Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer

Overview
Germaine Greer is an Australian writer, academic, journalist and scholar of early modern English literature, widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 voices of the later 20th century.

Greer's ideas have created controversy ever since her book The Female Eunuch
The Female Eunuch
The Female Eunuch is a book first published in 1970 that became an international bestseller and an important text in the feminist movement. The author, Germaine Greer, became well known in broadcast media of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and her home of Australia...

 became an international best-seller in 1970, turning her into a household name and bringing her both adulation and opposition.
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Quotations

Human beings have an inalienable right to invent themselves; when that right is pre-empted it is called brain-washing.

The Times, London (1986-02-01)

No one goes to the toilet in novels. You'd think none of us had bladders.

Newsnight Review (2009-07-24) :Farrar, Straus and Giroux, ISBN 0-374-52762-8

If you think you are emancipated, you might consider the idea of tasting your own menstrual blood - if it makes you sick, you've got a long way to go, baby.

The Wicked Womb (p. 57)

Nobody wants a girl whose beauty is imperceptible to all but him...

The Stereotype (p. 67)

Even crushed against his brother in the Tube the average Englishman pretends desperately that he is alone.

Womanpower (p. 128)
Encyclopedia
Germaine Greer is an Australian writer, academic, journalist and scholar of early modern English literature, widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 voices of the later 20th century.

Greer's ideas have created controversy ever since her book The Female Eunuch
The Female Eunuch
The Female Eunuch is a book first published in 1970 that became an international bestseller and an important text in the feminist movement. The author, Germaine Greer, became well known in broadcast media of the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and her home of Australia...

 became an international best-seller in 1970, turning her into a household name and bringing her both adulation and opposition. She is also the author of many other books including, Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility (1984); The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause (1991), Shakespeare's Wife (2007) and "The Whole Woman" (1999). She is Professor Emerita of English Literature and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick
University of Warwick
The University of Warwick is a public research university located in Coventry, United Kingdom...

.

Greer has defined her goal as 'women's liberation' as distinct from 'equality with men
Gender equality
Gender equality is the goal of the equality of the genders, stemming from a belief in the injustice of myriad forms of gender inequality.- Concept :...

', She asserts that women's liberation meant embracing gender differences in a positive fashion, a struggle for the freedom for women to define their own values, order their own priorities and determine their own fates. In contrast, Greer sees equality as mere assimilation and "settling" to live the lives of "unfree men".

Early life and career


Germaine Greer was born in Melbourne
Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 in 1939, growing up in the bayside suburb of Mentone
Mentone, Victoria
Mentone is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 21 km south-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Kingston...

. Her father was a newspaper advertising rep' who served in the wartime RAAF. After attending a private convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

 school, Star of the Sea College
Star of the Sea College
Star of the Sea College is an Irish Catholic, secondary, day school for girls, located in Brighton, an inner south-eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia....

, in Gardenvale
Gardenvale, Victoria
Gardenvale is a suburb in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 10 km south-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Glen Eira...

, she won a teaching scholarship in 1956 and enrolled at the University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne
The University of Melbourne is a public university located in Melbourne, Victoria. Founded in 1853, it is the second oldest university in Australia and the oldest in Victoria...

. After graduating with a degree
Academic degree
An academic degree is a position and title within a college or university that is usually awarded in recognition of the recipient having either satisfactorily completed a prescribed course of study or having conducted a scholarly endeavour deemed worthy of his or her admission to the degree...

 in English and French language
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 and literature
French literature
French literature is, generally speaking, literature written in the French language, particularly by citizens of France; it may also refer to literature written by people living in France who speak traditional languages of France other than French. Literature written in French language, by citizens...

, she moved to Sydney, where she became involved with the Sydney Push
Sydney Push
The Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual sub-culture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early '70s. Well known associates of the Push include Jim Baker, John Flaus, Harry Hooton, Margaret Fink, Sasha Soldatow, Lex Banning, Eva Cox, Richard Appleton, Paddy McGuinness, David...

 social milieu and the anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 Sydney Libertarians at its centre. Christine Wallace
Christine Wallace
Christine Wallace is an Australian political journalist and biographer. She is married to former Chief of staff to Kim Beazley, Michael Costello AO.-Career:...

, in her unauthorised biography, describes Greer at this time:

For Germaine, [the Push] provided a philosophy to underpin the attitude and lifestyle she had already acquired in Melbourne. She walked into the Royal George Hotel, into the throng talking themselves hoarse in a room stinking of stale beer and thick with cigarette smoke, and set out to follow the Push way of life – 'an intolerably difficult discipline which I forced myself to learn'. The Push struck her as completely different from the Melbourne intelligentsia she had engaged with in the Drift, 'who always talked about art and truth and beauty and argument ad hominem
Ad hominem
An ad hominem , short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it...

