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Welcome Back to the Woman Wars, Camille Paglia…

The return of the "pro-sex, pro-porn, pro-art, pro-beauty, pro-pop" sixties feminist art critic from Philadelphia who can rescue our national cultural conversation.

by
Leslie Loftis

Bio

October 13, 2012 - 7:00 am

Paglia offers no quarter for feminist conventional-wisdom generators. Women like Rosin and Wolf create and encourage our naiveté. Paglia exposes it. Witness these comments about Naomi Wolf’s Vagina:

I found many of the major U.S. reviews of Wolf’s book to be oddly naive in the way they forcefully critiqued her failures of research and reasoning and yet gullibly accepted everything she said about herself. They swallowed wholesale her tall tales of her fabulous sex life and didn’t seem to notice how viciously castrating to men the entire book is. And the reviewers revealed their own historical ignorance in their failure to call Wolf on her absurd portrayal of ancient vagina-worship—where it was brute procreation and never women’s pleasure that was being honored. …

Those chatty, snippy reviews revealed how watered down and banal feminist discourse has become in the decades since Freud was first rejected as sexist by second-wave feminists. … I was shocked at the grotesque sexual exhibitionism here of a woman who is turning 50 this year and who is the mother of two teenagers. Why would anyone do this to herself and her family? Shouldn’t it be obvious that anyone who is genuinely enjoying a wonderful love life would never expose those tender intimacies to the harsh spotlight of the world?

Paglia’s book is about art — all of it, not just the stuff deemed art by the coastal elites — but the range of issues she covered in that short Salon interview alone can spawn discussions ranging from the fate of publishing to protest voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein to the “formidable and capable [homeschooling women driving the Tea Party] whom feminism has foolishly ignored.” In fact, Paglia wrote this book for those homeschooling moms.

I eagerly await Glittering Images in part because her commentary often reminds me of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips. Bill Watterson provided insightful cultural commentary and has been sorely missed since he retired the cartoon. I am also eager to read Paglia’s book because I get to dust and polish some old musings about the visual artistry of George Lucas. (Back when Star Wars fans were fighting pop despair about the dreadful prequels, we often clung to the visuals as a silver lining.) Mostly, however, I expect that Paglia will make us think and question conventional wisdom. She will inspire critical thinking that is long overdue.

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