Monday, May 18, 2009

Germaine Greer

I've been nervous about this post. The subject seems a bit overwhelming to me. I feel it's not something that can or should be done in one day. But that's exactly what I'm going to do.

What I'm trying to tell myself is I'm just writing a silly Dina blog post. I don't need to write a whole biography about this woman.

Although I'm nervous, I'm also excited. Germaine Greer seems very controversial. Aren't most feminists? I'm wondering if I'll end up liking her. Loving her? Hating her? I'll probably be somewhere in the middle.

I don't really know that much about her.

I think the first time I heard of her was regarding the whole Steve Irwin thing. She wrote rude nasty things after he died. Whether I agree or not with what she says is irrelevant. I think it was incredibly wrong to write such things so soon after he died. It was incredibly distasteful. Then John Birmingham came along and gave her a well-deserved lashing. But then he said things that I found were rude and inappropriate.

It reminds me of fights within my family. One person will talk to me about another family member behind their back. They'll be venting. I'll be listening. I stand behind what they said. I'll agree with it. And then they say something offensive I don't agree with. They go too far.

Anyway, that's about all I know.

And now I shall learn more.

Hello to Lord Wiki.

Greer was born on 29 January 1939.

Birthday website time!

She's an Aquarius like my dad is.

She's a 7 like me.

The 7 would fit Greer I suppose. 7 is about learning. She seems like someone who learns a lot.

She was born in Melbourne.

Her father was an insurance executive.

She attended the same Catholic school as Rachel Griffiths. Star of the Sea College.

For her University studies, Greer went to the University of Melbourne. She studied English and French language and Literature.

Then she moved to Sydney.

She got involved with a group called Sydney Push. Have I written about them before? They sound familiar. Well, even if I's been awhile and I've forgotten it anyway.

Lord Wiki says it's a left wing group from the 1940's to the 1970's. Robert Hughes was part of the group. I read his autobiography, so that's probably where I've heard of it.

In the 1970's Greer considered herself to be an Anarchist Communist. How is that different from a regular communist?

I shall go and see.

Well, Lord Wiki's explanation is very long and complicated. I read part of it. Basically it's getting rid of wages and sharing everything.

I wrote a whole thing about this on Livejournal once. I imagined a world where we just share everything. One person is good at gardening so he grows potatoes in his backyard. Another person is good at cooking. She takes the potatoes and makes mashed potatoes. Then whoever is hungry and wants potatoes can come and take some.

The Internet is pretty much like this. We do work for free. We write stories. We write blog entries. We do research. We make videos. And then we read and watch other stuff for free. We get free information. We're all sharing.

I don't know much about the history of communism. I recently talked to my dad who is very much against it. They recently returned from China, and he talked about how things are so much better now since they've become more capitalist.

He talked about aspects of Chinese Communism. He said it was very anti-intellectual. Books were burned. Farming was valued over all other professions. Scholars were scorned.

When he said that it made me wonder... Could it be that it's not the sharing aspect of communism that fails, but the anti-intellectual aspect? What if there was a communism where all skills and trades were valued? Hey, thanks for building me a house. Now I'll cook your family dinner for two months. And while we eat Joe will sing and play guitar for all of us.

If a capitalist country was anti-intellectual and burning books, wouldn't it be just as bad as communism?

I see a lot of problems with capitalism. The main thing is it creates and rewards greed. People work at jobs that make them unhappy. Not only that, but they work to create things that are harmful to other people.

Lord Wiki says that some people argue against anarchist communism by saying without wage labor people would be lazy and selfish. It reminds me of the arguments for children going to school. If children aren't FORCED to learn, and bribed and punished with grades; they won't learn. They'll just want to play all day. Jack doesn't go to school. I rarely assign him any work. I rarely tell him what to do. Right now he's on Google Maps doing geography stuff. No one pushed him to do this. Like any human being, he is naturally curious. He WANTS to learn.

Lord Wiki says the response to the arguments about people being naturally lazy and selfish is that even wealthy people, who don't have to work, still end up doing work. They might do gardening. They might knit sweaters. They might paint. They might babysit. Yes, there are some who DO end up just partying, drinking, gambling, and showing their face on Tabloids. But those people would probably still be selfish and lazy if they HAD to work. They'd be the people who always come to work late and depend on everyone else to get the job done. They'd be the ones who steal from the company.

This post really might end up being a whole damn book.

I need to get back on track.

Greer taught at the University of Sydney. She also got her M.A in romantic poetry. She wrote a thesis that won her a scholarship. With that she was able to get her doctorate at the university of Cambridge in England. Ah, something else besides Oxford!

