The vicious attacks on Sexual Personae by academic and establishment feminists (who in most cases had plainly not bothered to read it) will stand, I submit, as an indictment of the sorry process by which important political movements can undermine themselves through the blind insularity of their ruling coteries.
Blow-by-blow chronicles of my public clashes with leading feminists and their acolytes, including documentation of their outlandish libels against me and my work, can be found in my two essay collections, Sex, Art, and American Culture (1992) and Vamps & Tramps (1994).
… Sexual Personae was reasonably well-received by most reviewers. It was my piece on Madonna in The New York Times later in 1990 that made me instantly notorious… in 2010, The New York Times featured this piece as one of its most significant and influential op-eds in the 40 years since it had invented that now standard form.
What caused a storm was first, my open attack on the normally protected feminist establishment and second, my closing sally, “Madonna is the future of feminism,” which was widely ridiculed as preposterous. But that prophecy would come true in the rise and resounding victory of long-silenced pro-sex feminism in the 1990s.
Furthermore, my cheeky use of slang, which was debated by the editorial board, broke long-standing rules of decorum at The New York Times and opened the way for later writers like Maureen Dowd. Finally, the piece started a stampede for op-eds among humanities professors, who had previously considered writing for newspapers beneath their dignity. It was mainly historians, economists, and political scientists who had been doing op-eds before.