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Promiscuities Hardcover – Jun 2 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 286 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Canada; 2nd printing edition (June 2 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067941603X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679308539
  • ASIN: 0679308539
  • Product Dimensions: 24.6 x 16.3 x 3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #530,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.4 out of 5 stars
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lauren McGowen on June 19 2003
Format: Paperback
It is an excellent conversation piece to share with your husband/boyfriend, friends, daughter and mother. It touches on so many issues that are too "weird" to say outloud. It really makes you think about your sexuality and your desires and your relationships with both women and men in a way that validates them for the first time ever. It is thought- provoking and informative. You will read it, love it, and pass it on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane Schirf on Sept. 6 2001
Format: Paperback
Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood by Naomi Wolf. Not recommended.
Female coming of age. Female desire and sexuality. Feminism. Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood attempts to address these issues in the context of Naomi Wolf's own coming of age in the 1970s. The problem with this approach is that it is too personal (a weakness Wolf admits early on) to offer either much insight or value. The best it can do is provoke clearer thinking in the reader than Wolf is capable of.
The stories are provided by Wolf and her circle of friends, who are for the most part middle-class, urban, and Caucasian. Much of Wolf's discussion focuses on her childhood/adolescence in San Francisco and her exposure to that city's counterculture ideas and sex industry-something that may resonate with women of similar backgrounds, but not with this lower middle-class, East Coast, small-town girl whose exposure to the sex industry came at the end of adolescence, not during childhood. (Unlike Wolf, I and my peers didn't walk past strip clubs every day, see genital fetishes sold in local stores, or know about "sex workers" before hitting double digits.)
Wolf describes in detail such things as her procurement of birth control in preparation for the planned loss of her virginity to a "sweet guy." She would have you believe she was thinking about when a girl becomes a woman, what makes a girl a woman, the ritual of becoming a woman, and the adult attitude toward teenage sex at this tender age while making this well-thought-out decision. According to her description of the event, which feels meaningless to her because of the way society disregards it, there is no teenage impulsiveness or passion involved-again, something that does not resonate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By marie.rochon1@sympatico.ca on Feb. 4 1999
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed "Promiscuities" so much that I found myself continually marking up pages and asterisking sections as they described situations I had lived through but could not articulate. I found this book to be incredibly insightful. Finally a book that discusses how it feels to be a young woman, struggling with her burgeoning sexuality, in a world that denies and degrades female sexual power. While Wolfe's perspective on this issue is largely white, middle class, and could have included more ethnic attitudes of female sexuality, this book is a starting point on a discussion that needs to continue. I found this book to be fascinating and will return to it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark J Dulcey on Dec 7 1998
Format: Paperback
Naomi Wolf strikes home here with a book that will resonate with a lot of people, especially those born between 1960 and 1970 and raised on one of the coasts. Unlike her past works, Promiscuities is a very personal story; she has a lot to say about her own experiences and those of the girls and women she grew up with. The earlier parts of the book are stronger than the finish, but it's worth getting to the end anyway.
One problem: the tagline used for the paperback edition ("The Secret Struggle for Womanhood") might lead the reader to expect a book with answers rather than questions, more like Ms. Wolf's previous books. The tagline of the hardcover edition ("An Ordinary American Girlhood") is better, though it perhaps misleads the reader about the universality of her experiences.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By elisabeth_schwartz@harvard.edu on Aug. 22 1998
Format: Paperback
This book is a very smooth read. I was impressed by how down to earth Ms. Wolf is while still being intellectual. It made me realize I was not the only one dealing with issues of how to manifest female sexualty in a feminist and sexually repressed society.
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Format: Hardcover
If you're a young woman who came of age in the 1970s you will probably like this book. Maybe I should specify if you were a young *white* woman as Wolf states that she didn't make an effort to include women of colour which is fine...plenty has been written about their experiences as well. Wolf grew up in the Bay area and writes with great poignancy sometimes about the events and feelings she went through. Some of her experiences were a little different from mine - I wasn't as curious to experience sex as she apparently was, nor did I experiment with drugs as a teen. But I still related to a lot of it, and that which I didn't - spending summers on a kibbutz in Israel, for example - were still good reading. (And I find myself wondering whatever happened to the gal at the kibbutz who got pregnant by her mother's boyfriend and went away to either have the baby or an abortion - we don't know what choice she made, if any).

Wolf also writes of the terrible experience of being sexually harassed by a respected college professor, marriage, kids, and a host of other issues that women face today. Since the book is from the 1990s it doesn't address many of the issues girls face today with social media. It would be interesting to see her write a sequel to this book, detailing the lives of women from their thirties to their now-fifties.
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