Germaine Greer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer, 2006.jpg
At the 2006 Humber Mouth Literature Festival, Hull, England
Born (1939-01-29) 29 January 1939 (age 76)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Pen name Rose Blight (for Private Eye)
Dr. G (for Oz)
Nationality Australian
Alma mater University of Melbourne
University of Sydney
University of Cambridge
Period 1970–present
Genre Feminism
Subject English literature, French literature, romantic poetry
Notable works The Female Eunuch
Recorded August 2007 from Bookclub, BBC Radio 4.

Germaine Greer (/ɡrɪər/; born 29 January 1939) is an Australian academic and writer, regarded as one of the major voices of the second-wave feminist movement in the latter half of the 20th century.[1] She lives in the United Kingdom, where she has held academic positions at the University of Warwick and Newnham College, Cambridge.

Greer's ideas have created controversy ever since her first book, The Female Eunuch (1970), became an international best-seller, bringing her both adulation and opposition. She is the author of several books about women, feminism, literature, art and the environment, including Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility (1984), The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause (1991), The Whole Woman (1999), Shakespeare's Wife (2007) and White Beech: The Rainforest Years (2013).

Greer is a liberation rather than equality feminist.[n 1] Her goal is not equality with men, which she sees as assimilation and settling to live the lives of "unfree men." "Women's liberation," she wrote in The Whole Woman (1999), "did not see the female's potential in terms of the male's actual." She argues that women's liberation means embracing sex differences in a positive fashion – a struggle for the freedom of women to "define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own fate."[n 2]

Early life and education[edit]

Melbourne, Sydney[edit]

Greer was born in Melbourne, the eldest of three children (two girls and a boy), to Eric Reginald Greer and Margaret (Peggy) Mary Lafrank. Her father was a newspaper advertising representative who served in the wartime Royal Australian Air Force.[4] According to Greer, her mother suffered from what was probably Asperger's Syndrome, and as a result they had a difficult relationship; Greer left home because of it when she was 18.[5]

She grew up in the bayside suburb of Sandringham, attending St. Columba's school in Elwood from February 1943, then Sacred Heart school, Sandringham, and Holy Redeemer school, Ripponlea. In 1952 she won a scholarship to a convent school, Star of the Sea College, in Gardenvale, and in 1956 attended the University of Melbourne.[4]

After graduating in 1959 with a BA in English and French language and literature, Greer moved to Sydney, where she became involved with the Sydney Push and the anarchist Sydney Libertarians. Christine Wallace describes Greer at this time:

[Greer] walked into the Royal George Hotel, into the throng talking themselves hoarse in a room stinking of stale beer and thick with cigarette smoke, and set out to follow the Push way of life – "an intolerably difficult discipline which I forced myself to learn." The Push struck her as completely different from the Melbourne intelligentsia she had engaged with in the Drift, "who always talked about art and truth and beauty and argument ad hominem; instead, these people talked about truth and only truth, insisting that most of what we were exposed to during the day was ideology, which was a synonym for lies – or bullshit, as they called it." Her Damascus turned out to be the Royal George, and the Hume Highway was the road linking it. "I was already an anarchist," she says. "I just didn't know why I was an anarchist. They put me in touch with the basic texts and I found out what the internal logic was about how I felt and thought."[6]

Her first teaching post was at the University of Sydney, where she earned a first-class MA in romantic poetry in 1963, for a thesis entitled The Development of Byron's Satiric Mode. The thesis won her a Commonwealth Scholarship.


With her scholarship Greer was able in 1964 to fund her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, where she became a member of Newnham College, a women-only college. Lisa Jardine, who was at Newnham at the same time, recalled the first time she met Greer, at a formal dinner in college:

The principal called us to order for the speeches. As a hush descended, one person continued to speak, too engrossed in her conversation to notice, her strong Australian accent reverberating around the room. At the graduates' table, Germaine was explaining that there could be no liberation for women, no matter how highly educated, as long as we were required to cram our breasts into bras constructed like mini-Vesuviuses, two stitched white cantilevered cones which bore no resemblance to the female anatomy. The willingly suffered discomfort of the Sixties bra, she opined vigorously, was a hideous symbol of male oppression.... [We were] astonished at the very idea that a woman could speak so loudly and out of turn and that words such as 'bra' and 'breasts' – or maybe she said 'tits' – could be uttered amid the pseudo-masculine solemnity of a college dinner.[7][8]