She joined a Cambridge acting group called the Footlights. There's a list of other people who have been part of this group. I'll name the ones I recognize: Douglas Adams, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Clive James, Hugh Laurie, Charles Shaughnessy, and Emma Thompson. The list is pretty damn impressive actually.

Greer wrote a gardening column for a satirical magazine. She also wrote for the London Oz magazine. I remember reading about that in Robert Hughes' book.

Greer appeared nude in the magazine. Interesting.

She married a journalist in London, but the marriage lasted only three weeks. Why? She was unfaithful several times. Wow. I mean I can have some sympathy for adultery. I think sometimes it happens. But who can't stay faithful for three weeks?

In 1970, Greer had her book published. The Female Eunuch. First things first. What is an Eunuch?

This online dictionary says it's a castrated man. It can also refer to one that lacks virility or power. I'm guessing the latter is what Greer refers to in her title.

It seems Greer had been teaching when she published the book. When it became successful, she quit and traveled.

She bought a house in Italy.

She went to Africa and Asia.

In New Zealand she got arrested for saying certain words. Many people rallied in support of her.

This was all during the 1970's. She was a busy woman.

In 1979, she did stuff in America. She worked at the University of Oklahoma as the director for the Center of the Study of Women's Literature.

In 1989 she was working at Cambridge as a lecturer. She resigned in 1996 because of some controversy regarding a transsexual colleague. She didn't want this colleague becoming part of the fellowship, because the colleague had once been male. Really? That's sad. So, it seems she's not sympathetic towards transsexuals. I have another mark against her.

All right. Now Lord Wiki has a whole little section about the Female Eunuch. He says the book is about men hating women and women not realizing men hate women. I agree with the first part. I don't really agree with the second. And I'm not sure I'd use the word hate. I think men look down at women. They see us as inferior, and treat us either in a cruel way or a condescending way. There ARE exceptions of course.

Lord Wiki says the book caused a lot of fights in households. Women were throwing it at their husbands. I wonder if anyone was seriously injured by this.

Apparently Greer suggested that women should taste their own menstrual blood. Yikes! I have never had any desire to do that. I had been curious to taste my own breast milk. I think that would be cool. Actually, maybe I did try that. I don't remember. I might have tasted a tiny drop. Yeah, I think that's it. And it was so small I couldn't really taste it.

But blood?

Maybe if I was a vampire.

Although I'm not sure if vampires still menstruate. I would imagine that whole process stops.

Greer is against celibacy and monogamy. I think I am too. Although I do like having my own little nuclear family.

I don't think monogamy works though. I think it's unnatural. I think most people cheat. And if they don't, it's rarely because they are so in love with ONE person that they don't want to. It's because they feel morally obligated to stay faithful.

Monogamy doesn't just create cheaters, it creates dishonesty. And I hate dishonesty.

Of course there's the issue of jealousy. We can't share each other, because we'd all be jealous. But I think jealousy is just a natural evil you have to accept and push away.

Even with friends there are jealousy issues. I'm sometimes jealous that my friends have other friends. I think there's a part of me that wants to be their special one and only....which is so selfish and ridiculous because I have other friends besides them. And I also find myself downplaying my friendships with certain other friends. I sometimes feel that by having friends B, C, D, and E, I'm betraying friend A.

But you know it's all just silliness. You accept you have these feelings. You laugh at yourself, and you move on.

I also think that jealousy is often more about feeling neglected than resentment about sharing a person. I had major jealousy issues in my marriage last year. I think though that it was less about sharing my husband and more about feeling that our relationship was falling apart. If things are well between us, I'm happy to share him. If things are bad, little fireballs shoot out of my eyes.

And with my own friendships.....

I feel if I can follow the Girl Scout rule of make-new-friends-but-keep-the-old, than I'm doing fine. If I start ignoring old friends because new friends are more exciting; than I know I'm being very bad.

Okay. Stop the tangent and get back to Greer......

She wasn't in support of burning bras. She was against bras, but felt if you pushed people not to wear them that was repression too.

I'm not sure how I feel about bras personally. I never wear one around the house, but usually feel obligated to wear them around extended family and friends. I wear them at the lake house when the whole family is together. Once I take off my bra to go to sleep, I rarely leave the bedroom. I'm guessing this is about shyness in terms of being seen by my dad and brother-in-laws. But what about my mom and sister? Would I feel okay not wearing a bra in front of them? I hope so.

I DID breastfeed in front of everyone. So, I'm not that uptight.

Maybe I feel breasts look better when they're all perky instead of sagging. But is that my real feeling, or is it culturally cultivated?

All right. Now Lord Wiki is talking about Greer's other books.

There was one in 1984. Sex and Destiny--The Politics of Human Fertility. In the book, she condemns western sexuality. She criticizes our promotion of birth control in third world countries. She says it's less about concern for human welfare and more about the rich being envious of the fertility of the poor. Huh? Why would poor people be more fertile? And why would the wealthy people be jealous of that?

