Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer is widely known as a 'Feminist Icon.' She gained overnight fame with her book 'The Female Eunuch and is identified as a leading member of the Women's Liberation movement. She now says that Feminism hasn't gone far enough and accuses women of 'settling' for less than equality.

Germaine Greer was born in 1939 Melbourne Victoria. She graduated with a BA honors from Melbourne University in 1958, an MA with 1st class honors from Sydney in 1963 and the following year she went to Cambridge University in England on a Commonwealth Scholarship. She received a PhD from Cambridge in 1968.

In the late 1960's Greer travelled to England for further academic studies. She became an active contributor as 'Dr G' to London Oz magazine, published by fellow Australian Richard Neville.

The publication of her classic 1970 book The Female Eunuch, made her a household name associated with womens liberation and radical feminism. Although the book never articulates anarchism per se, it is a ground breaking liberatory text which draws upon anarchist ideas.

"A eunuch is any person who has been castrated." She said. "The female eunuch is the woman who has been castrated in order to function as the feminine stereotype. That is, the glamorous, supermenial who is expected to be all things to all men, and nothing to herself."

The book helped mobilize the women's movement and it turned its author into one of the most important voices in feminism. In 1972 she told an interviewer, "I'm an anarchist still, but I'd say now I am an anarchist communist."

In her book 'The Whole Woman', Greer says feminism hasn't gone far enough.
Now, after 30 years, she has written a sequel, The Whole Woman. In it, she says feminism has not gone far enough.

"...there is a part of feminist thinking that wants to abolish gender roles altogether and be gender blind. But that's the same as being colour blind.

"If you pretend that there's no difference between being black and white, what you actually do is you obliterate blackness so it has no longer any cultural identity, no longer any um, any cultural value or quiddity and that's been rejected by black people; they won't allow that to happen. They say I'm black and I'm proud; and I want women to say I'm a woman and I'm proud."

Quotes from The Whole Woman:

" we liberate women by freeing them from the tyranny of the womb or is the attack on the undifferentiated gloop of the womb an attack on women?"
"Once again, we are faced with the essentialist feminist paradox: do we liberate women by freeing them from the tyranny of the womb or is the attack on 'the undifferentiated gloop of the womb' an attack on women?

"More and more it seems that women themselves are coming to regard their wombs as a burden they have been lumbered with on behalf of the race.

"More worrying than the gynaecologists who despise the womb, and tell women that once they have completed their family size... they womb might as well come out, are the women high and low until they find a practitioner who will agree to spay them.

"...if women themselves treat femaleness as a disease we are lost indeed."
"If men flee the female, we will survive, but if women themselves treat femaleness as a disease we are lost indeed."

"The real powers in the case [of legalisation of abortion in America] were the masculine medical establishment and the masculine judiciary.

"The law regarding abortion was being massively broken; there were fortunes to be made in pregnancy termination at a time when advances in technology were making a risky procedure foolproof.

"What women 'won' was the 'right' to undergo invasive procedures in order to terminate unwanted pregnancies, unwanted not just by them but by their parents, their sexual partners, the governments who would not support mothers, the employers who would not employ mothers, landlords who would not accept tenants with children, the schools that would not accept students with children.

"Historically, the only thing pro-abortion agitation achieved was to make an illiberal establishment look far more feminist than it was.

"The goal was 'every child a wanted child'; it should have been 'every abortion a wanted abortion', but the two sides of the phony debate were never met.

A choice is only possible if there
 are genuine alternatives.

"Any feminist who saw abortion as an assault on women and agitated for a concomitant right to bear children without being condemned to poverty, misery and failure was suspected of being a crypto-right-to-lifer.

"[T]he media have locked feminists into a position which they define as 'pro-abortion'. Feminism is pro-woman rather than pro-abortion; we have always argued for freedom of reproductive choice. A choice is only possible if there are genuine alternatives.

"Though women need reliable ways of regulating their fertility, we must not simply assume that what mothers in poverty want to be freed from is motherhood itself... that the children of poor women should not have been born."

More quotes about abortion from Germaine Greer can be read here