Academia,  feminism,  Women's Rights

No True Feminist

Well, things aren’t like when I were a girl young woman/feminist.

CUSU Women’s Officer Amelia Horgan posted the following statement re an event at Cambridge Union, where Germaine Greer was invited to speak:

“The CUSU Women’s Campaign would like to express concern over the invitation of Germaine Greer …to speak at the Cambridge Union. Greer’s transphobia has been demonstrated not only in her writing, but also in her actions. In 1996 she publicly opposed the appointment of a trans woman academic to a position within Newnham college, outing her in the process. As such, Greer’s invitation to speak within our University community is all the more worrying – is institutional memory really so terrifyingly limited when it comes to bigotry?

Greer does not represent feminism [fetch me the smelling salts], and she does not represent us.”

No she doesn’t represent you as she couldn’t represent puffed-up sanctimonious prigs – which is something she never was however wrong-headed she can be.

I’ve just been reading Caitlin Moran’s engaging How to be a Woman, which is funny and shrewd in the style of Julie Burchill.  Moran says in her chapter I am a Feminist:- “I’ve never actually encountered Greer. I’ve never read anything she’s written, or seen her speak. I presume she is a stern, shouting thing, always pointing out the ‘right’ thing to do: like a nun, but angry.

Then I see her on TV…

Greer says, ‘I am a feminist’ in a perfectly, calm logical and entitled way. It sounds like the solution to a puzzle that’s been going on for years…”

Moran then goes to read The Female Eunuch:-

“..what is most notable, for someone raised on rock music, is that Greer writes about being a woman the way men sing about being men. When Bowie describes Ziggy in ‘Ziggy Startdust’ – ‘He was the nazz/with Godgiven ass/He took it all too far/but boy cold he play guitar’ – it might as well have been Greer talking about herself. She is the nazz, with God-given ass. She writes paragraphs like piano solos, and her rendering of feminism is simple: everyone should just be a bit more like her. Scornful of any useless inherited bullshit. New, fast, free. Laughing, and fucking, and unafraid to call anyone out – from a boyfriend, to the government – if they were stupid, or wrong. And LOUDLY LIKE ROCK MUSIC.”

She had that effect on many and as someone said, that even if you knew you couldn’t live as a wild spirit ready to take on anyone and anything, she gave a housewife courage to try for the part-time job and the part-time degree (that was back in the 1970s, when I read her, about 15 years before Moran did).

Moran says that she herself became Greer-ish enough – i.e. someone with strong, confident opinions, to take issue with Greer’s thoughts on transgender – a controversy I neither know nor care about.

Can I imagine Greer forming some group “expressing concern” about someone or other invited to speak at the Cambridge Union? Or making a Mrs Grundyish show about boycotting drinks parties held on the premises (read it in the link )?   From way outside academia, I read about the student activists there as a bunch of Victorian matrons, telling the footman that they are not at home to such a person and refusing to countenance women of easy virtue. Much like those conservatives who recoiled from the young Germaine Greer for her opinions on women and sex and her habit of swearing.

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