Germaine Greer

academic writer Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer is an Australian academic and journalist, and was a major feminist voice of the mid-20th century. She is Professor Emerita of English Literature and Comparative Studies at the University of Warwick. Greer's ideas have created controversy ever since her book The Female Eunuch became an international best-seller in 1970, turning her into a household name and bringing her both adulation and opposition.
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Isabel Allende: My Life As A Feminist
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Renowned author and activist Isabel Allende explains why she's a feminist and encourages women to keep working on behalf of each other. I have been a feminist since before the word was invented. I grew up in Chile. At the time Chile was a socially conservative and Catholic country--a patriarchy like everywhere else. I come from a family of very strong men, and the patriarch was my grandfather. I had never heard the word feminism, but I was an angry kid and grew up with rage against all forms of authority. I was very protective of my mother. I felt that she somehow was a victim. I didn't know the word victim either, but I felt that everything was so unfair to her. My father abandoned my mother when I was three. The marriage was annulled, and my mother was a 24-year-old woman with 3 babies and no money and no training in a social class where women mostly did not work. She had to go back to live with her father, my grandfather, who gave us a home and protected us. I grew up o...
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 Huffington Post article
A Love Letter To Louise Bourgeois, A Feminist Icon Whether She Likes It Or Not
Huffington Post - over 3 years
Louis Bourgeois is a feminist art icon, even if she -- in some mythical afterlife populated by giant spiders and contorted, alien figures -- would hate the label. When she was alive, she was aloof on the subject. "Some of my works are, or try to be feminist, and others are not feminist," she proclaimed in an interview with the San Francisco Museum of Art. "I am lucky to have been brought up by a mother who was a feminist and fortunate enough to have married a husband who was a feminist, and I have raised sons who are feminists," Germaine Greer quoted her as saying in The Guardian, not long after Bourgeois' death in 2010. The artist, famous for her mammoth sculptures of spiders, pointedly leaves herself out of the list, insinuating not a rejection of the -ism, necessarily, but perhaps a bit of condescension toward critics eager to associate her with the term, no matter her opinions. Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 2003. Collection The Easton Foundation. Photo: Christopher Burke. B...
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 Huffington Post article
Oliver Cross: Why National Treasures do not have to be treasurable
Yorkshire Evening Post - over 4 years
PRIVATE Eye magazine, which does such sterling work in the war against lazy journalism and clichés, has a regular feature which notes how often the press and broadcasters try to make personalities and institutions more interesting by describing them as National Treasures. The Eye’s treasures this week are Gregg’s the bakers, suppliers of fat-filled (and very tempting) pasties to working people who don’t have the time or the money to eat slowly or sensibly, and Morrissey, the bad-tempered extreme vegetarian. The point about National Treasures is that they don’t have to be treasurable. They just need to stay around for a long time without becoming the subject of police historical offences inquiries. This must be depressing for figures like Morrissey and Tony Benn, who (because people generally remain the same age in their own heads) think of themselves as radical and challenging even after the press has decided that they have become so irrelevant that it can be nice to them. This h...
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 Yorkshire Evening Post article
Thigh gap
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
Once, only models were determined to make sure that their legs didn't touch. Now it has become a widespread, harmful – and often unachievable – obsession She may have modelled for Ralph Lauren and appeared on the cover of Vogue Italia, but when a photo of Robyn Lawley wearing a corset appeared on Facebook the responses were far from complimentary. "Pig", "hefty" and "too fat" were some of the ways in which commenters described the 24-year-old. Her crime? Her thighs were touching. Lawley had failed to achieve a "thigh gap". The model, who has her own swimwear line and has won numerous awards for her work, responded vehemently below the line: "You sit behind a computer screen objectifying my body, judging it and insulting it, without even knowing it." She also went on to pen a thoughtful rallying cry for the Daily Beast last week against those who attacked her, saying their words were "just another tool of manipulation that other people are trying to use to keep me from loving my bo...
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 Guardian (UK) article
ArtsBeat: Germaine Greer’s Archives Are Sold to the University of Melbourne
NYTimes - over 4 years
Germaine Greer has agreed to sell her archives to the University of Melbourne, with proceeds donated to rainforest rehabilitation efforts in Australia.     
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 NYTimes article
Arianna Huffington: 'My mother said failure was a stepping stone to success'
Guardian (UK) - over 4 years
Arianna Huffington has been confounding expectations all her life. Now one of the most powerful media moguls in the world, she says the Huffington Post is 'her last act'. Really? On a sweltering evening in central London this week, smartly dressed young women gathered to discuss "Redefining Success Beyond Money and Power". The keynote speaker contrasted the ancient Greek philosophers' ideal of "a good life" with our modern misapprehension that it means working 24/7, sleepless and stressed, soldered to a BlackBerry. We need a revolution to redefine success, she told her audience. Rest, relaxation and meditation are the future. "Prioritise your health. Live your life as if everything is rigged in your favour. Burnt-out people do not create a sustainable planet." She could pass quite easily for the owner of a wellbeing centre for Notting Hill ladies who lunch. Regally coiffed and impeccably dressed, she said nothing much that you won't already have heard from yoga enthusiasts. The sur...
