Description - Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf
By following a group of four contemporary girls - including her younger self as they come of age in the seventies, Wolf shows how our culture tries to shape and confine women's desire. Embarking on a voyage of discovery, she illustrates how flawed and prescribed are the notions of what women want, and how these change through the ages - from Taoist techniques for giving women pleasure, to Victorian repression, and the so-called liberated nineties. Drawing on scholarly texts, secret diaries, real life and fantasy, she demonstrates that female sexuality is wilder, more demanding and more powerful than our culture dares to accept.
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(198mm x 129mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
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Other Editions - Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf
Book Reviews - Promiscuities by Naomi Wolf
US Kirkus Review »
This luminous personal memoir of a young girl's discovery and embrace of her own sexual desire is somewhat dimmed by the author's intrusive, familiar analysis of this culture's misrepresentation of female sexuality. Wolf sets up her third book of feminist social commentary as an ethnography of a subculture - specifically, white, middle-class girls who crossed the threshhold of adolescence in the 1970s. It is, she says, "the tribe I know best." Reprising themes from her 1991 bestseller The Beauty Myth, Wolf highlights the consequences for girls of our consumer society's emphasis on the exchange value of sex and its reduction of womanhood to rituals of diet, seduction, and the accumulation of possessions. She writes vividly about her own experiences contending with these issues while growing up in San Francisco in the era after the so-called sexual revolution and before the scourge of AIDS. Set adrift by their fragmenting families, Wolf's peers are prone to cynicism about love and to confusion about the power of their own sexuality. Wolf traces how externally imposed shame and silence systematically separate young women from their own, freely chosen sexual pleasure, effectively leaving intercourse as the only alternative to abstinence and resulting in high teen pregnancy rates. She observes the tragic casualties among her cohorts - spirited girls who pursue their natural instincts but are too quickly awarded pariah status as "bad girls," and she recounts her own near-misses with molestation. And she celebrates her most transgressive act of sexual expression - an extended, deeply erotic, and physically satisfying (though ultimately unconsummated) affair with an Irish Catholic boy who was among the paid workers on an Israeli kibbutz where, at age 16, she spent her summer. American girls who successfully manage the perilous journey to autonomous womanhood should not be left to rely so much on their own luck and bravado. But the author's alternative to such confusion, an adaptation of Native American initiation rituals, seems unpersuasive and insufficient. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Naomi Wolf
Naomi Wolf was born in 1962 in San Francisco, where she grew up. She studied at Yale before becoming a Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford, and working in Edinburgh. She was catapulted to success in 1990 with the publication of her first book, The Beauty Myth, which became an international bestseller, published in fourteen countries. This was followed by another best-selling book, Fire with Fire, about women's relationship to power. She writes on women's issues and lectures all over the world.