Thursday, February 29, 2024

Germaine Greer: The Rebel

Read how an Australian writer and public intellectual became one of the major voices of the second-wave feminism movement. Find out why the contents of her books were so provocative.

“I am a woman, not a castrate.”

First published on Passions, Vol. 56, this article has been repurposed for the digital world – exclusive only on VOICE OF ASIA.

“Maybe I couldn’t make it. Maybe I don’t have a pretty smile, good teeth, nice tits, long legs, a cheeky arse, a sexy voice. Maybe I don’t know how to handle men and increase my market value, so that the rewards due to the feminine will accrue to me.

Then again, maybe I’m sick of the masquerade. I’m sick of pretending eternal youth. I’m sick of belying my own intelligence, my own will, my own sex. I’m sick of peering at the world through false eyelashes, so everything I see is mixed with a shadow of bought hairs; I’m sick of weighting my head with a dead mane, unable to move my neck freely, terrified of rain, of wind, of dancing too vigorously in case I sweat into my lacquered curls.

I’m sick of the Powder Room. I’m sick of pretending that some fatuous male’s self-important pronouncements are the objects of my undivided attention, I’m sick of going to films and plays when someone else wants to, and sick of having no opinions of my own about either. I’m sick of being a transvestite. I refuse to be a female impersonator. I am a woman, not a castrate,” roared Germaine Greer, an academic, journalist and a major feminist voice of the 20th century in her 1970’s best-selling book, The Female Eunuch.

The contents were so provocative because for Greer, a major concern was the idea that women had been disconnected from their libido and their sexuality.

“Security is the denial of life,” states this strong, feisty woman. From travelling through Africa and Asia, to investigating the situation of Bangladeshi rape victims, there is little this controversy-courting woman hasn’t done. She has a mind of her own and is not afraid to speak it in order to ignite the minds of other women. Societal approval be damned.

Greer wrote that women’s liberation should take the form of accepting gender differences in a positive way. She believes women should gain freedom by defining their own value system, gain sovereignty over their own fates, take responsibility for their own happiness. Those women who blame men for letting them down, are essentially repeating the mistake of sacrificing their personal responsibility for themselves.

“Yet if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?” Thanks to Germaine Greer, we now know. She liberated women from the shackles of their mind, freed them from the prison of societal approval and empowered generations after her to chart their own destiny.”

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