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 Guardian (UK) article
Christina Sweeney-Baird: What Does Modern Day Feminism Mean?
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
Just before I started at Cambridge I went to a school leavers event. The topic of Caitlin Moran's joyously hilarious book, How to Be a Woman came up and the 'big word' inevitably followed. "Oh I'm not a feminist," three intelligent, highly-educated young women hurriedly chorused. (For the record, I wasn't one of them.) Their refusal to even entertain calling themselves feminists was depressing and unsurprising. Beyonce perhaps unwittingly summed it up when she recently answered the question, "Are you a feminist?" with, "I don't really feel that it's necessary to define it. It's just something that's kind of natural for me, and I feel like... you know... it's, like, what I live for. I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right?" One of the highest profile women in the world spoke about how important feminism is to her to the extent that she lives for it but bookended the statement with rejections of the word 'feminist'. The fact is that there is a dearth of wome...
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 Huffington Post article
PICTURE: The Meanest Fourth-Grader?
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
Kids say the darnedest things, but sometimes they cut to the quick, too. Take, for example, this smart-aleck fourth-grader, who should probably back away from daytime television and clearly needs to put Germaine Greer on his summer reading list. His teacher posted this exchange to Facebook (shortly after sending him to detention, we hope). If she was seeking sympathy within her social network, she went to the wrong place. The post pulled in 180 "Likes" by the time one of her friends posted the status update to Reddit for the rest of the Internet to see. LOOK:
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 Huffington Post article
Richard Caseby: Why the Guardian's Verbal Sexual Assault on Page Three Girls Is Baffling
Huffington Post - about 5 years
Whatever happened to the Guardian? Time was, you could rely on it to rush to the barricades on behalf on any hard-working girl struggling to make her way in a male-dominated world. The women's pages were shrill, they were mocked, but in the 1970s they were often ahead of their time. Yep, they were genuinely revolutionary. Wasn't it the Guardian that first took up arms for equal pay, campaigned against violence against women and then prostitutes' rights? How time and class prejudice has corroded its values. These days you only have to be a Page 3 model to be attacked by one of its columnists as a "downmarket scrubber". How violent is that? I defend anyone's right to an honest objection to Page 3, but the Guardian's verbal sexual assault on these women is as repellent as it is baffling. How on earth did the Guardian and its columnist Marina Hyde sink to this nadir? Perhaps the editor Alan Rusbridger calculates that ordinary Page 3 girls are fair game and won't retaliate...
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 Huffington Post article
Katy Campbell: Reclaiming the C**t
Huffington Post - about 5 years
That has to be my favourite phrase, taken from The Vagina Monologues, it not only makes me laugh, but also rings true. 2013 is the year to reclaim the cunt. Hi, my name is Katy, and I'm a feminist. Before I go on I'd like to clear up a few things: I shave. I don't hate men I don't whine about everything (I do whine about most things, but usually lack of chocolate and gin). Caitlin Moran, in her hilarious book 'How to Be a Woman', explains the best way of finding out if you are a feminist (this is clearly angled at women, though men feel free to try it): "So here is the quick way of working out if you're a feminist. Put your hand in your pants.a) Do you have a vagina? and b) Do you want to be in charge of it?If you said 'yes' to both, then congratulations! You're a feminist."  So, I'm a feminist because I answered yes to both those questions, and if you're a woman reading this you most likely answered yes too. Great, so we've got the label, now what the fuck ...
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 Huffington Post article
Barbara & Shannon Kelley: Repeat After Me: Just Say No
Huffington Post - about 5 years
If we want to close the ambition gap, a good first step might be learning how to shake our heads. There's this great quote from Feminist icon Germaine Greer: "When we talk about women having it all, what they really have all of is the work." She was being somewhat facetious. But then again, not so much. Which leads me to wonder: Would women be more powerful if we could just say no? A couple of recent studies just say yes. Some say that women are hard-wired to please. Others say we're socialized that way. In either case, we see it all the time: Good little girls doing as they're told at home, eager for the stamp of approval from mommy or daddy; older girls sitting still in class and turning in their homework on time to please their teachers. But what's surprising is that, according to a new study, even those of us raised with the "you go, girl" rhetoric never seem to outgrow our eagerness to please. According to a piece in the Wall Street Journal, a paper presented...
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 Huffington Post article
Sienna Jae Fein: What if We're Not Gorgeous When We're Old?