; instead, these people talked about truth and only truth, insisting that most of what we were exposed to during the day was ideology, which was a synonym for lies – or bullshit, as they called it.' Her Damascus
Conversion of Paul
The Conversion of Paul the Apostle, as depicted in the Christian Bible, refers to an event reported to have taken place in the life of Paul of Tarsus which led him to cease persecuting early Christians and to himself become a follower of Jesus; it is normally dated by researchers to AD 33–36...

 turned out to be the Royal George, and the Hume Highway
Hume Highway
The Hume Highway/Hume Freeway is one of Australia's major inter-city highways, running for 880 km between Sydney and Melbourne. It is part of the Auslink National Network and is a vital link for road freight to transport goods to and from the two cities as well as serving Albury-Wodonga and...

 was the road linking it. 'I was already an anarchist,' she says. 'I just didn't know why I was an anarchist. They put me in touch with the basic texts and I found out what the internal logic was about how I felt and thought.


By 1972 Greer would identify as an anarchist communist, close to Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

.

In her first teaching post, Greer lectured at the University of Sydney
University of Sydney
The University of Sydney is a public university located in Sydney, New South Wales. The main campus spreads across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the southwestern outskirts of the Sydney CBD. Founded in 1850, it is the oldest university in Australia and Oceania...

, where she also earned a first class MA
Master of Arts (postgraduate)
A Master of Arts from the Latin Magister Artium, is a type of Master's degree awarded by universities in many countries. The M.A. is usually contrasted with the M.S. or M.Sc. degrees...

 in romantic poetry
Romantic poetry
Romanticism, a philosophical, literary, artistic and cultural era which began in the mid/late-1700s as a reaction against the prevailing Enlightenment ideals of the day , also influenced poetry...

 in 1963 with a thesis
Thesis
A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings...

 titled The Development of Byron's Satiric Mode. A year later, the thesis won her a Commonwealth Scholarship
Commonwealth Scholarship
The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan is an international programme under which Commonwealth governments offer scholarships and fellowships to citizens of other Commonwealth countries.-History:...

, which she used to fund her doctorate at the University of Cambridge in England, where she became a member of the all-women's Newnham College
Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College is a women-only constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1871 by Henry Sidgwick, and was the second Cambridge college to admit women after Girton College...

.

Professor Lisa Jardine
Lisa Jardine
Lisa Anne Jardine CBE , née Lisa Anne Bronowski, is a British historian of the early modern period. She is professor of Renaissance Studies and Director of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at Queen Mary, University of London, and is Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority...

, who was at Newnham at the same time, recalled the first time she met Greer, at a formal dinner in college: "The principal called us to order for the speeches. As a hush descended, one person continued to speak, too engrossed in her conversation to notice, her strong Australian accent reverberating around the room. At the graduates' table, Germaine was explaining that there could be no liberation for women, no matter how highly educated, as long as we were required to cram our breasts into bras constructed like mini-Vesuviuses, two stitched white cantilevered cones which bore no resemblance to the female anatomy. The willingly suffered discomfort of the Sixties bra, she opined vigorously, was a hideous symbol of male oppression ... [We were] astonished at the very idea that a woman could speak so loudly and out of turn and that words such as "bra" and "breasts' – or maybe she said "tits" – could be uttered amid the pseudo-masculine solemnity of a college dinner.

Greer joined the student amateur acting company, the Cambridge Footlights, which launched her into the London arts and media scene. Using the pen name Rose Blight, she also wrote a gardening column for the satirical magazine Private Eye
Private Eye
Private Eye is a fortnightly British satirical and current affairs magazine, edited by Ian Hislop.Since its first publication in 1961, Private Eye has been a prominent critic and lampooner of public figures and entities that it deemed guilty of any of the sins of incompetence, inefficiency,...

, and as Dr. G, became a regular contributor to the underground London magazine Oz
Oz (magazine)
Oz was first published as a satirical humour magazine between 1963 and 1969 in Sydney, Australia and, in its second and better known incarnation, became a "psychedelic hippy" magazine from 1967 to 1973 in London...

, owned by the Australian writer Richard Neville
Richard Neville (writer)
Richard Neville is an Australian author and self-described "futurist", who came to fame as a co-editor of the counterculture magazine Oz in Australia and the United Kingdom in the 1960s and early 1970s...

