The Female Eunuch by Germaine Greer(1939- ) 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. My first wife and I arrived in Australia in July 1971. By then that 2nd printing had sold out. I was 26. I knew about the book and bought a copy but I must confess that I cannot remember, after the passing of more than 40 years, just how I came across the book or what role it played in my conversations.
My wife and I were both teachers and our lives were full of new classes of children, working out our marital relationship, our relationship with this new town and country as well as with the small Baha’i community we were part of in the semi-arid region of South Australia with summers hotter than we had ever known.
Greer, an Australian writer, academic, journalist and scholar of early modern English literature has been a significant feminist voice in the last several decades. Her ideas have created controversy ever since The Female Eunuch became an international best-seller in 1970. She was turned into a household name and received both adulation and opposition.
In 1999, the year I retired from my career as a teacher, the book The Whole Woman, a sequel to The Female Eunuch, was released. I did not read it until 2012. 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. 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," she wrote in her introduction.
As I read these words I was sitting in a library in northern Tasmania waiting to return to George Town where I had been living for a dozen years. I was 68; it had been 40 years since I first came across this attractive, provocative and controversial woman. In those 40 years Germaine had been busy. So had I. Germaine had written many books and essays and you can read about her career in Wikipedia. I, too, had written many books and essays, but I was neither famous nor rich, and I was not as handsome as she was beautiful.-Ron Price with thanks to Wikipedia, 10 June 2012.
You have certainly challenged the male
of the species in the last 40 years with a
litany of their failings. It’s all part of the
great transition from tradition to post-
modernity & some future Golden Age(1)
which will arrive long after my days are
ended and I’m pushing-up those daisies
proverbial & have gone to a place where
one speaks no more, writes no more, & I
assume does not worry about the relations
between the sexes—such is my hope!!!!!!
(1) Teilhard de Chardin, the famous paleontologist, in his 1955 book The Future of Mankind takes the view that the utopians make scientific sense. "Our modern world was created in less than 10,000 years," he says, "and in the past 200 years it has changed more than in all the preceding millennia. Have we ever thought of what our planet may be like, psychologically, in a million years’ time? It is finally the Utopians, not the ‘realists’, who make scientific sense. They at least, though their flights of fancy may cause us to smile, have a feeling for the true dimensions of the phenomenon of Man."
10 June 2012
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