The Female Eunuch. This book is dedicated to LILLIAN, who lives with nobody but a colony of New York roaches, whose energy has never failed despite her. Editorial Reviews. Review. “This book changed my life. Germaine Greer is brave and crazy, The Female Eunuch - Kindle edition by Germaine Greer. The Female Eunuch is a book by Germaine Greer that became an international bestseller . Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.

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    Paperback. Pub Date Pages: Language: English Publisher: HarperCollins UK A new cover re-issue of the ground-breaking. Woman (), the sequel to The Female Eunuch (), and the very book she had The Whole Woman she writes about a multitude of feminist issues rang-. The female eunuch by Germaine Greer, , Bantam edition, in English.

    This book is a part of the second feminist wave. The old suffragettes, who served their prison term and lived on through the years of gradual admission of women into professions which they declined to follow, into parliamentary freedoms which they declined to exercise, into academies which they used more and more as shops where they could take out degrees while waiting to get married, have seen their spirit revive in younger women with a new and vital cast. Mrs Hazel Hunkins-Hallinan, leader of the Six Point Group, welcomed the younger militants and even welcomed their sexual frankness. After the ecstasy of direct action, the militant ladies of two generations ago settled down to work of consolidation in hosts of small organizations, while the main force of their energy filtered away in post-war retrenchments and the revival of frills, corsets and femininity after the permissive twenties, through the sexual sell of the fifties, ever dwindling, ever more respectable. Evangelism withered into eccentricity. The new emphasis is different. Then genteel middle-class ladies clamoured for reform, now ungenteel middle-class women are calling for revolution. For many of them, the call for revolution came before the call for the liberation of women. The New Left has been the forcing house for most movements, and for many of them liberation is dependent upon the coming of the classless society and the withering away of the state. The difference is radical, for the faith that the suffragettes had in the existing political systems and their deep desire to participate in them have perished. In the old days ladies were anxious to point out that they did not seek to disrupt society or to unseat God. Marriage, the family, private property and the state were threatened by their actions, but they were anxious to allay the fears of conservatives, and in doing so the suffragettes betrayed their own cause and prepared the way for the failure of emancipation. Five years ago it seemed clear that emancipation had failed: the number of women in Parliament had settled at a low level; the number of professional women had stabilized as a tiny minority; the pattern of female employment had emerged as underpaid, menial and supportive. The cage door had been opened but the canary had refused to fly out.

    The conformation of the female has already been described in terms of a particular type of conditioning, and now the specific character of that conditioning begins to emerge. What happens is that the female is considered as a sexual object for the use and appreciation of other sexual beings, men.

    Her sexuality is both denied and misrepresented by being identified as passivity. The vagina is obliterated from the imagery of femininity in the same way that the signs of independence and vigour in the rest of her body are suppressed. The characteristics that are praised and rewarded are those of the castrate — timidity, plumpness, languor, delicacy and preciosity.

    The Female Eunuch

    Body ends with a look at the way in which female reproduction is thought to influence the whole organism in the operations of the Wicked Womb, source of hysteria, menstrual depression, weakness, and unfitness for any sustained enterprise. The compound of induced characteristics of soul and body is the myth of the Eternal Feminine, nowadays called the Stereotype.

    This is the dominant image of femininity which rules our culture and to which all women aspire. Assuming that the goddess of consumer culture is an artifact, we embark on an examination of how she comes to be made, the manufacture of the Soul. The chief element in this process is like the castration that we saw practised upon the body, the suppression and deflection of Energy. Following the same simple pattern, we begin at the beginning with Baby, showing how of the greater the less is made.

    The Girl struggles to reconcile her schooling along masculine lines with her feminine conditioning until Puberty resolves the ambiguity and anchors her safely in the feminine posture, if it works. Because so many assumptions about the sex of mind cloud the issue of female mental ability, there follows a brief account of the failure of fifty years of thorough and diversified testing to discover any pattern of differentiation in male and female intellectual powers, called The Raw Material.

    As a corrective to such a theoretical view of how valuable such female minds might be, Work provides a factual account of the patterns that the female contribution actually takes and how it is valued.

    The castration of women has been carried out in terms of a masculine-feminine polarity, in which men have commandeered all the energy and streamlined it into an aggressive conquistatorial power, reducing all heterosexual contact to a sadomasochistic pattern. This has meant the distortion of our concepts of Love. Beginning with a celebration of an Ideal, Love proceeds to describe some of the chief perversions, Altruism, Egotism, and Obsession.

    These distortions masquerade under various mythic guises, of which two follow — Romance, an account of the fantasies on which the appetent and the disappointed woman is nourished, and The Object of Male Fantasy, which deals with the favourite ways in which women are presented in specifically male literature.