I don't know. I can see how promoting birth control could be an example of pushing our values on other people. But overpopulation is not a great thing for this world. And I also think many women would appreciate not giving birth to ten children. I can't be against promoting birth control. I would be against FORCING birth control on other people.

In 1991 Greer published a book called The Change: Woman, Ageing, and Menopause. She argues against hormone replacement therapy. She says that women are frightened into doing the therapy with stories of how their health will fail if they don't. I think the medical community does this a lot. If you don't see the dentist every six months, you'll be sorry! If you don't vaccinate your children on this exact schedule, they'll contract a horrible disease and DIE! Sure you can have a homebirth, but first let us tell you about all the possible scary things that might happen to your child.

In 1999, we have The Whole Woman. Here she argues against Western intervention in terms of female circumcision.

I have to admit. I agree with her.

I DO believe in intervention when a woman doesn't want this surgery. And I imagine that most women don't. I believe in rescuing women from oppressive cultures when they choose not to be oppressed. But I think.....

What do I think?

I'm not sure.

I do not like the anti-male circumcision attitude that is so virulent in Attachment Parenting Circles. I ran into some of these websites, in my early years as a parent, because we practice attachment parenting. They make circumcision seem like the most violent abusive thing you can do to a baby.

The thing is I am Jewish. I know a lot of Jewish men. Never in my life have I heard a Jewish man complain about being circumcised. I'm sure there ARE some Jewish men out there who protest against the practice. But for the most part, it's an accepted aspect of Jewish culture. Yeah. It hurts. It's not a fun procedure. I'm not sure it's a medically necessary procedure. As someone who no longer follows Judaism, I'm not sure I'd do it again if I had another son. But I don't judge parents who choose to do it. Nor do I judge parents who get their baby's ears pierced. There's so much horrific REAL child abuse out there.

 I think we're being outrageous when we label things such as homeschooling, circumcision, and sending babies to daycare as child abuse. I think we can be against certain parenting methods and decisions. I think we can share our opinions and write/speak about them. But I think it's a bit misguided to become a complete fanatic about the situation.

As for female circumcision. Ouch. I wouldn't want that done to myself. I like all my parts the way they are. But I think it's hypocritical for Western society to point their fingers at societies who choose this practice. Are we really any better? Yeah, we might not formally force our people to be mutilated. But our idealistic view of women's bodies have caused too many girls to self-mutilate via self-starvation and plastic surgery. We live in a society where obesity and eating disorders are simultaneous epidemics. Yeah, it's fine to point our fingers at other cultures. Maybe sometimes we need to. But we also need to point those fingers at ourselves.

In 1997, a biography was written about Greer. She wasn't happy about that.  She said biographies should be written only about dead people.

In 2005, she was in the UK's Celebrity Big Brother. Really? That's funny.

She says she doesn't like reality TV. I don't like it either. We have something else in common. But I didn't go and put myself on a reality TV show. I've never been given the opportunity though. Maybe if it came up, I'd be a hypocrite too.

In 2000, Greer proclaimed that she never sets foot in Australia without first asking the permission of the traditional owners of the land.

Some indigenous Australians claim that she doesn't truly does this.

All right. I'm done with Lord Wiki for now. I'm going to go read other stuff....well, after Jack and I eat some lunch.

I'm having fun here. I'm not sure I like Greer, but I do like writing about her.
Okay. I'm back. What next?

Here's something from

It talks about a story in that biography Greer didn't like. Greer had written a book about her father. One of her classmates visited with their past mutual nun teacher. The classmate complained about Greer brooding over her childhood. The nun said she doesn't want to read the book. I couldn't bear to think that Germaine is so sad. I couldn't bear to read that that wonderful girl is so sad.

There's something beautifully poignant about that story I'm at a loss for words here. I guess I'll just move on.

The essay goes onto say that Greer ended up preaching against everything she learned in Catholic school. Still, the nun continued to see her as a wonderful person. I think that says a lot.

Greer is against pap smears. Really? Wow. I thought they were helpful. I'll have to read her views on this though.

I hate pap smears.

I'm horrible at pap smears.

I get so horribly nervous. I clam up. Then the doctor snaps at me. Relax! You really need to relax. They act completely exasperated with me. Then I end up feeling like a complete freaky loser. And these feelings don't exactly put me in a relaxed state.

This article says she has taken back her whole free love idea.

She also seems anti-homosexual. I was wondering about that when I read about the transsexual thing. Apparently, she believes homosexuality is caused by people not accepting their gender roles. Wow.

