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Germaine Greer Essay

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In the early 1970s, a woman’s role in society was still set by male expectations. While women were expected to work and be educated, it was considered more important that they marry and become housewives. Women were also paid less than men for the same work, and denied many opportunities because they were women. In 1970, Australian-born author Germaine Greer wrote The Female Eunuch, a book that challenged a woman’s traditional role in society, and provided an important framework for the feminist movement of the 1970s. The Female Eunuch called on women to reject their traditional roles in the home, and explore ways to break out of the mould that society had imposed on them. It also encouraged women to question the power of traditional authority figures – such as doctors, psychiatrists, priests and the police – who at the time were not used to being questioned, and to explore their own sexuality: Women have somehow been […] cut off from their capacity for action. It’s a process that sacrifices vigour for delicacy and succulence, and one that’s got to be changed. – Germaine Greer, New York Times, 22 March 1971

There had been other books published on Women’s Liberation – most famously Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex and Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique – but Greer’s book was written with a naughty sense of humour and a directness that the others lacked. This witty honesty made the book accessible to a very wide readership, and was perhaps the reason for the book’s enormous success. Greer hoped that her book would inspire women to see themselves as powerful when it came to their own roles and sexuality. In many ways she was successful. The Female Eunuchcertainly did push the Women’s Liberation Movement forward, and it became one of the world’s most influential books on the subject.

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* ‘’The house wife is an unpaid employee in her husband’s house in return for the security of being a permanent employee’’. * ‘’Yet if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far
she could walk or how fast she could run?’’ * ‘’ If a person loves only one other person, and is indifferent to his fellow men, his love is not love but a symbiotic attachment, or an enlarged egotism.’’ * ‘’ All societies on the verge of death are masculine. A society can survive with only one man; no society will survive a shortage of women.’’


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