Ok, confession time. I think it’s fair to say that I consider myself to be a card carrying feminist these days. And I try and educate myself on the subject where I can.
However, at the risk of having that card revoked, I’m going to come out and say, right now, that I have never read any book written by Germaine Greer. In fact, I’m going to go further and say that I actually don’t know very much about her.
What I do know about her has been gleaned other things I’ve read, (like, er, her Wikipedia page) and various newspaper articles. And I’m afraid that nothing has yet persuaded me that I wish to purchase, ‘The Female Eunuch’ and invest the several hours of my time that it would take me to read it.
Now, I do know that Ms Greer was instrumental in fighting for women’s liberation during a time when women really didn’t have any voice at all. And the impact that she made by writing and publishing ‘The Female Eunuch’ should not be underestimated. I’ve no statistical evidence to back this up, but just generally, it seems that she was the face of feminism, at a time when feminism had no face at all.
So, I get it – she was on the front lines fighting the good fight, at a time when there was nobody really backing her up. She, understandably, must feel like this is a very personal fight for her.
But I fear that, in this modern age of feminism, every time I hear Germaine Greer’s voice at the moment, the message she is spreading just seems…off. Like her views against transgender people calling themselves women. Or criticising the #metoo movement as ‘whingeing‘
Now Ms Greer is clearly an intelligent woman. So one has to suppose that she’s not throwing these comments out there without having really thought about what she’s saying. Clearly she feels that somewhere along the line, we’ve strayed off the path that is so clear in her mind. However, as I have said before and I’ll say again – does it really matter if the shape of the feminist fight doesn’t look quite how you want it to? Isn’t it more important that we stand together in solidarity, rather than fight amongst ourselves?
Is the current feminist ‘movement’ (if you want to call it that) perfect? No, probably not. Do some elements of the #metoo campaign (again – need a better word) run the risk of perhaps resulting in an over correction? Maybe.
But let’s try and remember how we got here. This isn’t some campaign cooked up in a board room by the directors of the ‘Feminist Organisation Co. Plc’. This is a completely organic and reactive outpouring of emotion, hurt and pain – which was triggered by the experiences of sexual assault and harassment of women. By men.
Ms Greer – we didn’t plan this. The #metoo movement is not an orchestrated event. It is the emotional equivalent of decades of rage bursting through a dam. It’s going to be messy! And uncoordinated. And at times, incoherent. It is also totally necessary. The underlying problem can’t and won’t be properly addressed until it is fully brought into the light and examined. Only then can we all start to heal. And I’m all for that happening in any way that women feel they need to right now. We haven’t had a voice for generations. Possibly ever. And now that it appears that this might change, it’s going to take a little while for us to work out where we go from here.
So please. Please! Keep your negativity to yourself. If you have had the benefit of decades more experience of thinking about these issues and formulating a clear way forward, then please use that knowledge in a constructive way to help us all, rather than knocking down women who are finally starting to think that maybe feminism is for them after all! Be part of the goddamn solution – rather than yet another person we have to fight and defend ourselves against.
And in the meantime, I will maybe – maybe – get around to reading the Female Eunuch.