Here's an editorial written by Greer herself. It's about a photo of Miley Cyrus done by Annie Leibovitz.

Greer says, The Greeks and Romans liked their goddesses meaty; our preferred Venuses are children.

That's biting, but probably very true. This could explain why so many women have incidents of molestation and eating disorders in their childhood biographies. Too many men like little girls.

Greer says, Kate Moss has been able to earn millions only as long as she could continue to project the body image of a 13-year-old. The appeal of her nude portraits derives from the heart-breaking curve of her narrow hip-line and the tautness of her barely perceptible cleavage, not to mention the sulky innocence of her unfocused gaze.

That's beautifully written and I think it presents a scary truth.

This website has quotes from Greer.

I like this one. You're only young once, but you can be immature forever.

I'm very immature. I often feel like a twelve-year-old in a thirty-six-year old body. I ALWAYS feel that way when my parents are around. When I'm with Jack and/or my friends, I sometimes feel like I'm my actual age.

Here's another quote: Yet if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?

I can't walk in high heels. I think I'd be a feminist for that reason alone.

I have always been principally interested in men for sex. I've always thought any sane woman would be a lover of women because loving men is such a mess. I have always wished I'd fall in love with a woman. Damn.

Wow. That sounds EXACTLY like something I'd say. But I think I CAN fall in love with a woman. I just can't bring myself to want to have sex with them.

She does sound a little less homophobic there. Maybe she's less homophobic and more transsexual-phobic.

Here's another quote website.

I like this quote.
The older woman's love is not love of herself, nor of herself mirrored in a lover's eyes, nor is it corrupted by need. It is a feeling of tenderness so still and deep and warm that it gilds every grass blade and blesses every fly. It includes the ones who have a claim on it, and a great deal else besides. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I wonder if that's true. Or did Greer write it while being enchanted by a current love affair?

I like this quote:
The only perfect love to be found on earth is not sexual love, which is riddled with hostility and insecurity, but the wordless commitment of families, which takes as its model mother-love. This is not to say that fathers have no place, for father-love, with its driving for self-improvement and discipline, is also essential to survival, but that uncorrected father-love, father-love as it were practiced by both parents, is a way to annihilation.

Of course, it can be seen as sexist. Maybe we shouldn't definite it as female/mother or father/male love. I think I'd prefer the term unconditional nurturing love. It's a love that's pure and unselfish. Some fathers might love their children in this way. And some mothers don't.

I love this quote.
Security is when everything is settled. When nothing can happen to you. Security is the denial of life. Amen to that. I like it because it gives validation to my anxiety and insecurities.

See this is why, although I think jealousy is silly, I also think it's natural. I feel jealousy because I feel insecure. Friendships and relationships always have the possibility of ending. Everyday comes with the chance we will be replaced and no longer loved by the people who love us. For those who feel no jealousy (or claim they don't) I ask how the hell can they be so secure? What are they denying?

I think it's ridiculous to be completely secure that our relationships will continue on forever. But I do think you CAN accept that friendships come and go. You can take a healthy relaxed attitude about that. He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves someone else. He no longer loves me.

I guess the trick is not to become too attached to people. But if we do that, do we run the risk of being cold and detached?

Here's some stuff about her anti-transsexual feelings.

It says that Greer went on a witch hunt against transsexuals--trying to defame them and ruin their careers.

The website has some excerpts from her book.

Oh wait. I might kind of see her point here. I feel crazy saying that. And I do support people being transsexual. I also am against discriminating against transsexuals. But I think what Greer MIGHT be saying is that transsexuality exists because of our forced gender roles. If a male child identifies more with things that are traditionally female, could this encourage him to dislike his own gender and prefer to be female?

Jack has always shown an interest and liking towards things that are traditionally female. He does like male stuff too. He loves The Simpsons and he has loved Star Wars. He likes video games. But he also likes "Girly" stuff. We have always accepted this and have never pushed gender stereotypes on him. We also have open discussions about sexism. He once had a fit at his cousin's birthday party because the girls were given purses to decorate and the boys were given Spiderman stickers. Jack fought for his right to own a bright green purse.

I think Jack feels it's okay to like what he wants to like. From what I know of him, he loves being a boy. He's satisfied with his gender because it doesn't restrict him in any way.

But what about children who are restricted?
No, Billy. Put down that doll. It's a girl's toy.

Boys don't wear nail polish. That's a girl thing.
No Sarah. Don't play that game. It's not ladylike .

I don't know enough about transsexualism though to declare that all cases are caused by misguided parenting and sexist marketing. There could be biological factors as well.

In some ways, I'm against transsexualism in a spiritual sense. I believe in reincarnation. I believe we live both male and female lives. With that in mind, I could say I think people should accept who they are. If you want to get rid of your penis and have a Vagina, wait until the next life.