Greer joined the student acting company, the Cambridge Footlights, and was billed in 1965 as the first woman to be granted full membership.[n 3] She received her PhD in 1969 for a thesis entitled The Ethic of Love and Marriage in Shakespeare's Early Comedies.[11]


Greer talking about The Female Eunuch in De Bijenkorf, a department store, probably in Amsterdam, June 1972

In 1968 Greer married Paul du Feu after a brief courtship. They had met outside a pub in Portobello Road during one of her visits to London. Du Feu, who had a degree in English literature, was working as a builder.[12] The marriage lasted only a few weeks – Greer wrote that she spent their wedding night in an armchair, because her husband, drunk, would not allow her in bed.[13] She also said she had been unfaithful to him several times.[14] Du Feu later married and divorced Maya Angelou.[13]

Greer was offered an assistant lectureship at the University of Warwick and moved in or around 1969 to a rented bedsit in Leamington Spa.[12] She began writing columns for Oz magazine, owned by Australian writer Richard Neville, whom she had met at a party in Sydney.[15] The magazine's July 1970 edition, OZ 29, featured "Germaine Greer knits private parts," an article on the hand-knitted Keep it Warm Cock Sock, "a snug corner for a chilly prick."[16] She posed nude for Oz on the understanding that the male editors would do likewise: they did not.[citation needed] As Rose Blight she wrote a gardening column for Private Eye.[17] She was also editor of the Amsterdam underground magazine Suck, which published a full-page photograph of her: "stripped to the buff, looking at the lens through my thighs."[18][19]

Her first book, The Female Eunuch, was published in 1970, launched at a party that October attended by editors from Oz.[20] Arguing that the suburban, consumerist, nuclear family represses and devitalizes women, rendering them eunuchs, the book became an international bestseller and a watershed text in the feminist movement.

External images, audio

Following the success of The Female Eunuch, Greer resigned her post at the University of Warwick in 1972 after travelling the world to promote her book. She co-presented a Granada Television comedy show called Nice Time with Kenny Everett and Jonathan Routh, bought a house in Italy, wrote a column for The Sunday Times, then spent the next few years travelling through Africa and Asia, which included a visit to Bangladesh to investigate the situation of women who had been raped during the conflict with Pakistan.

In 1973 Greer debated William F. Buckley, Jr. at the Cambridge Union on the motion "This House Supports the Women's Liberation Movement." Buckley recalled that Greer had "trounced him": "Nothing I said, and memory reproaches me for having performed miserably, made any impression or any dent in the argument. She carried the house overwhelmingly."[21]

In 1979 Greer was appointed director of the Center of the Study of Women's Literature at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in 1981 founded the Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, an academic journal.[22] In 1989 she became a fellow of Newnham College, Cambridge, a woman's college. She unsuccessfully opposed the election to a fellowship of her transsexual colleague Rachael Padman, arguing that Padman had been born male, and therefore should not be admitted.[23][24][25][n 4]


The Female Eunuch[edit]

The book was published by HarperCollins in London in October 1970. A Paladin paperback soon followed, with cover art by John Holmes.[27] By March 1971 the book had nearly sold out its second printing and had been translated into eight languages. Greer argued in the book that women do not realise how much men hate them, and how much they are taught to hate themselves. When it was first published, Wallace writes, one woman wrapped it in brown paper and kept it hidden under her shoes because her husband would not let her read it.[28]

"The title is an indication of the problem," Greer told The New York Times in 1971. "Women have somehow been separated from their libido, from their faculty of desire, from their sexuality. They've become suspicious about it. Like beasts, for example, who are castrated in farming in order to serve their master's ulterior motives—to be fattened or made docile—women have been cut off from their capacity for action. It's a process that sacrifices vigor for delicacy and succulence, and one that's got to be changed."[29]

Two of the book's themes already pointed the way to Sex and Destiny 14 years later, namely that the nuclear family is a bad environment for women and for the raising of children, and that the manufacture of women's sexuality by Western society was demeaning and confining. Girls are feminised from childhood by being taught rules that subjugate them, she argued. Later, when women embrace the stereotypical version of adult femininity, they develop a sense of shame about their own bodies, and lose their natural and political autonomy. The result is powerlessness, isolation, a diminished sexuality, and a lack of joy:

The ignorance and isolation of most women mean that they are incapable of making conversation: most of their communication with their spouses is a continuation of the power struggle. The result is that when wives come along to dinner parties they pervert civilised conversation about real issues into personal quarrels. The number of hostesses who wish they did not have to invite wives is legion.[30]