Huffington Post - about 5 years
When did feminism stop being about smashing through the glass ceiling and start being about how smashing we look now that we are aging? The founding feminists were more into good jobs than good genes. Germaine Greer, Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan lit a torch and led millions of women out of inequity's darkness. Along the way, that trail-blazing generation took for granted that rock and roll, yoga, hot sex and Clairol would keep them eternally young. Suddenly, Boomer women are in their 50's and 60's. Their mirrors are offering up jowls, age spots and frown lines. It's a shock they didn't expect, and these ladies are not going gentle into that chin-wattle night. I'd like to say I'm exempt from the fear of aging or, more to the point, from the fear of looking old. Like most other women in my age group, I long for non-droopy eyelids. I can't afford a facelift, but if I had an extra $18,000, I'd be jumping on that plane to Costa Rica -- or not. Maybe I'd put the ...
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 Huffington Post article
'Dented, painted' holy cows
The Times of India - about 5 years
Author and feminist Germaine Greer - whom Abhijit Mukherjee might well have described as the archetype of the 'dented, painted' feminine activist - remarked that India worships both the sacred cow and the woman, and more often than not works both to death. The self-styled 'Female Eunuch' might have been intrigued to hear a similar opinion being voiced by Mohan Bhagwat, the chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Speaking at a function organised to lay the foundation stone of what is billed as..
Article Link:
 The Times of India article
‘Dented, painted’ holy cows: RSS chief says rearing gau mata will prevent attacks on women
The Times of India - about 5 years
Author and feminist Germaine Greer – whom Abhijit Mukherjee might well have described as the archetype of the ‘dented, painted’ feminine activist – remarked that India worships both the sacred cow and the woman, and more often than not works both to death.
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 The Times of India article
Scott De Buitléir: Even Flow: A More Likely Antihero Story
Huffington Post - over 5 years
Think of all the superhero cartoons, comics and films that have been made over the years. Most of them -- bar Batman, maybe -- aren't that realistic. The superheroes have had some sort of unlikely event happen to them; Superman wasn't from Earth (but just happened to look human... right), a genetically altered spider bit Peter Parker, radiation mutated the Fantastic Four, and even the X-Men (this writer's favorite of all superheroes) all have mutations that aren't completely plausible. Now, think about a group of vigilantes who take the law into their own hands to protect -- and even avenge -- the dignity of minorities. Sounds a bit more possible, doesn't it? This is exactly what's involved with Darragh McManus' new novel, Even Flow. Set in New York, the novel follows a group of men calling themselves the 3W Gang; regular guys who are into movies, beer and carrying out selective, brutal punishment of misogynists and homophobes. Hunting them is a gay detective, determined t...
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 Huffington Post article
Emma L. E. Rees: Not Seeing the C-Word (Or Even the V-Word)
Huffington Post - over 5 years
I can report that the sky has not fallen. The end of days has not come. The Apple iTunes Bookstore continues to function as normal, despite an about-turn which means that a reader seeking Naomi Wolf's new book can now search for 'Vagina' and not, as was initially the case, be dazzled by a row of typographical stars from the 'V****a' firmament. The odd flush of coyness which at first colored Apple's cheeks was easily overcome. The corporate behemoth quickly responded to its customers' demands and started treating them as adults. But we forget the retailer's preliminary recalcitrance about the word 'vagina' at our peril. Apple emphasized, in its silly censorship, the urgent need for a book such as the one Wolf has written. Further, the recent spate of Wolf-baiting by reviewers of her book also serves to emphasize the publication's timeliness. Twitter, that cultural zeitgeist, is an especially fertile breeding-ground for virulent comments. Here, the uninformed and the u...
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 Huffington Post article
‘I knew I’d never see complete victory’
Catholic Herald - almost 6 years
On October 28 1967 Phyllis Bowman lay awake in the small hours of the night and began to cry. Her husband sat beside her and asked her what was wrong. “He said: ‘What are you crying for?’” she recalls. “I replied: ‘I know we have lost the vote.’ I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. And he said: ‘But you didn’t ever really think that we were ever going to defeat the Government?’” But Bowman’s husband had misunderstood. “That isn’t it,” she told him. “I’ll never see this country without abortion again.” Bowman is describing that memorable night at her home in west London. We have just had a lunch of salmon, bread and butter. Although at 85 Bowman shows signs of frailty she is the perfect hostess, offering me a glass of sherry and diligently wiping the already-clean dining table. Perhaps it is no coincidence that a woman who works tirelessly to promote human dignity is herself so dignified. She pats her neat hair and apologises because she thinks it is not up to its usual standard....
