If you haven’t read The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf’s internationally bestselling analysis of beauty as a social construct, get yourself back to college and try again, this time with feeling. The titles of subsequent books–all of them starred by Booklist–say it all: Fire with Fire: The New Female Power and How It Will Change the 21st Century, Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood, and, hot off the presses, Vagina: A New Biography.
But who is Naomi Wolf, really? Is she just some writer good at putting a few words before a colon, followed by several other words? Let’s find out in what I’ve humbly titled Hostile Questions: How This Will Be the Single Interview to Change the World as We Know It. (Starred review, please.)
Just who do you think you are?
Just a woman asking questions, in this case about a culture that for 5,000 years had had a bizarre obsession with ridiculing, targeting, and objectifying a certain part of female anatomy.
Where do you get off?
Raised to believe anyone can ask any good question!
What’s the big idea?
There is a brain-vagina connection that recent neuroscience, that is much underreported, is documenting. The brain-vagina connection reveals that sexual anticipation and then sexual pleasure in women boosts first dopamine, then opioids and oxytocin, in the female brain. Dopamine is the ultimate feminist neurotransmitter– bringing the mindstates of confidence, motivation, goal-orientation and trust in one’s own judgement. Opioids bring about a sense of transcendence or ecstasy, and oxytocin bonds people. So the vagina is best understood not an ‘just’ a sex organ but as women’s creative superpower.
What is your problem, man?
The problem is that there are about fifteen mind-blowing discoveries about female sexual response and anatomy in the book that in spite of being educated about sexual research in general, and interested in it, I never knew. The problem is that these major discoveries are being kept, whether from squeamishness or neglect, from mainstream discussion.
Haven’t you done enough?
It would be nice to think so. But not while there are really big questions and answers like this set to tackle and share.