BUT I could look at it in another way. Maybe a particular lifetime isn't about being male or female. Maybe transsexuals are supposed to spend that lifetime learning not to accept who they are, but CHANGE who they are. I do believe everything happens for a reason. But it's not always about us accepting things. Sometimes it's about us CHANGING things.

Here's a quote from Greer. Whatever else it is gender reassignment is an Exorcism of the Mother.
When a man decides to spend his life impersonating his mother (like Norman Bates in Psycho) it is as if he murders her and gets away with it, proving at a stroke that there was nothing to her. His intentions are no more honourable than any female impersonator's; his achievement is to gag all those who would call his bluff. When he forces his way into the few private spaces women may enjoy and shouts down their objections, and bombards the women who will not accept him with threats and hate mail, he does as rapists have always done.

Oh shit. Give me a break. I can lose all respect for Greer in that one paragraph. Is she actually serious?

I'm not even sure how to respond. The language she uses is outlandish. Gag? Force? Rape?

Here's some information about her pap smear feelings.

She says, Mass (pap smear) screening should be stopped and instead only carried out on the identified risk groups - young women, young women who smoke and those who have been exposed to the Human Papilloma Virus.

I wonder if there's any truth to that. How much of a risk to public health would it be to stop the mass testing?

Here's the infamous essay about Steve Irwin.

It was published on 5 September 2006. That's a day after he died. Shame on Greer for writing this essay and shame on The Guardian for publishing it. It's just distasteful. I don't believe in glorifying the dead. I think we CAN speak ill of them. But for Pete's Sake. Wait a little while! The fact that she wrote this soon after his death...well, to me that's just exploitive.

And yes some people are bad enough to warrant criticism immediately after they died. There are evil people out there. I don't think Irwin was evil. I personally am fond of the guy. Yes, I understand other people's dislike of him. He's misguided at times. He perpetuates Australian cultural stereotypes. He doesn't always make the wisest parenting decisions. But I think all in all, he's NOT a bad person.

He doesn't deserve Greer's selfish wrath. And I certainly don't think his family deserved it.

I wish I could find Birmingham's response. I'm trying. So far I can only find excerpts and commentary.

This has more of the editorial. It's in The Australian which is where Birmingham's editorial was published. But I don't think this is the whole one.

I think he's offensive....which he should be because Greer totally deserves it. Unfortunately though, he resorts to very sexist ideas to punish her. He points out that she's childless. That really has no meaningful point.

He calls her a hag.

He calls her a bag lady.

I do love this quote from Birmingham and think he has some very good points. Greer’s greatest contribution to the world was her attempt—through The Female Eunuch—to make a whole generation of women feel ashamed for getting married and having children. Thankfully, most women learned to ignore the shrill bore and made up their own minds about whether to have a family, career, neither or both. I suspect what irks Greer is Irwin was an Aussie who conquered the world but never forgot where he came from. Australians loved him. Who will mourn Germaine Greer when she keels over and dies in her mud-brick cottage in West Buggeryshire?

I think that's biting and mean. But as it attacks Greer (who deserves it) it doesn't attack all other women.

Now I'm going to look at Google News.

Never mind. I don't see anything that looks immediately exciting. This blog post is moving towards epic length.

I still haven't talked about the whole controversy of her declaring Aboriginal men have anger issues. Maybe I should.

Okay. She says they have blind rage.

Here's an interview about it.

Greer says, Aboriginal rage, it is not an excessive reaction to friction but the inevitable consequence of a series of devastating blows inflicted on a victim who is utterly powerless to resist.

I could probably agree with that.

This is totally off topic, but a vein in my leg has started pulsating recently. It's pretty cool, but weird. I googled to make sure I have nothing fatal going on here. I didn't find anything scary. So I guess I'll just enjoy it. It's kind of an entertaining distraction while I write. The sensation reminds me a little bit of when Jack was in my uterus kicking away. But I guess this is a little less sweet and cute.

Back to Greer.

Here's a quote from Greer that has probably been worshiped and passed on by Attachment Parents everywhere.

In modern consumer society, the attack on mother-child eroticism took its total form; breastfeeding was proscribed and the breasts reserved for the husband's fetishistic delectation. At the same time, babies were segregated, put into cold beds alone and not picked up if they cried.

As a mother who practiced this type of parenting, I have to say in this instance Greer and I are on the same page. I'm not against breasts being used as erotic tools to attract and/or please men. I'm also not against babies in cribs.

