Naomi Wolf meets Jesus Christ

Another charismatic male figure overtakes the well-known feminist.


Rebecca Traister
January 23, 2006 5:45PM (UTC)

Naomi Wolf has enjoyed a series of eccentric incarnations in her years as one of the United States' best-known feminist thinkers. She broke ground with "The Beauty Myth" in 1991, became an earth-tone strategist for Al Gore in 2000, and held forth -- at length -- on the subject of motherhood in "Misconceptions" in 2001. In 2004 she accused Harold Bloom of having sexually encroached upon her while she was his student at Yale, and she recently published "The Treehouse," a volume devoted to the wit and wisdom of her 80-year-old father.

But even by her dizzying standards, the interview Wolf gave to Scotland's Sunday Herald this weekend was truly outlandish. In it, she claimed that during a therapy session to treat writer's block, she took on the spirit of a 13-year-old boy and saw Jesus Christ.

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"I'm sure it was Jesus," Wolf told the Herald, describing him as "this figure who was the most perfected human being that there could be -- full of light and full of love."

She continued, "I was a 13-year-old boy sitting next to him and feeling feelings I'd never felt in my lifetime ... [Feelings] of a boy being with an older male who he really loves and admires and loves to be in the presence of."

Wolf, raised Jewish, did not indicate to the paper that her vision had led to conversion to a particular religion. "There are a lot of people out there just waiting for some little Jewish feminist to cross over," she said. "I don't claim to get where this being fits into the scheme of things but I absolutely believe in divine providence now, absolutely believe God totally cares about every single one of us intimately."

Wolf's particular religious mission, she said, "seems to be about helping women remember what's sacred about them or what's sacred about femininity."

It's hard to tell what to make of this news. Given Wolf's chameleon past, it might simply be part of her newest incarnation. It's also possible that she's having more serious troubles. Either way, it's worth noting that even as she becomes interested in divinity, this feminist theorist remains consumed and dazzled by masculinity: Al Gore's, her father's, or Jesus'. We wish her well.


Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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