Greer argued that women should get to know and come to accept their own bodies, taste their own menstrual blood, and give up celibacy and monogamy. But they should not burn their bras. "Bras are a ludicrous invention," she said, "but if you make bralessness a rule, you're just subjecting yourself to yet another repression."[29]

Lysistrata translation, The Obstacle Race[edit]

In 1972 Greer worked on a translation of Aristophanes's Lysistrata under commission from the Royal National Theatre.[31] The theatre's artistic director, Kenneth Tynan, could not resist combining the then-soaring fame of the author of The Female Eunuch with the ancient tale of Greek women withholding sex as a political tool.[32] The project was not completed. In 1999, with the remains of the script re-worked by Phil Willmott and produced by him, Greer's 1972 work found belated appreciation.[33]

Greer's second book, The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work (1979), covers its subject until the end of the nineteenth century, and speculates on the existence of women artists whose careers were not recorded.

Sex and Destiny[edit]

Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility (1984) continued Greer's critique of Western attitudes toward sexuality, fertility, and family, and the imposition of those attitudes on the rest of the world. Greer's targets again include the nuclear family, government intervention in sexual behaviour, and the commercialisation of sexuality and women's bodies. Greer argued that the Western promotion of birth control in the Third World was in large part driven not by concern for human welfare but by the traditional fear and envy of the rich towards the fertility of the poor. She argued that the birth control movement had been tainted by such attitudes from its beginning, citing Marie Stopes and others. She cautioned against condemning life styles and family values in the developing world.

Daddy, We Hardly Knew You[edit]

Greer's Shakespeare and The Madwoman's Underclothes: Essays and Occasional Writings, a collection of articles written between 1968 and 1985, appeared in 1986. In 1989 came Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, a diary and travelogue about her father, whom she described as distant, weak and unaffectionate, which led to claims – which she described as inevitable  – that in her writing she was projecting her relationship with him onto all other men.

The Change[edit]

Natalie Angier, writing in The New York Times, called The Change: Women, Ageing, and the Menopause (1991) a "brilliant, gutsy, exhilarating, exasperating fury of a book."[34] In it, Greer wrote of the myths about menopause, advising against the use of hormone replacement therapy. "Frightening females is fun," she wrote in The Age. "Women were frightened into using hormone replacement therapy by dire predictions of crumbling bones, heart disease, loss of libido, depression, despair, disease and death if they let nature take its course." She argues that scaring women is "big business and hugely profitable." It is fear, she wrote, that "makes women comply with schemes and policies that work against their interest."

Slip-Shod Sibyls[edit]

Slip-Shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet followed in 1995. This is a selective account of women who wrote poetry in English before 1900; and an examination of why so few female poets have been admitted to the literary canon. Her conclusion is that women were held to different and lower standards than men (hence the "slip-shod" sibyls of the title, quoting Alexander Pope), and the poetic tradition discouraged good poetry from women.[35] The book includes a critique of the concept of the woman as Muse, associated with Robert Graves and others,[36] a chapter on the reputation of Sappho and her use as a symbol of female poetry, a chapter on the 17th-century poet Katherine Philips, two chapters on Aphra Behn and one on Anne Wharton, both also of the 17th century; the 17th- and 18th-century poet Anne Finch; and the 19th-century poets Letitia Landon and Christina Rossetti. It also includes an epilogue on 20th-century female poets, and their propensity for suicide. Greer writes: "Too many of the most conspicuous figures in women's poetry of the 20th century not only destroyed themselves in a variety of ways but are valued for poetry that documents that process."[37]

The Whole Woman[edit]

Display in the window of a Waterstone's book store for the launch of The Whole Woman

The Whole Woman, a sequel to The Female Eunuch, was released in 1999. Greer argued that there had been little progress in the feminist movement:[38]

Even if it had been real, equality would have been a poor substitute for liberation; fake equality is leading women into double jeopardy. The rhetoric of equality is being used in the name of political correctness to mask the hammering that women are taking. 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.

Chapter titles reveal the themes: "Food," "Breast," "Pantomime Dames" (about transsexual women), "Shopping," "Estrogen," "Testosterone," "Wives," "Loathing," "Girlpower," and "Mutilation."