. The 29 July 1970 edition was guest-edited by Greer, and featured an article of hers on the hand-knitted Cock Sock, "a snug corner for a chilly prick." She also posed nude for Oz on the understanding that the male editors would do likewise: they did not. Greer was also editor of the Amsterdam underground magazine Suck, which published a full-page photograph of Greer: "stripped to the buff, looking at the lens through my thighs." Greer has said that "Cunt
Cunt
Cunt is a vulgarism, primarily referring to the female genitalia, specifically the vulva, and including the cleft of Venus. The earliest citation of this usage in the 1972 Oxford English Dictionary, c 1230, refers to the London street known as Gropecunt Lane...

" is one of the few remaining words in the English language with a genuine power to shock."

In 1968 she received her Ph.D. on the topic of Elizabethan drama with a thesis titled The Ethic of Love and Marriage in Shakespeare's
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 early comedies, and accepted a lectureship in English at the University of Warwick
University of Warwick
The University of Warwick is a public research university located in Coventry, United Kingdom...

 in Coventry
Coventry
Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. It is also the second largest city in the English Midlands, after Birmingham, with a population of 300,848, although...

. The same year, in London, she married British carpenter and remodeler Paul du Feu, but the marriage lasted only three weeks, during which, as she later admitted, Greer was unfaithful several times. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973.

Middle career


Following the success of The Female Eunuch, Greer resigned her post at Warwick University in 1972 after travelling the world to promote her book. She co-presented a Granada Television
Granada Television
Granada Television is the ITV contractor for North West England. Based in Manchester since its inception, it is the only surviving original ITA franchisee from 1954 and is ITV's most successful....

 comedy show called Nice Time with Kenny Everett
Kenny Everett
Kenny Everett was an English comedian, radio DJ and television entertainer. Born Maurice James Christopher Cole, Everett is best known for his career as a radio DJ and for the Kenny Everett television shows.-Early life:...

 and Jonathan Routh
Jonathan Routh
Jonathan Reginald Surdeval Routh co-starred in the British version of the television show Candid Camera and co-starred with Germaine Greer and Kenny Everett in a later attempt at a revival, Nice Time...

, bought a house in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, wrote a column for The Sunday Times
The Sunday Times (UK)
The Sunday Times is a Sunday broadsheet newspaper, distributed in the United Kingdom. The Sunday Times is published by Times Newspapers Ltd, a subsidiary of News International, which is in turn owned by News Corporation. Times Newspapers also owns The Times, but the two papers were founded...

, then spent the next few years travelling through Africa and Asia, which included a visit to Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 to investigate the situation of women who had been raped during the conflict with Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. On the New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 leg of her tour in 1972, Greer was arrested for using the words "bullshit
Bullshit
Bullshit is a common English expletive which may be shortened to the euphemism bull or the initialism B.S. In British English, "bollocks" is a comparable expletive, although bullshit is commonly used in British English...

" and "fuck
Fuck
"Fuck" is an English word that is generally considered obscene which, in its most literal meaning, refers to the act of sexual intercourse. By extension it may be used to negatively characterize anything that can be dismissed, disdained, defiled, or destroyed."Fuck" can be used as a verb, adverb,...

" during her speech, which attracted major rallies in her support.

In the mid-1970s, Greer appeared on conservative William F. Buckley's Firing Line
Firing Line
Firing Line was an American public affairs show founded and hosted by conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. Its 1,504 episodes over 33 years made Firing Line the longest-running public affairs show in television history with a single host...

. In his memoir, Buckley recalled that Greer had "trounced him" during the debate. He wrote, "Nothing I said, and memory reproaches me for having performed miserably, made any impression or any dent in the argument. She carried the house overwhelmingly." In 1979 Greer was appointed to a post in the University of Tulsa
University of Tulsa
The University of Tulsa is a private university awarding bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. It is currently ranked 75th among doctoral degree granting universities in the nation by US News and World Report and is listed as one of the "Best 366 Colleges" by...

, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

, as the director for the Center of the Study of Women's Literature. She was also the founding editor of Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature
Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature
Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature , founded in 1982, was the first journal devoted solely to the study of women's and feminist literature...

, an academic journal, during 1981–82.

Later career


In 1989, Greer was appointed as a special lecturer and fellow at Newnham College, Cambridge. Greer unsuccessfully opposed the election to a fellowship of her transsexual
Transsexualism
Transsexualism is an individual's identification with a gender inconsistent or not culturally associated with their biological sex. Simply put, it defines a person whose biological birth sex conflicts with their psychological gender...

 colleague Rachael Padman. Greer argued that Padman had been born male, and therefore should not be admitted to Newnham, a women's college. Greer resigned in 1996 after the case attracted negative publicity. An article concerning the incident was published on 25 June 1997 by Clare Longrigg of The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

. Entitled "A Sister with No Fellow Feeling"; it disappeared from websites after print publication, on the instruction of the newspaper's lawyers.