    The Middle-Class Myth of Love and Marriage records the rise of the most commonly accepted mutual fantasy of heterosexual love in our society, as a prelude to a discussion of the normal form of life as we understand it, the Family.

    The nuclear family of our time is severely criticized, and some vague alternatives are suggested, but the chief function of this part, as of the whole book, is mostly to suggest the possibility and the desirability of an alternative. The chief bogy of those who fear freedom is insecurity, and so Love ends with an animadversion on the illusoriness of Security, the ruling deity of the welfare state, never more insubstantial than it is in the age of total warfare, global pollution and population explosion.

    Because love has been so perverted, it has in many cases come to involve a measure of hatred. In extreme cases it takes the form of Loathing and Disgust occasioned by sadism, fastidiousness and guilt, and inspires hideous crimes on the bodies of women, but more often it is limited to Abuse and ridicule, expressed by casual insult and facetiousness.

    Rather than dwell upon the injustices suffered by women in their individual domestic circumstances, these parts deal with more or less public occasions in which the complicated patterns of mutual exploitation do not supply any ambiguous context.

    There are many subjective accounts of suffering to be found in feminist literature, so Misery deals with the problem on a broader scale, showing how much objective evidence there is that women are not happy even when they do follow the blueprint set out by sentimental and marriage guidance counsellors and the system that they represent.

    Although there is no pattern of female assault on men to parallel their violence to women, there is plenty of evidence of the operation of Resentment in bitter, non-physical sexual conflict, usually enacted as a kind of game, a ritualized situation in which the real issues never emerge. This unconscious vindictiveness has its parallels in more organized and articulate female Rebellion, in that it seeks to characterize men as the enemy and either to compete with or confront or attack them.

    Insofar as such movements demand of men, or force men to grant their liberty, they perpetuate the estrangement of the sexes and their own dependency. Revolution ought to entail the correction of some of the false perspectives which our assumptions about womanhood, sex, love and society have combined to create.

    Tentatively it gestures towards the re-deployment of energy, no longer to be used in repression, but in desire, movement and creation. Sex must be rescued from the traffic between powerful and powerless, masterful and mastered, sexual and neutral, to become a form of communication between potent, gentle, tender people, which cannot be accomplished by denial of heterosexual contact.

    The Ultra-feminine must refuse any longer to countenance the self-deception of the Omnipotent Administrator, not so much by assailing him as freeing herself from the desire to fulfil his expectations. It might be expected that men would resist female liberation because it threatens the foundations of phallic narcissism, but there are indications that men themselves are seeking a more satisfying role.

    If women liberate themselves, they will perforce liberate their oppressors: In admitting women to male-dominated areas of life, men have already shown a willingness to share responsibility, even if the invitation has not been taken up.

    Now that it might be construed that women are to help carry the can full of the mess that men have made, it need not be surprising that women have not leapt at the chance. If women could think that civilization would come to maturity only when they were involved in it wholly, they might feel more optimism in the possibilities of change and new development.

    The spiritual crisis we are at present traversing might be just another growing pain. It hints that women ought not to enter into socially sanctioned relationships, like marriage, and that once unhappily in they ought not to scruple to run away.

    It might even be thought to suggest that women should be deliberately promiscuous. It certainly maintains that they should be self-sufficient and consciously refrain from establishing exclusive dependencies and other kinds of neurotic symbioses.

    Much of what it points to is sheer irresponsibility, but when the stake is life and freedom,. I have another duty, just as sacred My duty to myself I must think things out for myself and try to understand them.

    The relationships recognized by our society, and dignified with full privileges, are only those which are binding, symbiotic, economically determined. The most generous, tender, spontaneous relationship deliquesces into the approved mould when it avails itself of the approved buttresses, legality, security, permanence.

    Marriage cannot be a job as it has become. Status ought not to be measured for women in terms of attracting and snaring a man. The woman who realizes that she is bound by a million Lilliputian threads in an attitude of impotence and hatred masquerading as tranquillity and love has no option but to run away, if she is not to be corrupted and extinguished utterly. Liberty is terrifying but it is also exhilarating. Life is not easier or more pleasant for the Noras who have set off on their journey to awareness, but it is more interesting, nobler even.

    Such counsel will be called encouragement of irresponsibility, but the woman who accepts a way of life which she has not knowingly chosen, acting out a series of contingencies falsely presented as destiny, is truly irresponsible.

    The woman who realizes that she is bound by a million Lilliputian threads in an attitude of impotence and hatred masquerading as tranquillity and love has no option but to run away, if she is not to be corrupted and extinguished utterly. Liberty is terrifying but it is also exhilarating. Life is not easier or more pleasant for the Noras who have set off on their journey to awareness, but it is more interesting, nobler even.