Her comments about female genital mutilation (FGM) proved especially controversial; a United Kingdom House of Commons Committee described her viewpoint as "simplistic and offensive."[39][40] Greer opposed the practice and said that feminists fighting to eliminate FGM in their own countries "must be supported,"[41] but she explored the complexities of the issue, and the double standards of the West, and warned against using the issue to "reinforce our notions of cultural superiority."[38] She wrote that the term female genital mutilation was itself simplistic, arguing that it was used to describe practices that, she said, varied from "nicking the prepuce of the clitoris to provoke ritual bleeding," to the extreme mutilation of infibulation. She questioned the view that FGM is imposed by men on women, rather than by women on women, or even freely chosen, adducing some anecdotal evidence to the contrary,[42] and discussed the issue in relation to genital and other bodily mutilations carried out in the West on men and women. She wrote that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends surgery on baby girls with clitorises regarded as too long, and that five such procedures were carried out every day in the United States, without being included in FGM statistics.[43] In particular, she compared FGM to male circumcision:

Any suggestion that male genital mutilation should be outlawed would be understood to be a frontal attack on the cultural identity of Jews and Muslims. The same issues are raised by female genital mutilation. As a practical note for activists: As UN workers in East Uganda found, women would not abandon female circumcision until some similarly significant procedure could take its place.[44]

Other controversial points in the book include Greer's opposition to accepting male-to-female transsexuals as women: "Governments that consist of very few women have hurried to recognise as women men who believe that they are women and have had themselves castrated to prove it, because they see women not as another sex but as a non-sex. No so-called sex-change has ever begged for a uterus-and-ovaries transplant; if uterus-and-ovaries transplants were made mandatory for wannabe women they would disappear overnight. The insistence that man-made women be accepted as women is the institutional expression of the mistaken conviction that women are defective males."[45]

The Beautiful Boy[edit]

The Beautiful Boy, 2003

The Beautiful Boy (2003), a book of art history, was illustrated with 200 photographs of what The Observer called "succulent teenage male beauty."[46] Greer described the book as an attempt to address modern women's apparent indifference to the teenage boy as a sexual object and to "advance women's reclamation of their capacity for, and right to, visual pleasure."[47] The cover photograph, by David Bailey, was of 15-year-old Björn Andrésen in his character of Tadzio in the film Death in Venice (1971). The actor complained about Greer's use of the photograph.[48][49]

Whitefella Jump Up[edit]

In Whitefella Jump Up: The Shortest Way to Nationhood (2003), Greer argues that Australians should re-imagine Australia as an Aboriginal nation; she discusses some of the consequences of this, and why she regards it as feasible and desirable.[50] "Jump up" in Aboriginal Kriol can, she writes, mean "to be resurrected or reborn"; and the title refers to occasions when Aborigines apparently accepted whites as reincarnated relatives. Greer suggests that whites were mistaken in understanding this literally, and that the Aborigines were in fact offering the whites concerned terms on which they could be accepted into the Aboriginal kinship system. The essay argues that it may not be too late for Australia as a nation to root itself in Aboriginal history and culture in an analogous way.

In 2007 Greer contributed an essay to the book Stella Vine: Paintings[51] which accompanied the major solo exhibition of British painter Stella Vine at Modern Art Oxford museum in England. In May 2007, Greer and Vine took part in a public talk, Gender & Culture[52] as part of the Women's International Arts Festival.[53] On 18 September 2007, Greer gave a talk about Vine's art with gallery director Andrew Nairne.[54] Also in 2007, Greer published a biography of Anne Hathaway entitled Shakespeare's Wife, one of the few books to deal with this subject.

In 2008 she wrote the essay On Rage about the widespread rage of indigenous men, published in the series Little Books on Big Themes by Melbourne University Publishing, launched by Bob Carr on 15 August 2008.[55] The essay was attacked as "racist" by Aboriginal academic Marcia Langton. The gist of Langton's argument was that Greer was making excuses for the bad behaviour of Aboriginal men.[56]

White Beech[edit]

In 2013 Greer published White Beech: The Rainforest Years about her work rehabilitating Australian rainforest at a former 60ha former dairy farm near the Springbrook National Park in southern Queensland, where she discovered an uncommon White Beech (Gmelina leichhardtii) tree, and that Agent Orange (2,4,5-T), contaminated with the dioxin 2,3,7,8-TCDD, had been sprayed for years.[57]

Aboriginal Australians[edit]