Greer appeared alongside Daniel O'Donnell
Daniel O'Donnell
Daniel or Danny O'Donnell may refer to:* Daniel O'Donnell, Irish singer* Daniel O'Donnell , American legislator from the state of New York* Danny O'Donnell * Danny O'Donnell...

, the popular Irish crooner, on an RTE
RTE
RTÉ is the abbreviation for Raidió Teilifís Éireann, the public broadcasting service of the Republic of Ireland.RTE may also refer to:* Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 25th Prime Minister of Turkey...

 chat show in 2006. While O'Donnell spoke about love, cooking and his mother's pancakes, Greer mocked him by making faces to camera behind his back. The normally unflappable O'Donnell confronted her and some bitter words were exchanged.

Over the years Greer has continued to self-identify as an anarchist or Marxist. In her books she has dealt very little with political labels of this type, but has reaffirmed her position in interviews. She stated on ABC Television
ABC Television
ABC Television is a service of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation launched in 1956. As a public broadcasting broadcaster, the ABC provides four non-commercial channels within Australia, and a partially advertising-funded satellite channel overseas....

 in 2008 that "I ought to confess I suppose that I'm a Marxist. I think that reality comes first and ideology comes second," and elaborated later in the program to a question on whether feminism was the only successful revolution of the 20th century saying:
"The difficulty for me is that I believe in permanent revolution. I believe that once you change the power structure and you get an oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 that is trying to keep itself in power, you have all the illiberal features of the previous regime. What has to keep on happening is a constant process of criticism, renewal, protest and so forth."
Speaking on an interview for 3CR (an Australian community radio station), also in 2008, she described herself as "an old anarchist" and reaffirmed that opposition to "hierarchy and capitalism" were at the centre of her politics.

The Female Eunuch


Greer argued in her book, The Female Eunuch, that women do not realise how much men hate them, and how much they are taught to hate themselves. Christine Wallace writes that, when The Female Eunuch was first published, one woman had to keep it wrapped in brown paper because her husband wouldn't let her read it; arguments and fights broke out over dinner tables and copies of it were thrown across rooms at unsuspecting husbands (Wallace 1997). It arrived in the shops in London in October 1970. By March 1971, it had nearly sold out its second printing and had been translated into eight languages.

"The title is an indication of the problem," Greer told the New York Times in 1971, "Women have somehow been separated from their libido
Libido
Libido refers to a person's sex drive or desire for sexual activity. The desire for sex is an aspect of a person's sexuality, but varies enormously from one person to another, and it also varies depending on circumstances at a particular time. A person who has extremely frequent or a suddenly...

, from their faculty of desire, from their sexuality. They've become suspicious about it. Like beasts, for example, who are castrated
Castration
Castration is any action, surgical, chemical, or otherwise, by which a male loses the functions of the testicles or a female loses the functions of the ovaries.-Humans:...

 in farming in order to serve their master's ulterior motives – to be fattened or made docile – women have been cut off from their capacity for action. It's a process that sacrifices vigour for delicacy and succulence, and one that's got to be changed."

Two of the book's themes already pointed the way to Sex and Destiny 14 years later, namely that the nuclear family
Nuclear family
Nuclear family is a term used to define a family group consisting of a father and mother and their children. This is in contrast to the smaller single-parent family, and to the larger extended family. Nuclear families typically center on a married couple, but not always; the nuclear family may have...

 is a bad environment for women and for the raising of children; and that the manufacture of women's sexuality by Western society was demeaning and confining. Girls are feminised from childhood by being taught rules that subjugate them, she argued. Later, when women embrace the stereotypical version of adult femininity, they develop a sense of shame about their own bodies, and lose their natural and political autonomy. The result is powerlessness, isolation, a diminished sexuality, and a lack of joy:
Greer argued that women should get to know and come to accept their own bodies, taste their own menstrual blood, and give up celibacy and monogamy. But they should not burn their bras. "Bras are a ludicrous invention," she wrote, "but if you make bralessness a rule, you're just subjecting yourself to yet another repression."

While being interviewed about the book in 1971, she told the New York Times that she had been a "supergroupie." "Supergroupies don't have to hang around hotel corridors," she said. "When you are one, as I have been, you get invited backstage. I think groupie
Groupie
A groupie is a person who seeks emotional and sexual intimacy with a musician or other celebrity. "Groupie" is derived from group in reference to a musical group, but the word is also used in a more general sense, especially in casual conversation....

s are important because they demystify sex; they accept it as physical, and they aren't possessive about their conquests."

