SEPTEMBER 17, 2012
The past week has not been kind to Naomi Wolf. Her latest book, Vagina: A New Biography, has recieved athletic pans just about everywhere: Slate, The New York Review of Books, the Nation, The New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review. But we here at TNR were worried that other reviewers, in their eagerness to take the former feminist heroine down a peg, had missed out on drawing proper attention to Wolf’s literary influences. So, herewith, a quiz: Can you pick out which of the below passages come from Vagina, and which come from other sources? It’s harder than it looks!
1) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from Spells and Magic’s description of the “Wiccan Way”?
A) Why a Goddess? Goddesses are powerful; those around them hold them in reverence. Goddesses do not need to doubt themselves, their value, or their allure—they can even be a bit self-absorbed—so they can allow permission to go on the trance journey … .
B) Because of its veneration of a Goddess, Wicca follows the moral values associated with feminine spiritual powers—such as love, peace, and joy—rather than the more masculine religious attitudes of domination, strength, and authority.
2) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from Eat, Pray, Love?
A) I began again, after lovemaking, to experience the sense of heightened interconnectedness, which the Romantic poets and painters called “the Sublime”: that sense of a spiritual dimension that unites all things—hints of a sense of all things shivering with light. That, to my immense happiness, returned. It was enough for me to have glimpses of it once again from time to time.
B) One thing I do know about intimacy is that there are certain natural laws which govern the sexual experience of two people, and that these laws cannot be budged any more than gravity can be negotiated with. To feel physically comfortable with someone else’s body is not a decision you can make. It has very little to do with how two people think or act or talk or even look. The mysterious magnet is either there, buried somewhere deep behind the sternum, or it is not.
3) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from Pride and Prejudice?
A) A happy heterosexual vagina requires, to state the obvious, a virile man.
B) It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.
4) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from Fifty Shades of Grey?
A)Vacation sex is so arousing because of the novelty and unpredictability of the setting[.]
B) What is it about elevators?
5) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from Real Simple?
A) “I felt the vaginal pulse when my boyfriend and I were grocery shopping in a supermarket and he remembered—I had forgotten—that we needed cat food for my cat.”
B) Make a list of everything you need. People who avoid impulse shopping spend up to 23 percent less on their grocery bills.
6) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from the writings of Dioscorides?
A)We have an epidemic of infertility in the United States and Western Europe: straight women are not smelling men closely or often enough, perhaps, to boost the levels of luteinizing hormone they require for optimal fertility.
B)Asparagus tied up as an amulet or drunk as a decoction will prevent conception and render one sterile.
7) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from my spam folder?
A) Vulvavelvet.com also has a fascinating page in which women write in with tricks and tips for satisfying masturbation.
B) Find 6 new Flirts on Zoost.
8) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from Reddit?
A) “Do you think most men in our culture understand the vagina?”
B) “Why don’t people know the difference between vagina and vulva?”
9)Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is an Old Spice slogan?
A)[T]he secret life of the male armpit, and its relationship to heterosexual female desire.
B) Smell is power.
10) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is a George Carlin routine?
A) Straight men would do well to ask themselves: “Do I want to be married to a Goddess—or a bitch?” Unfortunately, there is not, physiologically, much middle ground available for women.
B) Here’s all you have to know about men and women: women are crazy, men are stupid. And the main reason women are crazy is that men are stupid.
11) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from ehow.com’s advice on “How To Convince a Woman to Date You?”
A) Tell her she’s beautiful. This is not trivial.
B) Be romantic. Women love fairy tales, so you must show her that you really see her as a princess.
12) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from Cosmopolitan’s list of “50 Things to Do With Your Breasts”?
A) Women may wish to be aware that if they want to have hot anonymous sex with some guy they may not trust, but don’t want to fall in love with him—they would be well advised to discourage him from interacting with their nipples.
B) Strategically place rose petals over your bare nipples just before he comes to bed.
13) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is a Lil Wayne lyric?
A)Wherever I looked around me I saw the undimmed, unsullied feminine energy, creating and giving. Female sexuality was everywhere, doing nothing less than nurturing and sustaining the entire world; doing nothing less than nurturing and sustaining us, humanity.
B) P-U-S-S-Y. Because it’s da reason I am alive. And I’m a need it to stay alive.
14) Which passage is from Naomi Wolf’s Vagina, and which is from the inner monologue of a 12-year-old boy?
A)Vagina vagina vagina, I thought with amusement.
B)Vagina vagina vagina, I thought with amusement.
Answers: All "A" options are quotes from the Wolf book.