Vagina: A New Biography
By Naomi Wolf
Ecco, 400 pages
For decades, the clichéd image of the Western male’s midlife crisis has been an aging, randy man roaring around town in a red sports car with his comely young secretary beside him. It only seems fair, then, to note that this stereotype has a female counterpart, albeit one far more likely to garner a lucrative book deal than the male: A woman—usually upper-middle class, well educated, and approaching 50—who suddenly realizes that something is missing in her life. Although these thoughts might have been prompted by a particular crisis (the end of a marriage, a health scare, the sudden appearance of an attractive pool boy), said woman is never described as selfishly fleeing adulthood but rather as embarking on a Journey of Self-Discovery. This journey inevitably points eastward and almost always involves the embrace of some form of mysticism, a Yoda-like guru, a punishing yoga regime, or all three.
About the Author
Christine Rosen is a Bernard L. Schwartz fellow at the New America Foundation and senior editor of the New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society.