Publications in the 1970s and 1980s


Greer's second book, The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work (1979) covers its subject until the end of the nineteenth century. It also speculates on the existence of women artists whose careers are not recorded by posterity. Greer translated Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

's Lysistrata
Lysistrata
Lysistrata is one of eleven surviving plays written by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War...

 in 1972.

Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility, published in 1984, continued Greer's critique of Western attitudes toward sexuality, fertility
Fertility
Fertility is the natural capability of producing offsprings. As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population. Fertility differs from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction...

, family, and the imposition of those attitudes on the rest of the world. Greer's target again is the nuclear family, government intervention in sexual behaviour, and the commercialisation of sexuality and women's bodies. Germaine Greer argued that the Western promotion of birth control in the Third World was in large part driven not by concern for human welfare but by the traditional fear and envy of the rich towards the fertility of the poor. She argued that the birth control movement had been tainted by such attitudes from its beginning, citing Marie Stopes
Marie Stopes
Marie Carmichael Stopes was a British author, palaeobotanist, campaigner for women's rights and pioneer in the field of birth control...

 and others. She cautioned against condemning life styles and family values in the developing world.

In 1986, Greer published Shakespeare, a work of literary criticism, and The Madwoman's Underclothes: Essays and Occasional Writings, a collection of newspaper and magazine articles written between 1968 and 1985. In 1989 came Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, a diary and travelogue about her father, whom she described as distant, weak and unaffectionate, which led to claims – which she characterized as inevitable in an interview with The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 – that in her writing she was projecting her relationship with him onto all other men.

Publications since 1990



In 1991, The Change: Women, Ageing, and the Menopause, which the New York Times called a "brilliant, gutsy, exhilarating, exasperating fury of a book" became another influential book in the women's movement. In it, Greer wrote of the various myths concerning menopause, advising against the use of hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (menopause)
Hormone replacement therapy is a system of medical treatment for surgically menopausal, perimenopausal and to a lesser extent postmenopausal women...

. "Frightening females is fun," she wrote in The Age. "Women were frightened into using hormone replacement therapy by dire predictions of crumbling bones, heart disease
Heart disease
Heart disease, cardiac disease or cardiopathy is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases affecting the heart. , it is the leading cause of death in the United States, England, Canada and Wales, accounting for 25.4% of the total deaths in the United States.-Types:-Coronary heart disease:Coronary...

, loss of libido, depression, despair, disease and death if they let nature take its course." She argues that scaring women is "big business and hugely profitable." It is fear, she wrote, that "makes women comply with schemes and policies that work against their interest". Slip-Shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet followed in 1995.

In 1999, the book the whole woman, a sequel to The Female Eunuch was released. In this book she discussed what she saw as the lack of fundamental progress in the feminist movement, and criticized some sections of the women's movement for illusions on that score: "Even if it had been real, equality would have been a poor substitute for liberation; fake equality is leading women into double jeopardy. The rhetoric of equality is being used in the name of political correctness to mask the hammering that women are taking. When The Female Eunuch was written our daughters were not cutting or starving themselves. On every side speechless women endure endless hardship, grief and pain, in a world system that creates billions of losers for every handful of winners. It's time to get angry again."Chapter titles reveal the themes, including: "Food," "Breast," "Pantomime Dames (about transsexual women)," "Shopping," "Estrogen," "Testosterone," "Wives," "Loathing," "Girlpower" and "Mutilation" (including a discussion of female genital mutilation in the Third World and the West). Her comments about female genital mutilation proved especially controversial in some quarters, for example a United Kingdom House of Commons Committee described her viewpoint as "simplistic and offensive."

In fact, Greer was opposed to the practice and said that feminists fighting to eliminate female genital mutilation in their own countries "must be supported", but had explored some of the complexities of the issue, and the double standards of the West, and warned against using the issue to "reinforce our notions of cultural superiority". She had pointed out that the term "female genital mutilation" was itself simplistic being used to describe practices varying from "nicking the prepuce of the clitoris to provoke ritual bleeding", to the extreme mutilation of infibulation. She questioned the perhaps simplistic view that female genital mutilation was necessarily imposed by men on women rather than by women on women, or even freely chosen, adducing some anecdotal evidence to the contrary and discussed the issue in relation to some of the forms of genital and other bodily mutilations carried out in the West on men and women. She notes for example that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends female genital mutilation of baby girls with "over long" clitorides and that five such procedures are in fact carried out every day in the United States, without being included in "female genital mutilation" statistics In particular she compared female genital mutilation to the practice of male genital mutilation"Any suggestion that male genital mutilation should be outlawed would be understood to be a frontal attack on the cultural identity of Jews and Muslims. The same issues are raised by female genital mutilation. As a practical note for activists:" As UN workers in East Uganda found, women would not abandon female circumcision until some similarly significant procedure could take its place." Other controversial points in this book include Germaine Greer's opposition to accepting male-born transsexuals as women:"Governments that consist of very few women have hurried to recognise as women men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it, because they see women not as another sex but as a non-sex. No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight. The insistence that man-made women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males."

