BY JULIE SEYLER
When Lo and I were getting this blog together, Naomi Wolf’s book, “Vagina: A New Biography, celebrating Wolf’s vagina, was published and reviewed all over the place. The book is back in the news since the November 25 broadcast of the CBS television series, “The Good Wife,” had Stockard Channing, as attorney Alicia Florrick’s mother, touting the book as the must-read of the year. The point being that Wolf’s research supporting the conclusion that the vagina is the source of all power and happiness has created a lot of buzz over the past few months. Who would not want to know that if you, the goddess, connect in to this particular orifice, you will touch nirvana.
At the time the book was published, the September 10, 2012 issue of The New Yorker had Ariel Levy simultaneously reviewing “Vagina” and the E L James’ runaway erotic bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey”, part of the “Fifty Shades” trilogy. This amused me because these twinned reviews, in a 1000 words, seemed to encapsulate the ambiguity of a woman’s self-perceived sexuality in the early 21st century.
The September 14, 2012 Sunday New York Times Book Review approached the book completely differently. The editors paired Toni Bentley’s incredibly witty take of “Vagina,” with a review by Jennifer Homans on Hanna Rosins’ tome, “The End of Men”, the theme of which ponders whether the feminist movement has succeeded in killing masculinity. Now that’s a topic for a blog-a-cussion. I divert. More on that to come …
As to these books, I have not read them and probably won’t. I completely cop to the fact that therefore I have no right to comment. To me, they sound boring, predictable and effortful. (I backtrack … maybe I should at least delve into the S & M kick of the “Fifty Shade” series, and then revisit the books of the Marquis de Sade to see if everything new is old again.) But I am no scholar. So take me back to the days when I discovered the classic 1970, “Our Bodies Ourselves.” I smile – it said all I needed to know. OK, that and a few Penthouse porno tales about the housewife and the plumber.