Greer has published three pamphlets on Aboriginal issues. According to her own account, she understood little about Aboriginal issues during her early years in Australia, but in England she saw from the perspective of distance that "what was operating in Australia was apartheid: the separation and alienation South Africa tried desperately and savagely to impose on their black majority, we had achieved, apparently effortlessly, with our black minority." On returning to Australia in late 1971 she made a concerted effort "to see as much as I could of what had been hidden from me" travelling for that purpose through the Northern Territory with activist Bobbi Sykes.[58] She wrote in 2003:

Though I can claim no drop of Aboriginal blood, twenty years ago Kulin women from Fitzroy adopted me. There are whitefellas who insist that blackfellas don't practise adoption; all I can say is that when I asked about the possibility of assuming Aboriginality, the Kulin women said at once 'We'll adopt you.' 'How do you do that?' I asked, hoping I wouldn't be required to camp in some bleak spot for a month or two, and be painted or smoked and cut about. 'That's it,' they said. 'It's done. We've adopted you.' Since then I have sat on the ground with black women and been assigned a skin and been taught how to hunt and how to cook shellfish and witchetty grubs, with no worse punishment for getting it wrong than being laughed at.[59]

It has been reported that in early 2000 Greer claimed that she never set foot in Australia before receiving the permission of the "traditional owners of the land" at Sydney Airport. New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council spokesman Paul Molloy was reported as claiming that she had never asked permission, despite visiting Sydney several times in recent years, and in any case there was no single group of elders that could give such permission to enter Australia.[60]

Other writing, broadcasting[edit]

Greer in 2006

Greer appeared on the BBC's show Have I Got News for You in 1990 and several times in the following years. She wrote an episode, "Make Love not War," for the 1998 television documentary series Cold War. She also sat that year for a nude photograph by the Australian photographer Polly Borland.[61] The photo was part of an exhibition at Britain's National Portrait Gallery in 2000 and appeared in a book, Polly Borland: Australians.[62]

In September 2006 Greer's column in The Guardian about the death of Australian Steve Irwin concluded that "[t]he animal world has finally taken its revenge on Irwin." She said she hoped that "exploitative nature documentaries" would now end.[63][64] The comments were criticised as insensitive.[65] The following month she presented a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the life of American composer and rock guitarist Frank Zappa. She confirmed that she had been a friend of his since the early 1970s and that his orchestral work "G-Spot Tornado" would be played at her funeral.[66]


Greer refused to sign a petition in support of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (1988), stating that it was "about his own troubles," and that he was "a megalomaniac, an Englishman with a dark skin."[67]

In 2000 a female student was charged with assault and unlawful imprisonment of Greer in her own home; the student pleaded guilty to harassment, and the other charges were withdrawn.[68] Greer was one of nine contestants in the 2005 series of Celebrity Big Brother. She became the first celebrity to walk out of the show, leaving the set after five days, objecting to the psychological cruelty and bullying of the show's producers, the dirt of the house, and the publicity-seeking behaviour of her fellow contestants. Since then she has appeared on spin-off shows Big Brother's Little Brother and Big Brother's Big Mouth.[69]

Greer appeared alongside Daniel O'Donnell, the Irish singer, on an RTÉ chat show in 2006. While O'Donnell spoke about love, cooking and his mother's pancakes, Greer mocked him by making faces to camera behind his back. O'Donnell confronted her and bitter words were exchanged.[70]

In 2006 Greer appeared twice in an episode of Extras playing herself. The play The Female of the Species (2006) by Joanna Murray-Smith is loosely based on events in Greer's life, including the assault and false imprisonment in 2000, and uses Greer as the inspiration for "a comic attack on strident feminism"; the main character's name in the play is Margot Mason.[71][72] Greer regarded the play as an attack and described it as "threadbare."[73][74]

In the 2008 Beeban Kidron film Hippie Hippie Shake, based on Richard Neville's memoir, Greer is depicted by Emma Booth. Greer has expressed her displeasure at being featured in the film.[75] The same year, Greer appeared alongside team captain Chris Addison on the Sky Arts television series What the Dickens, hosted by comedienne Sandi Toksvig. In January 2011 Greer appeared on BBC mockumentary Come Fly With Me as herself.