In 2003, The Beautiful Boy
The Beautiful Boy
The Beautiful Boy is a book, ISBN 0-8478-2586-8, by Germaine Greer, published in 2003. Its avowed intention was "to advance women's reclamation of their capacity for and right to visual pleasure"...

 was published, an art history book about the beauty of teenage boys, which is illustrated with 200 photographs of what The Guardian called "succulent teenage male beauty". Greer described the book as an attempt to address modern women's apparent indifference to the teenage boy as a sexual object and to "advance women's reclamation of their capacity for, and right to, visual pleasure" (Greer 2003). The photograph on the cover was of Björn Andrésen
Björn Andresen
Björn Johan Andrésen is a Swedish actor and musician. He is best known for playing the fourteen-year-old Tadzio in Luchino Visconti's 1971 film adaptation of the Thomas Mann novella Death in Venice....

 in his character of Tadzio in the film Death in Venice
Death in Venice (film)
Death in Venice is a 1971 film directed by Luchino Visconti and starring Dirk Bogarde and Björn Andrésen. The film is based on the novella Death in Venice by Thomas Mann.-Plot:...

 (1971). The actor has been quoted by journalists as complaining about the picture's use.

Whitefella Jump Up : The shortest way to nationhood was published in 2003 as Issue 11 of the "Quarterly Essay" series Germaine Greer argues that Australians should reimagine Australia as an Aboriginal nation; and discusses some of the consequences of this, and why she regards it as feasible and desirable. "Jump up" in Aboriginal Kriol can, she writes, mean "to be resurrected or reborn"; and the title refers to occasions when Aborigines apparently accepted whites as reincarnated relatives. Germaine Greer suggests that whites were mistaken in understanding this literally, and that the Aborigines were in fact offering the whites concerned terms on which they could be accepted into the Aboriginal kinship system. The gist of the essay is that it may not be too late for Australia as a nation to root itself in Aboriginal history and culture in an analogous way.

In 2007, Greer contributed an essay to the book Stella Vine: Paintings which accompanied the major solo exhibition of British painter Stella Vine
Stella Vine
Stella Vine is an English artist, who lives and works in London. Her work is figurative painting with subject matter drawn from either her personal life of family, friends and school, or rock stars, royalty and celebrities.After a difficult relationship with her stepfather, she left home and in...

 at Modern Art Oxford
Modern Art Oxford
Modern Art Oxford is an art gallery established in 1965 in Oxford, England. From 1965 to 2002, it was called The Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.-Foundation:...

 museum in England. In May 2007, Greer and Vine took part in a public talk Gender & Culture as part of the Women's International Arts Festival. On 18 September 2007, Greer gave a talk about Vine's art with gallery director Andrew Nairne
Andrew Nairne
Andrew Nairne , is Director for Arts Strategy at the Arts Council England.Nairne graduated with an art history MA from the University of St Andrews in 1983. He was the Visual Arts Director at the Scottish Arts Council and for eight years he was the Exhibitions Director at the Centre for...

. Also in 2007, Greer published a biography of Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway (Shakespeare)
Anne Hathaway was the wife of William Shakespeare. They were married in 1582. She outlived her husband by seven years...

 entitled Shakespeare's Wife, one of the few books to deal with this subject.

In 2008, she wrote the essay On Rage about the widespread rage of indigenous men, published in the series "Little Books on Big Themes" by Melbourne University Publishing
Melbourne University Publishing
Melbourne University Publishing is the book publishing arm of the University of Melbourne .MUP was founded in 1922 as Melbourne University Press to sell books and stationery to students, and then began publishing books itself...

, launched by Bob Carr
Bob Carr
Robert John "Bob" Carr , Australian statesman, was Premier of New South Wales from 4 April 1995 to 3 August 2005. He holds the record for the longest continuous service as premier of NSW...

 on 15 August 2008. The essay was attacked as "racist" by Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton
Marcia Langton
Marcia Lynne Langton is one of Australia's leading Aboriginal scholars. She holds the Foundation Chair in Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia...

. The gist of Langton's argument was that Greer was making excuses for the bad behaviour of Aboriginal men.

Other media


In 1992 Greer wrote an article in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 claiming that "men hate women
Misogyny
Misogyny is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Philogyny, meaning fondness, love or admiration towards women, is the antonym of misogyny. The term misandry is the term for men that is parallel to misogyny...

