Published by the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation, University of Canberra

news & views powered by research

Happy 80th Birthday, Germaine Greer!

by | Jan 30, 2019 | The Agenda

On 29 January 2019, Germaine Greer turned 80. Greer has an intellectual energy that exceeds age. As a highly renowned Australian second wave feminist, she stands out for her longevity and relevance on political, social and feminist issues into the twenty-first century.

She stands out for her longevity and relevance on political, social and feminist issues

Although she has written over twenty books, including Sex and Destiny (1984), The Change (1991), The Whole Woman (1999) amongst others, it is her first book, The Female Eunuch (1970) that remains one of her major legacies and in the same iconic feminist genre as de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex (1949), Kate Manne’s  Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (2018) and Clementine Ford’s Boys will be Boys (2018). 

IMG 2623

When Greer first wrote The Female Eunuch she thought it “would quickly date and disappear.” And yet, years later she was writing the forward for the 21st anniversary edition.

Her analysis of sex oppression in the developed world in the second half of the twentieth century remains as relevant as ever and clearly articulates “that the rejection of the concept of female libido as merely responsive is essential to female liberation.”

Greer remains an enigma. She is known for being controversial. Many were horrified when she said “Gillard had a big arse.” Yet, upon reflection it provides an example of how we don’t expect women to speak their mind or say what they really think. We want women to be fearless, yet castigate them when they are.

We want women to be fearless, yet castigate them when they are

We want them to speak but be agreeable, yet Greer is not and she doesn’t care what you think. Her recent book On Rape (2018) is a case in point, sparking massive controversy based on the fact that she argued that “rape itself need involve no violence at all.” Her argument related to the reality endured by many contemporary women who ‘give in’ to their husbands’ or significant others’ sexual demands because it’s easier than the alternatives that include being punished, bashed or ignored.

We can certainly expect that she will continue to be controversial and rage against the constraints imposed by patriarchal societies upon the female sex

 

Greer describes herself as a teacher and her role is to get people to think. She is not afraid to call it as she sees it and as people get older they do this more and more, so we can certainly expect that she will continue to be controversial and rage against the constraints imposed by patriarchal societies upon the female sex.

Happy Birthday, Germaine Greer.

Germaine books

 

Highlighted article

Other highlighted articles

The next two High Court Justices should both be women

The next two High Court Justices should both be women

Asked, when will there be enough women on the US Supreme Court, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shot back: "When there are nine".  While some people were shocked, she stated: “there'd been nine men, and nobody's ever raised a question about that”. With the next...

Troubled blood: gender, identity and JK Rowling

Troubled blood: gender, identity and JK Rowling

There has been much animosity – some of it vile – hurled at JK Rowling in recent times. Here Holly Lawford-Smith unpicks the anti-Rowling critique and argues why Rowling’s point of view matters. A few weeks ago, JK Rowling’s fifth novel in her Cormoran Strike series...

Imposter syndrome isn’t real, but I call mine ‘Beryl’

Imposter syndrome isn’t real, but I call mine ‘Beryl’

I hate to fail. My failure avoidance leads to a tendency for overwork. I drive myself harder than any manager will, mostly out of fear of failure rather than love for the work. My feelings of insecurity make me a good employee and student, but they also put me at risk...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This