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The Female Eunuch, 40 years on

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Professor Germaine Greer

In relation to today’s earlier WVON piece about who isn’t on the list of the world’s 25 most influential women, there is a considered article by Rachel Cusk in the Guardian about the place of Germaine Greer’s book, the Female Eunuch, 40 years after it was published.

The Female Eunuch helped define the female politics of its day and is considered as a seminal feminist tract, and Cusk reflects on whether it has stood the test of time.

For Cusk, the book does retain its power of transformation not least because it asserts the possibility of creativity within female experience.

However, Cusk goes on to comment that the difficulty for feminists has always lain in getting women to surrender the privacy of their discontent, as it may be that in that privacy a woman finds at least one guaranteed source of freedom.

Therefore, when the feminist sets forth her view of women, of what a woman is, she is revealing herself, isolating herself, making herself vulnerable. For that reason she is called brave. But, Cusk comments, ‘like a lineage with no heirs, it brings woman to a place of self-realisation that is also a place of terminus. The feminist is a eunuch too, in her way. Perhaps that neutered state is the only condition in which our sex can find peace.’

Perhaps that is what defines feminism for me – women who are brave, brave enough to stand up and speak against oppression even at a heavy personal cost. A thought-provoking piece about a book I read as a teenager that transformed the way I positioned myself in relation to a man’s world.

Read the full story in The Guardian.

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