" but that "women cannot hate men
Misandry
Misandry is the hatred or dislike of men or boys.Misandry comes from Greek misos and anēr, andros . Misandry is the antonym of philandry, the fondness towards men, love, or admiration of them...

". Her comments came in for a great deal of criticism in following day's paper. Greer responded to Christine Wallace
Christine Wallace
Christine Wallace is an Australian political journalist and biographer. She is married to former Chief of staff to Kim Beazley, Michael Costello AO.-Career:...

's biography, Germaine Greer: The Untamed Shrew (1997), by claiming that biographies of living persons are morbid and worthless, as they can only be incomplete. She said: "I don't write about any living women... because I think that's invidious; there is no point in limiting her by the achievements of the past because she's in a completely different situation, and I figure she can break the moulds and start again."

In 1998, Greer wrote the episode Make Love not War for the 1998 television documentary series Cold War
Cold War (TV series)
Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War that aired in 1998. It features interviews and footage of the events that shaped the tense relationships between the Soviet Union and the United States....

. She sat for a nude photograph by the Australian photographer Polly Borland in 1999. The photo was part of an exhibition at the UK's National Portrait Gallery in 2000. It later appeared in a book titled Polly Borland: Australians. Greer has made frequent appearances on the BBC's satirical television panel show Have I Got News for You
Have I Got News for You
Have I Got News for You is a British television panel show produced by Hat Trick Productions for the BBC. It is based loosely on the BBC Radio 4 show The News Quiz, and has been broadcast since 1990, currently the BBC's longest-ever running television panel show...

, including one in the programme's very first series in 1990.

Greer was one of nine contestants in the 2005 series of Celebrity Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother
Celebrity Big Brother could refer to:*Any series of Celebrity Big Brother UK:** Celebrity Big Brother 2001 ** Celebrity Big Brother 2002 ** Celebrity Big Brother 2005 ** Celebrity Big Brother 2006 ** Celebrity Big Brother 2007...

. She had previously said that the show was "as civilised as looking through the keyhole in your teenager's bedroom door". She walked out of the show after five days inside the Big Brother house, citing the psychological cruelty and bullying of the show's producers, the dirt of the house, and the publicity-seeking behaviour of her fellow contestants. However since then she has appeared on spin-off shows Big Brother's Little Brother and Big Brother's Big Mouth. In 2006, Greer appeared twice in an episode of Ricky Gervais
Ricky Gervais
Ricky Dene Gervais is an English comedian, actor, director, radio presenter, producer, musician, and writer.Gervais achieved mainstream fame with his television series The Office and the subsequent series Extras, both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with friend and frequent collaborator...

' Extras
Extras (TV series)
Extras is a British sitcom about extras working on TV and film sets and in theatre. The series was co-produced by the BBC and HBO, and is created, written, and directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, both of whom also star in it...

 playing herself. The play The Female of the Species
The Female of the Species (play)
The Female of the Species is a comic play by Joanna Murray-Smith first performed in 2006. The play is a satire about celebrity feminists, with a plot loosely inspired by a real-life incident in 2000, when author Germaine Greer was held at gunpoint in her own home by a disturbed student.The play...

 (2006) by Joanna Murray-Smith
Joanna Murray-Smith
Joanna Murray-Smith is a Melbourne based playwright, screenwriter, novelist, librettist and newspaper columnist.-Biography:...

 is loosely based on events in Greer's life, the assault and false imprisonment in 2000, and uses Greer as "inspiration for a comic attack on strident feminism"; the main character's name in that play is Margot Mason. Greer regarded the play as an attack and stated that it was "threadbare".

In September 2006, Greer's column in The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian, formerly known as The Manchester Guardian , is a British national daily newspaper in the Berliner format...

 about the death of Australian Steve Irwin
Steve Irwin
Stephen Robert "Steve" Irwin , nicknamed "The Crocodile Hunter", was an Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. Irwin achieved worldwide fame from the television series The Crocodile Hunter, an internationally broadcast wildlife documentary series which he co-hosted...

 attracted much criticism and some support. Greer said that "The animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin". In an interview with the Nine Network
Nine Network
The Nine Network , is an Australian television network with headquarters based in Willoughby, a suburb located on the North Shore of Sydney. For 50 years since television's inception in Australia, between 1956 and 2006, it was the most watched television network in Australia...

