Women’s History Month Spotlight: Germaine Greer by Tonia Bouyakzan

Germaine Greer is best known as one of the major voices of radical feminism in the years between the 1950s and 2000s. She challenged traditional concepts like marriage, obligation to motherhood and suggested women take up predominantly male career paths. Often, Greer preached through her writings to ‘get a life’ and think beyond the social conditioning.

Greer was born on Jan. 29, 1939, in Melbourne, Australia where she grew up in a Catholic upbringing. Upon attending many Catholic schools, she eventually abandoned her faith as she found the arguments for the existence of God unconvincing. Greer moved out at 18, leaving her mother and siblings behind—in her independence, she found her passion through feminism and writing.

Greer is best known for her publication of “The Female Eunuch” in 1970, which later became an international bestseller and leading force in the second wave of feminism.

During the 1970s, women had limited rights—they could not get a mortgage or a car unless their husband or father countersigned the documents. Women were often pressured into motherhood rather than to pursue education or a career.

Through her work, she states that women without a sense of themselves as sexual beings are prevented from having a powerful and active view of themselves.

“Women are reputed never to be disgusted. The sad fact is that they often are, but not with men; following the lead of men, they are most often disgusted with themselves,” said Greer.

Greer urges for women to accept their bodies and desires instead of shaming and remaining passive. Girls often learn to be submissive and inferior to men at an early age, which Greer claims to be the fault of the nuclear family— or “perfect” family for better terms.

With more than 40 years after the publication of “The Female Enuch”, it is doubtless Greer’s bold ideas have influenced the political and personal feminist thinking.

This article was written by our brilliant intern, Tonia Bouyakzan.

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