Naomi Wolf is very smart. Her BA is from Yale and she was a Rhodes Scholar at New College, Oxford. Rhodes Scholar is quite a credential. But feminism is a big field, and rape is not her area. Though in recent discussions she has touted her twenty-something years of experience with rape survivors, rape is not the focus of any of her books. She hasn’t that I know of run a rape crisis shelter or an organization specific to sexual assault issues, and it’s my understanding that she has done relatively little direct work with rape survivors, many years ago. It hasn’t been her primary area, whether academically or in the trenches.
Maybe that’s why rape survivors are now making and wearing shirts that say, “Naomi Wolf Does Not Speak For Me.” Maybe she simply doesn’t realize that when she turns her formidable intellect to subjects she doesn’t know well, she is likely to jump to bad conclusions. That’s one possible explanation for why she would conclude that a man may stick his penis in a sleeping woman without prior approval. It’s elementary that that’s rape, and her failure or refusal to understand it is as ridiculous as Dyson saying that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere must mean more trees.
There is further evidence that Wolf simply conflates being smart with being right. Not long ago at Oxford, Wolf said (according to Sophie, who was there and reported firsthand the day after the event):
Don’t let anyone tell you you’re too privileged to represent the Other! (Shouting again, here.) That old line’s just yet another way to silence women! Don’t underestimate the power of the Human Imagination! (Touching her chest.) I may never have experienced life as an Indian woman in a bordello, but that doesn’t mean I can’t speak! An actual quote here was: “YOU CAN SPEAK FOR ANYONE – er – I MEAN ABOUT ANYONE YOU WANT!”
That’s the sort of thing someone says when they don’t understand that being smart is not the same thing as knowing what you’re talking about. It’s not a new problem for Wolf; one of the criticisms of Promiscuities was that she was trying to fit the whole world into the particular experience of one privileged white woman.if you ask me, that's the book on naomi wolf.
poor naomi. she's trashed women to get in with the lefty contingent that hates women (which is a larger group than many want to admit). now she thinks she's in.
however, she's not. she's a woman. 'fitting in' with a group of men who hate women.
they're not going to buy her bad books. they're only going to use her to attack other women.
and she's comfortable with that play mainly because she's an idiot and thinks she's found her way to riches at last. think again, naomi.
let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'