It is perhaps a stretch to call Promiscuities a Jewish book, although the author is Jewish, talks about growing up in a Jewish family and discusses Judaic (and other) traditions. The book is, however, to my way of thinking, brilliantly written and it addresses important topics.
Naomi Wolf's thesis is that American girls now make the transition to womanhood without strong cultural norms and "coming of age" rituals, and as a consequence enter their adult and sexual lives without the self confidence and expectations that could make them happier and fulfilled. She very candidly uses examples from her own girlhood growing up in the Haight in San Francisco during the late 70's, and from her struggle to redefine herself as a woman. Her personal anecdotes are cleverly interwoven with interviews of her contemporaries, anthropological and historical observations and a feminist perspective. She suggests solutions for these problems, and judging from my friend's children, I am hopeful that next generation will be a bit less foundationless than my own was.
I have heard the book criticized for its white middle class bias, but to me this seems like a natural viewpoint considering, the author's background and that of most of her audience. It is my feeling, as a male growing up in a similar milieu a few years before the author, that American boys also suffer from a lack of grounding similar to that of their sisters.
I highly recommend Promiscuities, especially to anyone who came of age during the seventies or who is raising children now.
- Bob Evans
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