When asked if she may have taken liberties with her research for narrative effect, Ms. Wolf’s blue eyes hardened. “I have all these books here,” she said, clicking off to a room in the back of her apartment and returning with a guide to last year’s meeting of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health. She flipped through it until she found the write-up of a panel that included Dr. Whipple. Dr. Whipple commented that she had given a presentation on another topic and expressed surprise that Ms. Wolf did not interview her or her collaborator. “I just didn’t know that she would be available to me,” Ms. Wolf said, later admitting that she had not attended the conference. Looking at her bookshelves stacked with works by Abbie Hoffman, Jane Fonda and John Stuart Mill, she defended her research. “I’m drawing my own conclusions,” she said. “My job is to notice echoes and notice resonances.” She added: “Scientists are not supposed to do the same thing that cultural critics do.” Jim Pfaus, a professor at Concordia University in Portland, Ore., whose research on the sexual proclivities of rats figures prominently in the book and who said he has read three drafts of it, said in an interview that he welcomed the controversy, and seemed to care little if Ms. Wolf actually got the science right. “I think it’s entirely possible that Naomi is overstating the case for emphasis, but when you piss enough people off, you reach a critical threshold for people to be talking about it and working on it,” he said.

Naomi Wolf on Her New Book, “Vagina” – NYTimes.com


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