On 14 March 2012 a group known as the Queer Avengers glitter bombed Greer at a book signing in Wellington, New Zealand, to protest her views on transsexualism, which the group consider transphobic.[76]

Political views[edit]

Greer said in 2012 that she was a member of the British Liberal Democrats.[77] Elsewhere, from the 1970s until the 2000s, she has described herself as an anarchist or Marxist.[78] She said in 2008 that "I ought to confess I suppose that I'm a Marxist. I think that reality comes first and ideology comes second," and elaborated on whether feminism was the only successful revolution of the 20th century:

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.[79]

Speaking on 3CR (an Australian community radio station) in 2008, she described herself as "an old anarchist" and reaffirmed that opposition to "hierarchy and capitalism" were at the centre of her politics.[80]


The University of Melbourne announced in 2013 that it will become the global repository for the lifetime archive of Greer's work. The archive includes letters from family, friends, writers, artists, academics, broadcasters, editors, scholars, critics, politicians and neighbours, and will fill over 150 filing cabinet drawers. The transfer of the archive from Greer's home in England began in July 2014; the university said it would raise A$3 million to fund the process. Greer said that her fee would be donated to her charity, The Friends of Gondwana Rainforest.[81]

Selected works[edit]

  • (1970). The Female Eunuch, London: MacGibbon & Kee.
  • (1979). The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work, London: Martin Secker and Warburg.
  • (1984). Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility, London: Harpercollins.
  • (1986). Shakespeare, Oxford: Oxford University Press (Past Masters series).
  • (1986). The Madwoman's Underclothes: Essays and Occasional Writings, London: Picador.
  • (1989). Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, New York: Fawcett Columbine.
  • (1989). with Susan Hastings, Jeslyn Medoff, Melinda Sansone (eds.), Kissing the Rod: An Anthology of Seventeenth Century Women's Verse, London: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
  • (1991). The Change: Women, Ageing and the Menopause.
  • (ed.), The Uncollected Verse of Aphra Behn.
  • (1995). Slip-Shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet.
  • with Ruth Little (eds.), The Collected Works of Katherine Philips, the Matchless Orinda, Volume III, The Translations.
  • (1999). The Whole Woman, London: Doubleday.
  • with Susan Hastings (ed.), The Surviving Works of Anne Wharton.
  • (2000). John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester. London: Northcote House Publishers.
  • (2003). Poems for Gardeners, London: Virago.
  • (2003). The Beautiful Boy, New York: Rizzoli.
  • (ed.), 101 Poems by 101 Women.
  • (2004). Whitefella Jump Up: The Shortest Way to Nationhood, London: Profile Books (first published 2003 in Quarterly Essay).
  • (2007). Shakespeare's Wife, London: Bloomsbury.
  • (2013). White Beech: The Rainforest Years, London: Bloomsbury.


  1. ^ Germaine Greer, "All About Women" (2015): "I've always been a liberation feminist. I'm not an equality feminist. I think that's a profoundly conservative aim, and it wouldn't change anything. It would just mean that women were implicated."[2]
  2. ^ Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman (1999): "In 1970 the movement was called 'Women's Liberation' or, contemptuously, 'Women's Lib'. When the name 'Libbers' was dropped for 'Feminists' we were all relieved. What none of us noticed was that the ideal of liberation was fading out with the word. We were settling for equality. Liberation struggles are not about assimilation but about asserting difference, endowing that difference with dignity and prestige, and insisting on it as a condition of self-definition and self-determination. The aim of women's liberation is to do as much for female people as has been done for colonized nations. Women's liberation did not see the female's potential in terms of the male's actual; the visionary feminists of the late sixties and early seventies knew that women could never find freedom by agreeing to live the lives of unfree men. Seekers after equality clamoured to be admitted to smoke-filled male haunts. Liberationists sought the world over for clues as to what women's lives could be like if they were free to define their own values, order their own priorities and decide their own fate. The Female Eunuch was one feminist text that did not argue for equality."[3]
  3. ^ There had been women before Greer who had been allowed to join in, including Eleanor Bron, but it was 1964 before women were admitted as full members.
    Christine Wallace, 1999: "Greer was billed as the first woman to achieve full membership of the previously all-male institution as a cast member of its 1965 revue, My Girl Herbert ... A former Newnham student had paved the way: the actress Eleanor Bron, who appeared in Footlights in the late 1950s.[9]

    Richard Boston (Guardian), 2013: "Thanks to Tim Brooke-Taylor women were admitted for the first time to membership of the club in 1964. The first four elected to the club included Germaine Greer."[10]

  4. ^ An article by Clare Longrigg, "A Sister with No Fellow Feeling," alleging that Greer had outed Padman to the media, was published on 25 June 1997 by The Guardian. The newspaper withdrew the allegation, apologized to Greer and made a donation at her request to the Newnham College Development Fund.[26]


  1. ^ Ann Standish, "Greer, Germaine (1939–)", The Encyclopedia of Women & Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Australian Women's Archives Project, 2014.

