Germaine Greer

Germaine
Greer
1939

Australian-born English Writer, Academic and Journalist, Author of The Female Eunuch

Author Quotes

Marriage made more sense when it was indissoluble. It's the woman trying to cope with the strains of a one-parent family who will suffer most from the relaxation of the divorce laws.

One may not reach the dawn save by the path of the night.

Super-groupies don't have to hang around hotel corridors. When you are one, as I have been, you get invited backstage.

The misery of the middle-aged woman is a gray and hopeless thing, born of having nothing to live for, of disappointment and resentment at having been gypped by consumer society, and surviving merely to be the butt of its unthinking scorn.

There have been women in the past far more daring than we would need to be now, who ventured all and gained a little, but survived after all

Women have very little idea of how much men hate them.

Maybe I couldn’t make it. Maybe I don’t have a pretty smile, good teeth, nice tits, long legs, a cheeky arse, a sexy voice. Maybe I don’t know how to handle men and increase my market value, so that the rewards due to the feminine will accrue to me. Then again, maybe I’m sick of the masquerade. I’m sick of pretending eternal youth. I’m sick of belying my own intelligence, my own will, my own sex. I’m sick of peering at the world through false eyelashes, so everything I see is mixed with a shadow of bought hairs; I’m sick of weighting my head with a dead mane, unable to move my neck freely, terrified of rain, of wind, of dancing too vigorously in case I sweat into my lacquered curls. I’m sick of the Powder Room. I’m sick of pretending that some fatuous male’s self-important pronouncements are the objects of my undivided attention, I’m sick of going to films and plays when someone else wants to, and sick of having no opinions of my own about either. I’m sick of being a transvestite. I refuse to be a female impersonator. I am a woman, not a castrate.

One of my greatest struggles over the last 30 years has been to persuade women that they should be victims no longer -- in particular, when it comes to rape. Insofar as rape is the assault via the penis, it's one of the least destructive assaults. And it bugs me that women are still so impressed by the penis that they think it can destroy their personality and their life. Also, I wish that women were not so easily frightened by poor medical research, by sensationalist health journalism, whether about the risks to the fetus or the penalties for not using replacement estrogen, or about breast implants or about not having big-enough tits.

Sylvia Plath's greatest poetry was sometimes conceived while she was baking bread, she was such a perfectionist and ultimately such a fool. The trouble is, of course, that the role of the goddess, the role of the glory and the grandeur of the female in the universe exists in the fantasy of the male artist and no woman can ever draw it to her heart for comfort, but the role of menial, unfortunately, is real and that she knows because she tastes it every day. So the barbaric yoke of utter adoration for the power and the glory and the grandeur of the female in the universe is uttered at the expense of the particular living woman every time. And because we can be neither one nor the other with any piece of mind, because we are unfortunately improper goddesses and unwilling menials, there is a battle waged between us. And after all, in the description of this battle, maybe I find the justification of my idea that the achievement of the male artistic ego is at my expense for I find that the battle is dearer to him than the peace would ever be. The eternal battle with women, he boasts, sharpens our resistance, develops our strength, enlarges the scope of our cultural achievements. So is the scope after all worth it? Again, the same question, just as if we were talking of the income of a thousand families for a whole year. You see, I strongly suspect that when this revolution takes place, art will no longer be distinguished by its rarity, or its expense, or its inaccessibility, or the extraordinary way which in it is marketed, it will be the prerogative of all of us and we will do it as those artists did whom Freud understood not at all, the artists who made the Cathedral of Chartres or the mosaics of Byzantine, the artist who had no ego and no name.

The most cursory examination of even the most progressive organs of information reveals a curious inability to recognize women as newsmakers, unless they are young or married to a head of state or naked or pregnant by some triumph of technology or perpetrators or victims of some hideous crime or any combination of the above. Women's issues are often disguised as people issues, unless they are relegated to the women's pages which amazingly still survive. Senior figures are all male; even the few women who are deemed worthy of obituaries are shown in images from their youth, as if the last forty years of their lives have been without achievement of any kind. If you analyze the by-lines in your morning paper, you will see that the senior editorial staff are all older men, supported by a rabble of junior females, the infinitely replaceable 'hackettes'.

There is no such thing as security. There never has been.

Women over fifty already form one of the largest groups in the population structure of the western world. As long as they like themselves, they will not be an oppressed minority. In order to like themselves they must reject trivialization by others of who and what they are. A grown woman should not have to masquerade as a girl in order to remain in the land of the living.

Men have still not realized that letting women do so much of the work for so little reward makes a man in the house an expensive luxury rather than a necessity.

Only one thing is certain: if pot is legalized, it won't be for our benefit but for the authorities. To have it legalized will also be to lose control of it.

The blind conviction that we have to do something about other people's reproductive behavior, and that we may have to do it whether they like it or not, derives from the assumption that the world belongs to us, who have so expertly depleted its resources, rather than to them, who have not.

The most powerful entities on earth are not governments but the multi-national corporations that see women as their territory, indoctrinating them with their versions of beauty, health and hygiene, medicating them and cultivating their dependency in order to medicate them some more.

They still say fuck you as a venomous insult; they still find cunt the most degrading epithet outside the dictionary.

Women's liberation, if it abolishes the patriarchal family, will abolish a necessary substructure of the authoritarian state, and once that withers away Marx will have come true willy-nilly, so let's get on with it.

Military mythology has to pretend that real men are in the majority; cowards can never be allowed to feel that they might be the normal ones and the heroes are insane.

Our whole lives are lived in a tangle of telling, not telling, misleading, allowing to know, concealing, eavesdropping and collusion. When Washington said he could not tell a lie, his father must have answered, 'You had better learn.

The climacteric marks the end of apologizing. The chrysalis of conditioning has once for all to break and the female woman finally to emerge.

The most threatened group in human societies as in animal societies is the unmated male: the unmated male is more likely to wind up in prison or in an asylum or dead than his mated counterpart. He is less likely to be promoted at work and he is considered a poor credit risk.

We can put women on Prozac and they will think they are happy, even though they are not. Disturbed animals in the zoo are given Prozac too, which rather suggests that misery is a response to unbearable circumstances rather than constitutional.

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?

Monopoly capitalism and state capitalism don't look very different. I mean, General Motors employs more people than the population of many European states. Totalitarianism has many forms and monopoly capitalism seems to be one of them, especially when you look at the kind of ideological conformity demanded of the American employee.

Author Picture
First Name
Germaine
Last Name
Greer
Birth Date
1939
Bio

Australian-born English Writer, Academic and Journalist, Author of The Female Eunuch