's A Current Affair about her comments, Greer said "I really found the whole Steve Irwin phenomenon embarrassing and I'm not the only person who did" and that she hoped that "exploitative nature documentaries" would now end. Also in 2006, she presented a BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4 is a British domestic radio station, operated and owned by the BBC, that broadcasts a wide variety of spoken-word programmes, including news, drama, comedy, science and history. It replaced the BBC Home Service in 1967. The station controller is currently Gwyneth Williams, and the...

 documentary on the life of American composer and rock guitarist Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
Frank Vincent Zappa was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electric guitarist, record producer and film director. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Zappa wrote rock, jazz, orchestral and musique concrète works. He also directed feature-length films and music videos, and designed...

. She confirmed that she had been a friend of Zappa's since the early 1970s and that his orchestral work "G-Spot Tornado" would be played at her funeral.

In the 2008 Beeban Kidron
Beeban Kidron
Beeban Kidron is an English Film Director known for her much-lauded adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's autobiographical novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and for directing Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason...

 film Hippie Hippie Shake
Hippie Hippie Shake (film)
Hippie Hippie Shake is an upcoming British drama film produced by Working Title Films. The film is based on a memoir by Richard Neville, editor of the Australian satirical magazine Oz, and chronicles his relationship with girlfriend Louise Ferrier, the launch of the London edition of Oz amidst the...

, based on Richard Neville
Richard Neville (writer)
Richard Neville is an Australian author and self-described "futurist", who came to fame as a co-editor of the counterculture magazine Oz in Australia and the United Kingdom in the 1960s and early 1970s...

's memoir, Greer is depicted by Emma Booth
Emma Booth (actress)
Emma Booth is an Australian model-turned-actress. From Perth in Western Australia, the former teen model and TV star played a significant role in the 2007 film Introducing the Dwights, opposite Brenda Blethyn.-TV and Movies Career :...

. Greer has expressed her displeasure at being featured in the film.

In 1999 Grier's sequel to The Female Eunuch was published, "The Whole Woman", based on her earlier work and reviving the debate with her usual authoritative insight, outrageous humour and broad-ranging enquiry. Greer argues that in spite of a widespread feeling of complacency, the 'woman question' is far from answered.

Aboriginal Australians


Germaine Greer has published three pamphlets on Aboriginal issues. According to her own account, she understood little about Aboriginal issues during her early years in Australia, but in England she saw from the perspective of distance that "what was operating in Australia was apartheid: the separation and alienation South Africa tried desperately and savagely to impose on their black majority, we had achieved, apparently effortlessly, with our black minority." On returning to Australia in late 1971 she made a concerted effort "to see as much as I could of what had been hidden from me" travelling for that purpose through the Northern Territory
Northern Territory
The Northern Territory is a federal territory of Australia, occupying much of the centre of the mainland continent, as well as the central northern regions...

 with activist Bobbi Sykes
Bobbi Sykes
Roberta "Bobbi" Sykes was an Australian poet and author...

  She wrote in 2003: 'Though I can claim no drop of Aboriginal blood, twenty years ago Kulin
Kulin
The Kulin nation, was an alliance of five Indigenous Australian nations in Central Victoria, Australia, prior to European settlement. Their collective territory extended to around Port Phillip and Western Port, up into the Great Dividing Range and the Loddon and Goulburn River valleys. To their...

 women from Fitzroy
Fitzroy, Victoria
Fitzroy is an inner city suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 2 km north-east from Melbourne's central business district. Its Local Government Area is the City of Yarra. Its borders are Alexandra Parade , Victoria Parade , Smith Street and Nicholson Street. Fitzroy is Melbourne's...

 adopted me. There are whitefellas who insist that blackfellas don't practise adoption; all I can say is that when I asked about the possibility of assuming Aboriginality, the Kulin women said at once "We'll adopt you." "How do you do that?" I asked, hoping I wouldn't be required to camp in some bleak spot for a month or two, and be painted or smoked and cut about. "That's it," they said. "Its done. We've adopted you." Since then I have sat on the ground with black women and been assigned a skin and been taught how to hunt and how to cook shellfish and witchetty grub
Witchetty grub
The witchetty grub is a term used in Australia for the large, white, wood-eating larvae of several moths...

s, with no worse punishment for getting it wrong than being laughed at.

It has been reported in the press that in early 2000, Greer claimed at a press gathering in London that she never set foot in Australia before receiving the permission of the "traditional owners of the land" at Sydney Airport. New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council spokesman Paul Molloy was reported as claiming that she had never asked permission, despite visiting Sydney several times in recent years, and in any case there was no single group of elders that could give such permission to enter Australia.
In assessing the credibility or significance of these press reports it should be noted that Molloy's quoted point was made by Germaine Greer herself in her 2003 pamphlet Whitefella Jump Up: "Aboriginal law cannot now be reapplied. In any case no single body of Aboriginal law would ever have applied to the Australian population as a whole."

External links