    "Germaine Greer", Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015.

  2. ^ "How to be a feminist", Greer and others discussing feminism, All About Women, Sydney Opera House, 8 March 2015, 1:06:04 mins.
  3. ^ Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman, Transworld Publishers Ltd, 1999, p. 2.
  4. ^ a b Christine Wallace, Germaine Greer: Untamed Shrew, Faber & Faber, 1999, pp. 3–4, 11.
  5. ^ "Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2012 – Germaine Greer Interview", Sydney Opera House, from 01:00 mins.
  6. ^ Wallace 1999, p. 74.
  7. ^ Lisa Jardine, "Growing up with Greer", The Guardian, 7 March 1999.
  8. ^ Stephanie Merritt, Danger Mouth, The Guardian, 5 October 2003.
  9. ^ Wallace 1999, pp. 123–124.
  10. ^ Richard Boston,"From the archive, 3 June 1983: Cambridge Footlights celebrate 100 years of comedy", The Guardian, 3 June 2013.
  11. ^ Germaine Greer, The Ethic of Love and Marriage in Shakespeare's Early Comedies, PhD thesis, University of Cambridge, EThOS, British Library.
  12. ^ a b Wallace 1999, p. 126.
  13. ^ a b Germaine Greer (29 May 2004). "Country notebook: drunken ex-husband". The Daily Telegraph. 
  14. ^ "Germaine Greer", Enough Rope with Andrew Denton, ABC Television, 15 September 2003.
  15. ^ Wallace 1999, p. 112.
  16. ^ OZ 29, July 1970.
  17. ^ Wallace 1999, p. 266.
  18. ^ Germaine Greer (31 May 2007). "Well done, Beth Ditto. Now let it all hang out". The Guardian. 
  19. ^ Dana Cook (15 December 2004). "Encounters with Germaine Greer". 
  20. ^ Wallace 1999, p. 176.
  21. ^ William F. Buckley, On the Firing Line: The Public Life of Our Public Figures, New York: Random House, 1989; "Encounters with Germaine Greer"
  22. ^ "Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature",
  23. ^ Rachael Padman interviewed by David Batty (14 August 2004). "A gender for success". The Guardian. 
  24. ^ Clare Garner (25 June 1997). "Fellows divided over don who breached last bastion". The Independent. 
  25. ^ Veronique Mistiaen (24 August 1997). "Can Cambridge's All-women College Survive The Change?". Chicago Tribune. 
  26. ^ Clare Longrigg with additional reporting by Laura Peek (25 June 1997). "When Germaine wants a job". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 23 January 2014. 
  27. ^ Marlowe Russell, "John Holmes obituary", The Guardian, 18 October 2011.
  28. ^ Wallace 1999, p. 299.
  29. ^ a b Judith Weintraub, "Germaine Greer – Opinions That May Shock the Faithful", The New York Times, 22 March 1971.
  30. ^ Stephen Pollard, Ten Days that Changed the Nation: The Making of Modern Britain], Simon and Schuster, 2009, p. 204.
  31. ^ Germaine Greer, Lysistrata: The Sex Strike: After Aristophanes, Samuel French Limited, 2011.
  32. ^ Katrina Dean, "Why Germaine Greer's life in letters is one for the archives", The Conversation, 1 November 2013.
  33. ^ Michael Billington,"What a carry on", The Guardian, 9 July 1999.
  34. ^ Natalie Angier, "The Transit of Woman", The New York Times, 11 October 1992.
  35. ^ Germaine Greer, Slip-Shod Sibyls: Recognition, Rejection and the Woman Poet Penguin, 1996, p. xxiii.
  36. ^ Slip-Shod Sibyls, pp. 3–35.
  37. ^ Slip-Shod Sibyls, p. 390.
  38. ^ a b Germaine Greer, The Whole Woman, Transworld Publishers Ltd, 1999, p. 3.
  39. ^ Michiko Kakutani, "The Female Condition, Re-explored 30 Years Later", The New York Times, 18 May 1999.
  40. ^ "MPs attack Greer on female circumcision". BBC News. 25 November 1999. 
  41. ^ Greer (1999), p. 95.
  42. ^ Greer (1999), pp. 96–97.
  43. ^ Greer (1999), pp. 94–105.
  44. ^ Greer (1999), p. 97.
  45. ^ Greer (1999), p. 64.
  46. ^ Stephanie Merritt, "Danger mouth", The Observer, 5 October 2003.
