Feminism and Greer: Can we have it all?

One of my posts garnered a lot of attention so, as per one of my ZerotoHero challenges I am going to follow this up on a regular basis. Hence I have added a Widget to say when my next post on Feminism will occur, plus my food challenge. However, I am few days early as I haven’t posted for a while on this blog – been rather too busy setting up the pop-up university (see poppingalong.wordpress.com)

Additionally, when I have time, and this does tend to be in bursts, often at the weekend, I shall post other stuff with my usual eclectic mix of travel, gardens, book/film/theatre/music reviews and all the rest .. but I refuse to be held to a schedule for anything more as my life is just too much of a chaotic changeable mix, with days like today and yesterday when I have been feeling very under the weather and other days which are very busy or…

So having published February’s Feminism post I am now delivering March’s post.

In Red magazine (anyone read it here? some good stuff but some of the fashion is way out of my league but…) the February edition  had an excellent article on Germaine Greer. They also asked 6 women what they thought her legacy was. this was followed or taken from or – who knows which order it was in but still T- the Guardian newspaper also asked 6 influential feminists what Greer meant to them. With contradictory comments and yes, I agree, some her later comments did seem rather batty – but she always strove to be controversial and usually succeeded.


Now I grew up with Germaine Greer as a leading activist, speaker and writer on female issues. And yes, I did read The Female Eunuch – and so did my husband!

The Female Eunuch has never been out of print it seems, and for so many of my generation, reading it a revelation and a call to arms too. We were the generation that – finally – could take control of our own fertility and ‘enjoy’ the pill. We could therefore use this easy to access – not at first of course but later – form of contraception to control our own sexual activities and proclivities. Though the spectre of AIDS soon meant that this open form of sexual behaviour had to go on hold, and yet, the pill has transformed the lives of women across the world. no longer did they need to use the worst form of contraception ever – the abortion! Even if you weren’t expecting to have sex the morning-after pill proved useful for many. Abortion has its place but not as a form of contraception. Yes, the abortion clinic also became legal and thus so many women were spared the awful effects of illegal abortion from scarring to major haemorrhaging to death. The steady trade of girls from Ireland to England made many private clinics quite rich.

contraceptive Pill

But just wait for the male pill. Now that will be interesting. How many women will trust their partners to take it? Even in a steady and committed relationship? Perhaps an implant would work? But how many men will be enlightened enough to undertake this? About as many as are willing to have a vasectomy perhaps?

Greer to me has been a light beam in my past. She didn’t talk about many issues that are important now and if you weren’t young at the time of writing the Female Eunuch you cannot imagine some of the points that were discussed – after all my boss in the 70s thought it perfectly acceptable to say that he wouldn’t have promoted me if he had known I was pregnant – and what is worse – most men of the time would have agreed! Which of course why I had not told him… No single women’s mortgages, no loan agreements without counter-signing, no freedom for many to marry at will or to live openly with other women – and this state of affairs still exists in many parts of the world. So the story of the Female Eunuch still has a place and needs to be read. You may not agree with everything in it –  but it will challenge to think about why you don’t agree and what you do think about the role of women in today’s world.

A thought to think about as we here in the UK celebrate Mother’s Day shortly.


2 thoughts on “Feminism and Greer: Can we have it all?

  1. mssprinkle

    I had lunch today with a group of women age 60 and up. My mind whirled when one related the tale of seeking to establish an account with the local favorite department store in the 70s. Mind you, this woman had moved here to accept a full professorship with our university, and not only held a doctoral degree at the time but also had already established herself internationally as an expert in her field. She could not, however, establish credit with Cox’s without providing information about either her father or her husband. My oh my!



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