Saturday, February 28, 2004

Noted feminist author Naomi Wolf achieved some public notoriety during the 2000 presidential campaign; reportedly, she was paid $15,000 per month to advise Al Gore how to improve his public image. She produced several memos for Gore's campaign, one of which counseled that Gore is a "'beta male' who needs to take on the 'alpha male' in the Oval Office before the public will see him as the top dog."


After the magnitude of her fee was leaked to the press, the Gore campaign cut her salary to $5,000 a month.

Naomi Wolf is back in the news: in a recent New York article, she accuses Yale professor Harold Bloom of
sexual harrasment.

She describes Bloom's action as "banal, human, and destructive"; an "act of sexual encroachment", a "transgression"; after the incident, she began "spiralling downards," she "lost faith in her work"; the whole ordeal was a "wound" she's been carrying around for 20 years.

So what exactly did Bloom do?

Bloom and Wolf had dinner during which Bloom got drunk and put his hand on Wolf's knee. Wolf lurched away and Bloom left.

My first reaction was, thats it?

It was inappropriate, thats for sure. But Wolf interlaces her story with other stories of genuine sexual assault, which is despicable. By conflating her experience of rejecting an overture made by her professor with accounts of actual rape, Wolf does a disservice to every woman that has been raped.

Double standards at work: Jane Galt asks a legitemate question: what would you think of a man who claimed that a woman putting a hand on his knee was a open wound he has been carrying around for twenty years?

By the way: Erin O'Connor has been documenting the way campus sexual harassment policies conflate rape with far lesser crimes for a while now.


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