  47. ^ Germaine Greer, The Beautiful Boy, New York: Rizzoli, 2003. Quoted in Paul R. Deslandes, "Exposing, Adorning, and Dressing in the Modern Era," in Sarah Toulalan, Kate Fisher (eds.), The Routledge History of Sex and the Body, 1500 to the Present, Routledge, 2013, p. 186.
  48. ^ Matt Seaton, "'I feel used'", The Guardian, 16 October 2003.
  49. ^ "I'm not Germaine's toy, says cover boy", Australian Associated Press, 18 October 2003.
  50. ^ Quarterly Essay, 2003, issue 11, Black Inc, an imprint of Shwartz Publishing Pty Ltd.
  51. ^ Stella Vine: Paintings. Retrieved 29 January 2009.[dead link]
  52. ^ Stella Vine at Modern Art Oxford. Retrieved 29 January 2009.[dead link]
  53. ^ "Visual Arts: Women's Arts International Festival: Kendal, Cumbria, England" 6 May 2007. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
  54. ^ Henry Deedes, "Artist Stella misses brush with her adoring public", The Independent, 18 September 2007. Retrieved 29 January 2009.
  55. ^ Lauren Wilson (15 August 2008). "Bob Carr pierced by Germaine Greer's 'ferocious logic'". The Australian. Retrieved 15 August 2008. 
  56. ^ Langton, Marcia (15 August 2008). "Greer maintains rage of racists". The Australian. Retrieved 19 August 2008. 
  57. ^ Germaine Greer, "The greening of Greer", The Australian, 19 October 2013 (edited extract from White Beech).
  58. ^ Greer, Whitefella Jump Up, p. 22.
  59. ^ Greer, Whitefella Jump Up, p. 23.
  60. ^ Luke McIlveen (8 September 2006). "Germaine, try this on for size". The Daily Telegraph. 
  61. ^ Germaine Greer by Polly Borland NPG x88457 , October 1999
  62. ^ Polly Borland: Australians, National Portrait Gallery, London
  63. ^ Germaine Greer (5 September 2006). "That sort of self-delusion is what it takes to be a real Aussie larrikin". The Guardian. 
  64. ^ "Greer draws anger over Irwin comments". The Age. 6 September 2006. 
  65. ^ Grant Holloway, John Vause (7 September 2006). "Storm breaks over attack on Irwin". CNN. 
  66. ^ "Freak Out! The Frank Zappa Story". BBC Radio 4. 7 October 2006. 
  67. ^ James Bloodworth (24 September 2012). "Today everyone wants to defend Salman Rushdie. It was not always like that". The Independent. 
  68. ^ Jamie Wilson, "Student, 19, charged with assault and taking Germaine Greer captive", The Guardian, 27 April 2000.
  69. ^ "Germaine Greer: Filth!", The Sunday Times, 16 January 2005.
  70. ^ "Daniel flips over Greer's pancake sneers". Irish Independent. 
  71. ^ "Black Swan: The Female of the Species". Black Swan Theatre Company. 2007. Archived from the original on 1 February 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2008. 
  72. ^ Martin Ball (1 September 2006). "The Female of the Species". The Age. 
  73. ^ "Greer mad at 'insane' writer's play". The Australian. 14 July 2008. 
  74. ^ Charles Spencer (17 July 2008). "Review: The Female of the Species". The Telegraph. 
  75. ^ "Hippie Hippie Shake is back, and the flesh-eating bacteria turn to me", The Guardian, 16 July 2007. Retrieved 27 September 2007.
  76. ^ "Germaine Greer 'glitter bombed' by Queer Avengers". The New Zealand Herald. 14 March 2012. 
  77. ^ Question Time, BBC, 19 January 2012.
  78. ^ "Greer on Revolution; Germaine on Love", Overland, Nos. 50/51, Autumn 1972.
  79. ^ Germaine Greer, "Writing Politics", Q&A, ABC Television, 14 August 2008. The first quote is from 26 mins, 10 secs; the second 29 mins, 30 secs.
  80. ^ Radio Mama, 3CR Melbourne, 28 August 2008, 10:05 am EST.
  81. ^ "University to house Germaine Greer archive". The Campaign for the University of Melbourne. University of Melbourne. 28 October 2013. 

Further reading[edit]