I agreed to do a chat today at the Guardian about abortion rights with Naomi Wolf. I thought it would be a quick and dirty educate the folks kind of thing, but instead it got really heated. Instead, she wanted to get me embroiled in a weird discussion about how naughty and irresponsible people are who don’t use contraception and how much we should hand-wring over the moral implications of abortion. Check it out, it was amazing. Unfortunately, I’m suffering bruises on my head.
Needless to say, Wolf’s entire defense of her confuzzled point of view on this is that she’s not a prude—oh no!—but that she has real concerns about those irresponsible kids screwing and drinking with their hot young bodies as if they’re not aging like the rest of us. But for all her concern about the lack of use of condoms, I have to remind readers of this snotty comment of hers from a couple years ago:
But feminists are in danger if we don’t know our history, and a saucy tattoo and a condom do not a revolution make.
Which is it, I have to ask? Are condoms the sure sign of basic moral responsibility or are they frivolous examples of how feminism has its priorities misplaced? Depends, I suppose, on if you’re having too much fun.
And let’s not forget Wolf’s infamous anti-porn tirade. She doesn’t oppose porn because of the widespread misogyny, of course, but in fact for the same reasons that religious conservatives condemn it: Because the only naked lady a man should be thinking about, much less looking at, is his wife:
In many more traditional cultures, it is not prudery that leads them to discourage men from looking at pornography. It is, rather, because these cultures understand male sexuality and what it takes to keep men and women turned on to one another over time—to help men, in particular, to, as the Old Testament puts it, “rejoice with the wife of thy youth; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times.” These cultures urge men not to look at porn because they know that a powerful erotic bond between parents is a key element of a strong family.
Never mind all the people who don’t think that coupledom means the end of being a singular erotic being, and who in fact find that having a fantasy life and a sense of erotic possibility to keep things from going stale with their partners. Which I suspect is more common than people who say, “Well as long as I avoid masturbating, I’ll get pent up enough to get aroused enough for a bout of unimaginative sex with my partner.” But it gets better. While denying in typical Wolf fashion that she wants women to cover up so as to make sure that men really don’t see any woman but their wives, she then, well, endorses it by envying women who live in cultures where hair-covering is mandatory on the grounds that depriving their husbands of visual stimuli that isn’t them must make them so hot by comparison. It was deeply depressing.
But nothing ever beats the classic Wolf where she claimed that “some” colleges found that the number one health problem in the clinics is anal fissures from all the butt-fucking. It immediately reminded me of the urban legend that’s thankfully fading where it’s claimed that aging gay men are incontinent from all the butt-fucking. Spreading these myths says more about one’s hang-ups than about the realities of sex out there.
But you know, her weird fixation on ascribing unintended pregnancies in this country mostly to stupid drunk kids who think they’re too good for condoms is strictly professional. I’m sure of it.