Article Link:
 Catholic Herald article
Jill’s Berringden Brow set to take a final bow
Hebden Bridge Times - almost 6 years
THE adventures of a popular literary character have all but come to an end. Life’s Rich Tapestry, written by Jill Robinson, is the final book of a four part series following the life of fictional female role model Jess of Berringden Brow. Mytholmroyd resident Jill, who wrote the books after reading that feminist Germaine Greer had complained about the menopause that all heroines tended to be young, said it has been an emotional journey. “When I started - which was more than 10 years ago - I had thought it would just be the one book,” she said. “I thought I’d write it, get it published and it would be a stand-alone piece but it was lovely when people asked me for more. “The feedback was so encouraging too. People kept saying to me ‘it’s almost as if you’ve been eavesdropping on my life.’” The other books in the series are Memoirs of a Single Parent With A Crush, Sons and Lodgers and A Place Like This, and Jill believes now is the perfect time to have penned the last offering. ...
Article Link:
 Hebden Bridge Times article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Germaine Greer
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 76
    In 2015 students at Cardiff University in Wales petitioned to stop Greer from speaking to the university on "Women & Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century", arguing that her views about transgender women were transphobic and misogynist.
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  • 2014
    Age 75
    The transfer of the archive from Greer's home in England began in July 2014; the university said it would raise A$3 million to fund the process.
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  • 2013
    Age 74
    The University of Melbourne announced in 2013 that it would house the archive of Greer's work, which includes letters from family, friends, colleagues and critics, filling over 150 filing cabinet drawers.
  • 2008
    Age 69
    Greer argued in 2008 that "reality comes first and ideology comes second," and elaborated on whether feminism was the only successful revolution of the 20th century:
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  • 2006
    Age 67
    In 2006 her Guardian column on the death of Australian Steve Irwin was criticized as insensitive for concluding that the animal world had "finally taken its revenge on Irwin," and that she hoped "exploitative nature documentaries" would now end.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1998
    Age 59
    In 1998 she wrote an episode, "Make Love not War," for the television documentary series Cold War, and sat for a nude photograph by the Australian photographer Polly Borland.
  • 1990
    Age 51
    Greer makes regular celebrity appearances on television, particularly in the UK. She appeared on the BBC's Have I Got News for You several times from 1990.
  • FORTIES
  • 1989
    Age 50
    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 described as inevitable – that in her writing she was projecting her relationship with him onto all other men.
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    In 1989 she became a fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge, where she had completed her PhD. That year she founded Stump Cross Books, which publishes the work of 17th- and 18th-century women poets.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1979
    Age 40
    In 1979 Greer was appointed director of the Center of the Study of Women's Literature at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in 1981 founded the Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, an academic journal that highlights previously unknown women writers.
  • 1973
    Age 34
    In 1973 she debated William F. Buckley, Jr. at the Cambridge Union on the motion "This House Supports the Women's Liberation Movement."
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  • 1972
    Age 33
    After leaving Warwick in 1972, Greer co-presented Nice Time, a Granada Television comedy show, with Kenny Everett and Jonathan Routh, bought a house in Italy, wrote a column for The Sunday Times, and travelled throughout Africa and Asia.
  • 1970
    Age 31
    She began writing columns for Oz magazine, owned by Australian writer Richard Neville, whom she had met at a party in Sydney. The magazine's July 1970 edition, OZ 29, featured "Germaine Greer knits private parts," an article on the hand-knitted Keep it Warm Cock Sock, "a snug corner for a chilly prick."
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1969
    Age 30
    She received her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in 1969 for a thesis entitled The Ethic of Love and Marriage in Shakespeare's Early Comedies.
  • 1968
    Age 29
    In 1968 she was married for the first and only time.
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    Greer worked as an assistant lecturer at the University of Warwick from 1968 to 1972, living at first in a rented bedsit in Leamington Spa.
  • 1965
    Age 26
    She was billed in 1965 as the first woman to be granted full membership.
  • 1964
    Age 25
    Greer joined the student acting company, the Cambridge Footlights in October 1964, on the same day as Clive James and Russell Davies.
    The thesis won her a Commonwealth Scholarship, which she used to fund her doctorate, arriving in 1964 at Newnham College, Cambridge, a women-only college.
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  • 1963
    Age 24
    Her first teaching post was at the University of Sydney, where she earned a first-class Master of Arts degree in romantic poetry in 1963, for a thesis entitled The Development of Byron's Satiric Mode.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1956
    Age 17
    From 1956 she attended the University of Melbourne, graduating in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and French language and literature.
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  • 1952
    Age 13
    In 1952 she won a scholarship to Star of the Sea College in Gardenvale, a convent school run by the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary; a school report called her "a bit of a mad-cap and somewhat erratic in her studies and in her personal responses."
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1943
    Age 4
    Greer was raised in the suburb of Sandringham, near the beach, attending St Columba's Catholic Primary School in Elwood from February 1943, then Sacred Heart Parish School, Sandringham, and Holy Redeemer School, Ripponlea.
  • 1939
    Age 0
    Born on January 29, 1939.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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