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Riding the third wave 


Naomi Wolf is no stranger to controversy. The feisty young American writer captured the limelight with her first book, The Beauty Myth, (1991) where she dissected the beauty industry’s attempts to undercut the growing confidence feminism had given women. Since then, Wolf has been a best-selling author and public speaker. She has written on women but also on civil liberties and their erosion in the U.S. Of all her previous works, though, her latest book, Vagina: A New Biography, has been the most controversial. Excerpts from an e-mail interview:

Many saw The Beauty Myth as a path-breaker, representing the Third Wave of Feminism. In it you wrote about “a backlash against feminism that uses an ideology about beauty to keep women down”. If you were to write it today, do you think the premise on which you based your argument would still be the same...