I realised, watching Germaine Greer reduce herself to the point of ridicule on Q and A last night, why she became the most famous feminist of her age. She speaks a type of feminism palatable to the fellas; body and sex centric; trivial and titillating.
There are so many first wave Australian feminists who have made a difference for women. Unlike Greer, Eva Cox, Anne Summers and the recently deceased Joan Bielski stuck around Down Under to see their ideas manifest into reality. They weren’t in feminism just to make a name for themselves on the publishing circuit. They have devoted their lives to women-centred policy jobs, committees and NGO’s whose sole purpose has been to improve the lives of women and men in Australia and beyond.
Feminism is so much more work than the shock and awe we saw last night; it’s more than an excuse to say labia majora and clitoris on free to air TV. I don’t have a problem with that – don’t get me wrong. But the whole point of feminism was to rescue women from being diminished to sexy bit parts. Greer didn’t do the movement any favours last night.
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Thirty years ago Nell Schofield played Debbie in the film adaptation of Gabrielle Carey and Kathy Lette’s book Puberty Blues. The new television series of Puberty Blues starts tonight on Ten.
Back in 1981, the world was a different place. There was no internet, no mobile phones and having unprotected sex wasn’t a potentially lethal activity. With the advent of HIV AIDS, wearing condoms became a whole lot more critical.
Safe abortion clinics became legal in most countries but we are at risk of going back to the dark ages with the rise of reactionary politics. We need to do all we can to help girls grow up to be the best they can be, even if they choose to put off having a family or not have one at all.
There is a societal pressure on girls to marry and have children. But having kids often knocks women out of the work force and many never return.
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As always, it’s tempting to blame everything on Ms Antithesis-of-“Germane” Greer.
Bloody Germaine. Doesn’t she realise there are enough misogynists taking pot shots at Julia Gillard without women’s libbers joining the mob?
Stubborn Germaine. When will she accept that Australia’s “stupid” media isn’t “making” her sound crazy by quoting her out of context; it’s simply quoting her?
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Lots of young women revere Germaine Greer for all that she has achieved in the name of the women’s rights movement.
Lately, many of these same young women have been looking to Greer, and others of her ilk, for a fresh approach to the women’s movement of the future. For a new path that feels right in our new world where, for many of us, times have changed. A new feminism, if you like.
Last night’s Q and A performance proved one thing: Greer’s no longer our woman. After a few minutes of solid and complimentary assessment of Gillard’s struggle for leadership, and policy initiatives, Greer took an extraordinarily shallow, un-sophisticated and un-intelligent shot at the size of the PM’s backside and the poor cut of her jacket.
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I love men. Truly, I adore them: how they smell, the timbre of their voices, the sexiness of their forearms, their almost universal belief that life is better if you’re laughing along to it.
Perhaps I’ve been blessed with good ones: an ex-husband I’d happily still hug, a current husband who brings me to tears of laughter, a stepfather who treats my mum like gold, and many friends who’d be there in spades if my world fell to pieces.
That’s why I became a bit peeved recently when I went along to a feminist forum featuring trailblazers such as Germaine Greer and Naomi Wolf, and found some of them still peddling the man-hating schtick.
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I don’t think Germaine Greer would like my friends.
The woman who personifies the feminist movement of the 70s and makes every wife willing to iron her husband’s shirts feel like a feminist-traitor would certainly frown on my little circle of Mummy-friends.
Especially on International Women’s Day.
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Not since Carrie Bradshaw tapped away at her laptop has a column started with a dafter question, but here goes: Could Germaine Greer be single-handedly responsible for the complete destruction of a society and its culture?
And not just any old society, the one that has exported its language, manners and mores to the rest of the world more than any other. The British.
As ridiculous as it sounds, our expat Sheila-in-chief has been accused of bringing Britain to its knees by one of the country’s most widely-read commentators.
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