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The Naked Woman - Desmond Morris
I have mixed feelings about this book.
It’s nice to break away from heavy topics sometimes, but, I actually felt guilty reading this book, for it having so little practical value.
Obviously, both women and men are integral to our lives, and it is worth knowing about the anatomy of both sexes. I definitely don’t think life without women would be worth living, but this book felt much more like an unnecessary indulgence than an actual study.
Though Morris gives us a lot of interesting and fun tidbits and historical context of how views about specific female body parts have changed over the eons, the book definitely felt overall like just as excuse to talk about women erotically.
That last point definitely colored the book thoroughly - the “study” definitely emphasized the erotic. For each body part we were given history and trends and decorations, etc., but again, the erotic discussion was obviously paramount.
I am not above eroticism, and I take as much pleasure in discussing the female body as the author, but I just couldn’t help but thinking that my time was better used elsewhere.
Morris is most famous for his book The Naked Ape, which is about evolution. I’ve criticized many books heavily for wasting our time with the explain-everything-in-evolution-terms formula, though happily Morris restrained himself mostly in this book. But, I do feel that the success of that book lead to other, less important books, such as this one. I often warn: beware professional writers, their most popular work is often their best by far.
Kind of worth it, mostly not.