 I AM against people who oversexualize breasts and promote the breastfeeding relationship as being perverse and abusive. I'm also against any baby "experts" who warn parents against comforting their crying baby. It's one thing not to go to your crying baby because you're pooping on the toilet, finishing your dinner, washing your hair, or taking care of another child. It's another thing for a mother to sit there with her heart breaking, not going to pick up her wailing baby simply because she's been told that her restraint will build a better child. I know because one awful day I WAS that mother.

Here's a review of Greer's book The Whole Woman.

The reviewer says:
Greer's writings usually reflect the experience of educated, White, middle-class women and this book is no exception. However, one does get the impression that, thirty years on, she is conscious of the narrowness of this experience and attempts to draw more broadly from the experiences of women of colour.

Well, that's good. We're all a little bit limited in our viewpoint. We're all a little ethnocentric. At least Greer tries to somewhat overcome that.

I like what the reviewer says here: The bottom line of all this is-there's a buck to be made. The cosmetics industry with its creams (skin whitening creams being very popular in Asia), toners, exercise equipment, dietary supplements, etc., make millions of dollars out of "women's carefully cultivated disgust with their own bodies". I think the last bit of the line comes from Greer herself.

All right. I should end soon. Right?

I'm going to look on Twitter first. What are people saying about Germaine Greer?

says, Germaine Greer clearly took too many drugs in the 1960s. His Twitter links to this article. Oh no. Wait. It's a video. It's really freaky--kind of a cross between The Exorcist and The Ring. If I watch this whole video will I die in seven days? I think so. I'm turning it off.

(who thinks he is David Bowie) asks,
Has anybody actually ever read anything that Germaine Greer wrote? Ever?

Does reading bits and pieces on the web count? I'm guessing probably not. I should read her books one day for myself. Maybe I will.

A lot of Twitters point to this recent piece written by Greer. I guess I should read it.

It's a letter to the new Poet Laureate. I have no idea what that is actually.

Okay. Lord Wiki says it's a poet appointed by the government.

Really? Wow. I had no idea.

It seems in the United States, we have a poet for each state. The one in Texas is Larry D. Thomas.

Greer has some biting words.
When the tabloids pursue you, just say no. You don't have to write anything about any of the royals, if you don't want to. Here I am, an old woman scowling in the gay springtime, hoping against hope that you don't want to. They, needless to say, will not care whether you do or not. They spend more time killing birds in large numbers than they do reading poetry.

Pretty good writing there. Most of the other stuff goes over my head. I'm declaring ignorance on this one.

There's so much more to say. There's so much research that should be done.

But I'm going to shut up now.

How about now you guys share your opinion of Greer. Love her? Hate her? Or are you like me; admiring her for some things and despising her for others?


  1. I enjoyed this post. I think I learned a lot about you as well as Greer. I know I like you but I'm not sure about her?

  2. oh FFS!
    She's a stupid bint!

    "She says, Mass (pap smear) screening should be stopped and instead only carried out on the identified risk groups - young women, young women who smoke and those who have been exposed to the Human Papilloma Virus."

    I have had treatment for cervical cancer that was picked up by a pap smear in my 30's. 18 months later I needed a second treatment.

    I was not in the high risk age group but I have been exposed to HPV and had no idea where, when or how as I NEVER had a symptom so how on earth are those women meant to be targeted? The majority of women are exposed to HPV at some stage in their lives, if they don't have symptoms how are they meant to know when they do or don't need smears?

    Since the introduction of the national pap smear screening programme in 1991 the rate of mortality from cervical cancer in austraila has halved. I think that's a pretty successful result.

    It may be uncomfortable but I think that hers is one of the stupidest suggestions I've ever heard.

    I don't think a lot of australians think much of her. If they do they probably think that she's some radical feminist has been from the 70's with too much time and opinion on her hands.

  3. M+B: Thanks for liking me! Yeah, I don't know if I like Greer either. For the most part, I don't think I do. There are things about her that I just find to be too offensive. On the other hand, there's a few things I like. I want to read one of her books. I think that will give me a better idea of her viewpoints.

    Mistress B: What is FFS???

    I'm sorry for your cancer experience. I hope you're okay now. I'm glad they saw it on time.

    It does seem that Greer's advice is irresponsible. I don't know enough about it to have a definite and informed opinion.

    I'm wondering if there'd be another way to test for the virus. Then if someone has a positive test they can get the pap smear. I really don't know the science behind it all though.

    My feeling about medical tests and well-visits is what if I developed cancer today. My next pap smear isn't scheduled until next March. What if I went that long without detection? It's like you luck out if your cancer begins shortly before your scheduled appointment.

    I don't know what the solution to that is...have more frequent tests? Identify high risk groups and test them more often? I do think every woman SHOULD be tested. But I guess the question often. I'd say if someone is not in a risk group, every few years might be okay. But maybe people in high risk groups need to be tested twice a year. I hate saying that because I'm on birth control pills, and I think that puts me in one of the high risk pills.

