convince herself of things rather than face up to criticism, hasn't she?

I dare say her agent is in negotiations over the apology. hmm

aufaniae Wed 12-Sep-12 15:05:22

Any sign of that public apology yet then?

PretzelTime Wed 12-Sep-12 15:04:17

Yeah sad

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Wed 12-Sep-12 14:50:12


i'd have thought her next piece for the guardian would have been 'why i really regret writing that cack about the Assange case'.

Greythorne Wed 12-Sep-12 14:46:43

Talk about missing the point:

Greythorne Tue 11-Sep-12 18:46:02

Don't think all of evo psychology is bunk

But there is a very strong tendancy for populist idiots who don't understand how evidence works to use pseudo evo psychology to justify all sorts of rubbish. Sadly, Wolf has just placed herself firmly in this latter category.

swallowedAfly Tue 11-Sep-12 16:51:20

it's teleological bollocks and any serious academic or scientist knows it. populist nonsense.

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 11-Sep-12 16:44:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mercury7 Tue 11-Sep-12 16:19:48

well, I was jiving with it until she came in with the evolutionary psychology angle..mind you lots of people DO take evolutionary psychology seriously.
I think it's bunk

swallowedAfly Tue 11-Sep-12 15:59:59

loving that quote too grin

that shit about 'needing a virile man' is jaw-dropping. it would be best if she just stopped using the term feminist when she is very clearly not now but in fact a heteronormative handmaiden peddling tired old myths about how women just need a good seeing to.

prettybird Tue 11-Sep-12 15:53:22

I love this quote from Zoe Heller's review to refute Naomi's assertion that women "need" hmm to be made to feel safe by the big strong man hmm in order to achieve orgasm because they will be "so carried away"hmm:

"Anecdotal evidence suggests that a female in the throes of more than culturally adequate passion can snap to attention with astonishing rapidity if one of her children happens to wander into her bedroom, and the response time might even be quicker if the intruder were a woolly mammoth"


vezzie Tue 11-Sep-12 14:59:41

Mercury, I haven't read it. I don't think I will bother I'm afraid. I don't feel qualified to say that it is shit, exactly (not having read it); but I do feel qualified to say I will almost certainly find it very annoying.

SuperB0F Tue 11-Sep-12 14:58:16

Oh, and does anyone else find the idea of that London "somatic therapist" deeply creepy? It reminds me of the Victorian doctors who would stimulate their middle-class female patients with vibrators to cure their "hysteria". In fact, wasn't hysteria itself initially believed to be caused by a wandering womb? The male medical establishment held that women were uniquely emotional creatures because of their sexual biology, and unsuited to manly pursuits such as much of an education, or the vote. Wolf appears to have simply put a fresh spin on a very old and tired idea. The fact that she uses the pseudoscience of evolutionary psychology makes it no less reactionary.

SuperB0F Tue 11-Sep-12 14:52:32

I've read enough, in extracts, and pieces quoted by reviewers, to feel disobliged to spend my money on it. In the same way that I don't have to read Fifty Shades Of Grey to know that it's shit.

mercury7 Tue 11-Sep-12 14:37:58

...hmmm, 60% through and it's all gone a bit 'venus & mars'

mercury7 Tue 11-Sep-12 12:10:08

I dont especially disagree with the Zoe Heller review, but still enjoying the book and finding it interesting to look at things from Naomi Wolf's view point.

Has anyone else on this thread actually read the book that's being discussed?

PretzelTime Tue 11-Sep-12 11:38:34

Yes Tunip, I found that incredibly strange too.

From the review: Wolf specifically disqualifies masturbation as a method of achieving high orgasm: “A happy heterosexual vagina requires, to state the obvious, a virile man.”

1. For a heterosexual woman, only interourse will get you a "real" orgasm. All others are just not special and creativity inducing enough hmm
2. Apparantly lesbian, bisexual, asexual etc women have a different type of vagina hmm

TunipTheVegemal Tue 11-Sep-12 11:26:24

That is indeed a good review.

I hadn't previously picked up on the inconsistency of her attitude to rape - when she was supporting Assange it was that rape shouldn't be treated as a uniquely different crime, now she's saying that (because of the sacred vagina) rape is uniquely damaging to women.

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