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The Whole Womanby Germaine Greer
Synopses & Reviews
"IT'S TIME TO GET ANGRY AGAIN"
This sequel to The Female Eunuch is the book I said I would never write. I believed that each generation should produce its own statement of problems and priorities, and that I had no special authority or vocation to speak on behalf of women of any but my own age, class, background and education.
For 30 years, I have done my best to champion all the styles of feminism that came to public attention. Though I disagreed with some of the strategies and was troubled by some of the more fundamental conflicts, it was not until feminists of my own generation began to assert with apparent seriousness that feminism had gone too far that the fire flared up in my belly.
When the lifestyle feminists chimed in that feminism had gone just far enough in giving them the right to "have it all"--i.e., money, sex and fashion--it would have been inexcusable to remain silent.
In 1970, the movement was called "women's liberation" or, contemptuously, "Women's Lib." When the name "libbers" was dropped for "feminists," we were all relieved. What none of us noticed was that the ideal of liberation was fading out with the word. We were settling for equality.
Liberation struggles are not about assimilation, but about asserting difference, endowing that difference with dignity and prestige, and insisting on it as a condition of self-definition and self-determination.
Women's liberation did not see the female's potential in terms of the male's actual; the visionary feminists of the late sixties and early seventies knew that women could never find freedom by agreeing to live the lives of unfree men.
Seekers after equality clamoured to be admitted to smoke-filled male haunts. Liberationists sought the world over for clues to what women's lives could be like if they were free to define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own fate.
The Female Eunuch was one feminist text that did not argue for equality. At a debate in Oxford, one William J. Clinton heard me arguing that equality legislation could not give me the right to have broad hips or hairy thighs, to be at ease in my woman's body.
Thirty years on, femininity is still compulsory for women--and has become an option for men--while genuine femaleness remains grotesque to the point of obscenity. Meanwhile, the price of the small advances we have made towards sexual equality has been the denial of femaleness as any kind of a distinguishing character.
In the last 30 years, women have come a long, long way; our lives are nobler and richer than they were, but they are also fiendishly difficult.
The career woman does not know if she is to do her job like a man, or like herself. Is she supposed to change the organisation, or knuckle under to it? Is she supposed to endure harassment, or kick ass and take names? Is motherhood a privilege or a punishment?
It is now understood that women can do anything that men can do: anyone who tries to stop them will be breaking the law. Even the President of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, can be called to account by a female nobody who accuses him of asking her to fellate him.
Power indeed The future is female, we are told. Feminism has served its purpose and should now eff off. Feminism was long hair, dungarees and dangling e
A sequel to The Female Eunuch considers the issues faced by women at the turn of the century, revealing how discrimination and exploitation are still problems, while arguing for an organic view of the female model. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
Thirty years after the publication of The Female Eunuch, Germaine Greer is back with the sequel she vowed never to write.
"A marvelous performance--. No feminist writer can match her for eloquence or energy; none makes [us] laugh the way she does."--The Washington Post
In this thoroughly engaging new book, the fervent, rollicking, straight-shooting Greer, is, as ever, "the ultimate agent provocateur" (Mirabella).With passionate rhetoric, outrageous humor, and the
About the Author
\Germaine Greer's books include The Female Eunuch; The Obstacle Race; Sex and Destiny; The Madwoman's Underclothes; Daddy, We Hardly Knew You; The Change; and Slip-Shod Sibyls. She is Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick University, England.
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