A Vagina of One’s Own by Vagina Wolf

September 12, 2012 at 9:20 pm (Beyond parody, Feminism, Rosie B, women)

I like this title so much I have to write a post to go with it.

Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A New Biography has been panned by Zoe HellerLaurie Penny, Katie Roiphe, Suzanne Moore and Neuroskeptic (a neuro-scientist who questions Wolf’s science bits).  (Entertaining quote mine here.)  The book outlines Wolf’s quest for the transcendental orgasm that she had mislaid somewhere. Suzanne Moore describes it as a “self-help” book.  So I’ve decided not to read it – it sounds very American and earnest, and as for searching for the transcendental orgasm, I have trouble enough locating my keys and spare pair of specs.  As for the power of the vagina that she extolls, mine won’t even charge up my moby. Laurie Penny groans, “Has feminism come to this?” Quite.

Putting “Vagina” in a title does make a book sound more exciting and feministy, so I am jazzing up titles of books I’m reading, or have read recently:-

The Curious Incident of the Vagina in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
In the Shadow of the Vagina by Tom Holland
Vagina’s End by Ford Madox Ford
Letters to Vagina by Philip Larkin
We Need to Talk about My Vagina by Lionel Shriver
The Lonely Planet Guide to the Vagina
A Vagina for Mr Biswas by V S Naipaul
The Vagina of a Provincial Lady by E M Delafield
Changing My Vagina: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith
The Vagina Stain by Philip Roth
The Odd Vaginas by George Gissing

This heavy solemnity about sex – Wolf, it seems,  thinks her vagina is a “goddess” and  chaps should cover you with rose petals before you go transcendental on them – does bring out the Vagina Wood in me.


  1. Sarah AB said,

    It sounds just awful. I hate that kind of mystical feminism – in fact I’m not too keen on mystical anything.

    A little off topic (!) but when I was trying to answer someone’s question about why I had been banned from Socialist Unity and turned to my husband for inspiration he suggested ‘because you have a vagina’?

    • Rosie said,

      There’s this awful “female consciousness” strand to feminism – a rejection of rationality and logic as being male constructs and we should just ride the wave our femaleness. It always made me furious as the feminists I like – de Beauvoir,, Greer, Woolf – were analytical, acerbic, literary and in Greer’s case, witty (though like Naomi Wolf her biology is shaky and skipped over in The Female Eunuch).

      I don’t want to dismiss transcendentalism, mysticism, epiphanies etc and appear a spiritual oaf. But they aren’t an easy thing to describe in discursive prose, and belong more to poetry (Hopkins, Wordsworth, Donne) , music etc. You end up with D H Lawrence’s blood consciousness and the rest of it i.e. fall into absurdities and gushing.

      I was banned from Socialist Unity because I went there in a jeering spirit. However, as you are always reasonable, I’d say it was because you disagreed with them. Tony Collins is declaiming more and more how good the debate is, as he bans more and more people, and falls into factional squabbles.

  2. Just saying said,

    Mysoginist for a male is woman degenorator.What is the word for a female degenorator.Feminist is not allowed i believe as it is to, genarlist.

  3. Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) said,

    Heh. Very good.

    What’s amazing is that if you take Amazon’s top 10 bestsellers right now, all the titles work really well if you replace a word with ‘vagina’: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bestsellers-Books/zgbs/books

    The Hairy Vagina
    Lorraine Pascale’s Fast, Fresh and Easy Vagina
    Fifty Vaginas Freed
    Fifty Vaginas Darker
    Fifty Shades of Vagina
    Bared to You (Vagina, Book 1)
    Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Vagina Course
    Vagina of the World (Century of Giants Trilogy 2)
    Reflected in You (Vagina, Book 2)
    The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Vagina and Disappeared

  4. Roger McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Classics too:

    The Diary of a Vagina by George and Weedon Grossmith
    The Notebooks of a Country Vagina by Mikhail Bulgakov
    Remembrance of Vaginas Past by Marcel Proust
    War and Vaginas by Leo Tolstoy
    The Vagina by Nikolai Gogol
    Confessions of an English Vagina Eater by Thomas de Quincy
    The Vagina at the Worlds End by William Morris
    A Vagina of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

    Having said this very few of Harold Bloom’s 1,524 canonical works of literature that we are all supposed to have read are improved by substituting a vagina.

    • Rosie said,

      A Vagina of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf

      Hey! – I thought of that first. Read the title of this piece.

      • sackcloth and ashes said,

        ‘Confessions of an English Vagina Eater by Thomas de Quincy’

        I think we have a winner. But can I propose ‘Homage to Vagina’, ‘Keep the Vagina Flying’, ‘The Thirty Nine Vaginas’, ‘The Riddle of the Vagina’ and ‘No Vaginas for Old Men’.

        I considered doing the same with Mikhail Sholokhov’s first novel, but it was rather disturbing.

  5. Jim M. said,

    At the risk of appearing all chauvinistic and over-aggressive I offer the following:
    Love in a Cold Vagina: Nancy Mitford
    Foucault’s Vagina: Umberto Eco
    The Taming of the Vagina The Boss
    Tender is the Vagina: F. Scott Fitzgerald

    and let’s end with an anthology…

    The Penguin Book of Modern British Vaginas: Ed. by Malcolm Bradbury.

  6. Rosie said,

    The Dickens Collection

    The Vagina Papers
    Vagina Twist
    A Christmas Vagina
    Our Mutual Vagina
    Vagina Times
    Great Vaginas
    Bleak Vagina
    The Old Vagina Shop
    A Tale of Two Vaginas

    George Eliot isn’t much good at vagina titles and Jane Austen isn’t very satisfactory either. Vagina Park and Vagina Abbey sound like classy erotica, in the line of The Story of O. Pride and Vaginas and Vaginas and Sensibility sound like alternative titles for Naomi Wolf’s own work.

  7. Jim M. said,

    The Wilde Bunch

    The Vagina of Dorian Gray
    The Happy Vagina & Other Stories
    Lady Windermere’s Vagina
    A Vagina of No Importance
    An Ideal Vagina

    and pleease may we include

    The Importance of Being a Vagina

    • Rosie said,

      That really made me laugh. The Importance of Being a Vagina could have been written by Naomi Wolf herself.

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