Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Naomi Wolf Got It Wrong

No one begrudges Naomi Wolf her orgasms. One believes that she would have advanced the cause of respecting women if she had kept hers to herself.

In Vagina Wolf attempts to use neuroscience to make a case for her feminist mythology.  

While I have commented on Wolf’s book, I have not addressed the way she makes use of science. I am not qualified to do so.

As it happens, neither is Wolf.

Writing in Time Magazine Maia Szalavitz takes a close look at Wolf’s analysis and finds that she has completely misunderstood the science. By trying to make it say what she wants it to say, Wolf seems to be manifesting, one supposes, the power of her feminine desire or her arrogance or both.

Wolf has clung to her prejudices and has tried to wrap them in the authority of science.

Ironically, Szalavitz concludes, they perpetuate a sexist caricature of female desire:

The brain and female sexuality are extremely complicated — and reducing them to simplistic formulations that deny women their humanity fails to do justice to either feminism or science. Properly contextualized, neuroscience can add to our knowledge of sexuality, but not if it’s twisted to support sexist ideas about women as “animals” who are so addicted to love that they become zombies.
I will not try to summarize Szalavitz’s article. It is well worth a read.

Szalavitz reveals that when it comes to the neuroscience of female desire Naomi Wolf does not know what she is talking about.


denizenofgoo said...

"Szalavitz reveals that when it comes to the neuroscience of female desire Naomi Wolf does not know what she is talking about."

Well, that's being extremely harsh on Ms Wolf's ability to not know what she is talking about.

Anorexia statistics: Naomi Wolf’s Overdo and Lie Factor (WOLF)

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Frightening statistics... American intellectual life is in a sorry state if it pays attention to such writers.

Dennis said...

American intellectual life IS in a sorry state. Have you read some of the tripe passing as scholarship emanating from academe? Just the Studies departments alone fail to meet any requirement that would be expected from those who dominate these "political" groups. Then add "propaganda passing as education and one has severely "dumbed down" institutions of education.
The sad part is that this permeates every level of education. "Junk Science" just oozes out of institution more interested in money than science.
Naomi Wolfe is an example of how far these institution have degraded themselves and sadly the people who graduate from them. I am amazed that anyone would find that this comes as a surprise.
We have not fallen from one of the countries that had some of the better institutions of higher learning to the level we have now sunk for no reason.
It makes one wonder how many of the graduates of American schools think they really got an education that will serve them well now and in the future? Does anyone really believe we would be in the condition we are if we had education institutions we could be proud?