    Your personal story aside, I think really we have to look at statistics. How many people in low risk groups are tested and then found to have cancer? How many lives like yours are saved? If it's a significant number, then the testing needs to continue...and perhaps made even more frequent. If it's rare for low risk people to be saved by the test...if the number is small, than are the tests worth is? Where do we draw the line? Should we go to the doctor every week to be tested for multiple diseases...just in case we might have some problem we don't know about yet?

  4. Ah, the Germs. Correct me anyone if you want, but I think most Australians of my age when the hear her name, would roll their eyes and wonder what she has done this time. She was a respected anti establishment person, now......well....I don't know. I don't think we are very interested anymore.

    A quickie on Poets Laureate. A previous one, Ted Hughes, was married to the famous American poet Sylvia Plath and she suicided in the early sixties. Just a couple of months ago, one of their sons also suicided. All quite tragic.

    Wow, word verification antemen.

  5. I'm with you-- some good and some bad.
    Did you know my parents met while they were in Footlights together in Chicago? Weren't your parents in it too?

  6. Andrew: Germs...that's a good nickname. Sad about the suicides.

    Florida Girl in Sydney: I didn't know that's how your parents met. Was it an acting thing like the UK one? That's pretty cool. I don't think my parents were in it. Maybe? But not as far as I know.

    I hope things are going well in the new house!

  7. Yes, it was an acting group in Chicago, I guess your parents weren't in it-- not sure.

    I had no idea it wasn't just in Chicago. The new house is awesome-- we have a pool!

  8. Hi Dina
    I'm not a big fan of Greer, but I do respect her opinion as i think she is an intelligent women even if i disagree with her most of the time. I think the main reason i dislike her is i think she just says something to get a reaction/ or is controversial for the sake of being controversial. The good thing about her is she's always questioning the status quo and gets everyday people thinking and discussing topics they wouldn't normally think about or discuss.

  9. Florida Girl in Sydney: I can't picture my parents in it, but I'm going to have to ask them. They do sometimes randomly reveal things about their past that we never knew about.

    Cool about the pool (Hey, that rhymes!)

    Matt: A VERY wise friend of mine said almost exactly the same thing as you just did....about Greer sparking conversation. Great minds sometimes DO think alike.

  10. Hi Dina,
    I've always appreciated Germaine for having an opinion and expressing it. I can't say I've ever been a fan of her's but she was a mover and shaker of her time. BTW, the nude pics of her with Vivian Standish are fabulous!

  11. Margarita Milonguita,


    I like people who express their opinions. My only exception would be people who do it only to get attention, and people who get a thrill out of saying things that would hurt others.

    I'm not sure if Greer falls into that category or not. Maybe?

    I think she says some crazy things, but I also think she says some thought-provoking things.

    Who is Vivian Standish?

  12. As Aussie I agree with Andrew... To a T! When I hear her name in the media I think "OMG what has she done now?!?!"
    I have as much time for Greer as I do for, for, for.... I can't think of anyone or anything to compare her with!
    This is not because of her attitude towards males.... She is a nasty, mean spirited woman.

  13. Mr. Spooky,

    Yeah. I can definitely see the mean-spirited aspect of her.

  14. Not to be contrary, but it seems I'm in the minority of Australians: I do like and admire Germaine Greer. I don't agree with everything she says, but really, there's no rule that states one has to agree all, let alone most of the time, with someone one admires.

    Greer certainly is controversial, and she doesn't pull her punches. Perhaps because she doesn't pull her punches. She is definately a victim of the curse of Australia, the tall poppy syndrome. Add to that that she's an ex-pat, is educated, is a woman, and a feminist who shot to fame at time when feminism was a four letter word... well, all of that makes her an uppity bitch that needs to put in her place.

    The thing with what Greer says is, because it is Greer saying it, it makes it controvosial: "There goes Greer again, spouting off about something." And because the mass media is about selling adspace, and controversy makes for good reading (which sells adspace), the mass media are going to up the controversy at the expense of accurate reporting. Listen to what Greer actually says, as opposed to what is reported that she says, and you'll get a different message. You still may not agree with it, but at least you'll see where she's comming from.

    Also, to quote Greer herself:

    "The difficulty for me is that I believe in permanent revolution. I believe that once you change the power structure and you get an oligarchy that is trying to keep itself in power, you have all the illiberal features of the previous regime. What has to keep on happening is a constant process of criticism, renewal, protest and so forth."The revolutions of the 60s and 70s succeeded, at least in part; it failed in other respects. The world we live in today is a vastly different one to the world prior to those revolutions. The world got comfortable with the new order, but Greer battles on.

    Greer is an iconoclast, and iconoclasm makes people nervous. And scared. And people hate what they fear. Have that fear feed by the power structure, and Greer becomes a right villain, deserving of being either despised or comfortably ignored as irrelevent.

    I'll listen to what Greer has to say. I respect her for her forthrightness, and her refusal to back down. I admire Greer for her iconoclasm. Sometimes I'll agree with, and other times I won't.

    We need more people like her.

  15. Stephen,

    You are being VERY contrary. Did you not read the rules. All commenters must come to a consensus before posting.

    Seriously, I think you have a good point.

    I think she has some crazy viewpoints--meaning viewpoints I disagree with. But I also think she has some brilliant viewpoints--meaning viewpoints I agree with.

    The life lesson I've been learning lately is that some people cannot tolerate differences of opinion.

    I guess that's foreign to me because my family is such a mixture of politics, beliefs, and philosophies.

    I've learned you can think someone has the most outrageous ridiculous belief in the world and still love them.

    Uh, not that I love Greer because I don't really know her. But I do want to get one of her books. That will at least give me a temporary delusion of knowing her. Have you read any of the books? Any you strongly recommend?

  16. Stephen,

    Oh! Thanks for explaining the ffs!

  17. I've not actually read any of Greer's work, except her acticles on Steve Irwin and the Miley Cyrus photo. And I agree with her in both those pieces.

    I'm actually not sure what the issue was with the Irwin piece, though I was never a fan of Irwin, and found him to be quite irksome. This is a good response to those critical of Greer's article. I do wonder if the reason Birmingham's reply can't be viewed online is because it was a vitriolic diatribe that maybe got the newspaper close to being sued for defamation. This article quotes the Birmingham one.

    I'd like to get around to reading The Female Eunuch, basically just to have read it and see why it is considered to have been an important book.

    I'd also like to read The Beautiful Boy.

  18. Stephen,

    The links are to the same article...not sure if you meant to do that or not.

    I liked reading the article. I agree that Birmingham went way too far. I think that type of sexism is common though. I've heard men talk about women they disagree with. Instead of insulting the woman's argument, they'll say something like "She's a fat bitch".

    When people are angry, they tend to lash out and talk about things that have nothing to do with the argument.

    Birmingham is offended by what Greer said so he refers to her as being childless... What does that have to do with anything?

    I was called nasty names recently. My husband made me feel better when we talked about it. He said people name-call when they don't have an intelligent response to your argument. It's like they're trying to distract themselves, you, and the audience from the fact that they truly don't know how to respond to what you've argued.

    As for Irwin and Greer. I do like Irwin. I do agree with Greer and the author of the editorial you linked to. He sometimes acted inappropriately around animals. I cringed sometimes when watching his show...or his daughter's show. But although he may have sometimes caused these animals emotional stress, I think for the most part he did good. And I think his heart was in the right place.

    Compared to harm that comes to animals these days with factory farming, poaching, the illegal pet trade, etc....I think what Irwin did was pretty harmless.

    I still think it was wrong of Greer to attack Irwin just after he died.
    The other editorial seems to talk less about Irwin himself and more about his mourners.

    And I think it's true. We put dead people on pedestals. But it happens the same every time. A celebrity dies, We cry hysterically. It's huge news. Then people complain about all the mourning and whining going on.

    It's not just celebrities though. I've been to funerals where I leave thinking "Wow what an amazing human being that was". But I never thought that before they died. Death is probably one of the best ways to get good publicity.

  19. I didn't realise the links were to articles to what you had already posted. Been a while since I had read the post and followed links. :^)

  20. Stephen,

    I just meant the two links led me to the same editorial.

    Are you saying I had a link to that same editorial in my post.

    Now that's REALLY sad and embarrassing--me not remembering an article I linked to.

    I guess that would PROVE I need a break from research!!

  21. Our Germs recently said on Radio National that Obama is living in TOTAL fear of being assassinated. Because he is a BLACK AMERICAN PUBLIC FIGURE.

    Our Germs KNOWS because she can read his body language and analyse his speeches.

    She does run at the mouth sometimes ...

    But I love her to bits.

  22. The election of Obama restored my childish faith that human civilisation actually progresses.

    Because of the movie "Samson and Delilah", it is also a great time to be Australian. Germaine Greer would have missed the cultural reference to "The Birthday Party" so I pointed it out to he on her fan Wall.

    I doubt if she reads her Wall though.

  23. Brian and Freddy,

    Are you the same person?

    I'm getting confused.

    I've been scared of something happening to Obama...more so when he was first elected. I've relaxed a bit and now that you've mentioned it, I'm nervous again.

    Hadn't heard of the movie until just now.... It sounds interesting. How does it relate to Greer?

    And what birthday party?