    The female eunuch ( edition) | Open Library

    Such counsel will be called encouragement of irresponsibility, but the woman who accepts a way of life which she has not knowingly chosen, acting out a series of contingencies falsely presented as destiny, is truly irresponsible. To deny that a mistake has been made when its results are chaos visible and tangible on all sides, that is irresponsibility.

    What oppression lays upon us is not responsibility but guilt. The revolutionary woman must know her enemies, the doctors, psychiatrists, health visitors, priests, marriage counsellors, policemen, magistrates and genteel reformers, all the authoritarians and dogmatists who flock about her with warnings and advice.

    She must know her friends, her sisters, and seek in their lineaments her own. With them she can discover co-operation, sympathy and love. The end cannot justify the means: if she finds that her revolutionary way leads only to further discipline and continuing incomprehension, with their corollaries of bitterness and diminution, no matter how glittering the objective which would justify it, she must understand that it is a wrong way and an illusory end.

    The struggle which is not joyous is the wrong struggle. The joy of the struggle is not hedonism and hilarity, but the sense of purpose, achievement and dignity which is the reflowering of etiolated energy.

    Only these can sustain her and keep the flow of energy coming. The problems are only equalled by the possibilities: every mistake made is redeemed when it is understood. The only ways in which she can feel such joy are radical ones: the more derided and maligned the action that she undertakes, the more radical.

    The way is unknown, just as the sex of the uncastrated female is unknown. However far we can see it is not far enough to discern the contours of what is ultimately desirable. And so no ultimate strategy can be designed. To be free to start out, and to find companions for the journey is as far as we need to see from where we stand. The first exercise of the free woman is to devise her own mode of revolt, a mode which will reflect her own independence and originality.

    The more clearly the forms of oppression emerge in her understanding, the more clearly she can see the shape of future action.

    In the search for political awareness there is no substitute for confrontation. It would be too easy to present women with yet another form of self-abnegation, more opportunities for appetence and forlorn hope, but women have had enough bullying.

    The female eunuch

    They have been led by the nose and every other way until they have to acknowledge that, like every one else, they are lost. A feminist elite might seek to lead uncomprehending women in another arbitrary direction, training them as a task force in a battle that might, that ought never to eventuate.

    If there is a pitched battle women will lose, because the best man never wins; the consequences of militancy do not disappear when the need for militancy is over. Freedom is fragile and must be protected. To sacrifice it, even as a temporary measure, is to betray it. It is not a question of telling women what to do next, or even what to want to do next.

    The hope in which this book was written is that women will discover that they have a will; once that happens they will be able to tell us how and what they want.

    The fear of freedom is strong in us. We call it chaos or anarchy, and the words are threatening. We live in a true chaos of contradicting authorities, an age of conformism without community, of proximity without communication.

    We could only fear chaos if we imagined that it was unknown to us, but in fact we know it very well.

    It is unlikely that the techniques of liberation spontaneously adopted by women will be in such fierce conflict as exists between warring self-interests and conflicting dogmas, for they will not seek to eliminate all systems but their own.

    However diverse they may be, they need not be utterly irreconcilable, because they will not be conquistatorial. Hopefully, this book is subversive. Hopefully, it will draw fire from all the articulate sections of the community. The conventional moralist will find much that is reprehensible in the denial of the Holy Family, in the denigration of sacred motherhood, and the inference that women are not by nature monogamous.

    The political conservatives ought to object that by advocating the destruction of the patterns of consumption carried out by the chief spenders, the housewives, the book invites depression and hardship.

    This is tantamount to admitting that the oppression of women is necessary to the maintenance of the economy, and simply ratifies the point. If the present economic structure can change only by collapsing, then it had better collapse as soon as possible.

    The nation that acknowledges that all labourers are worthy of their hire and then withholds payment from 19,, workers cannot continue. Freudians will object that by setting aside the conventional account of the female psyche, and relying upon a concept of woman which cannot be found to exist, the book is mere metaphysics, forgetting the metaphysical basis of their own doctrine.

    The reformers will lament that the image of womanhood is cheapened by the advocacy of delinquency, so that women are being drawn further and further away from the real centres of power. In the computer kingdom the centres of political power have become centres of impotence, but even so, nothing in the book precludes the use of the political machine, although reliance on it may be contra-indicated. The most telling criticisms will come from my sisters of the left, the Maoists, the Trots, the I.

    But if women are the true proletariat, the truly oppressed majority, the revolution can only be drawn nearer by their withdrawal of support for the capitalist system. The weapon that I suggest is that most honoured of the proletariat, withdrawal of labour.

    Nevertheless it is clear that I do not find the factory the real heart of civilization or the re-entry of women into industry as the necessary condition of liberation. Unless the concepts of work and play and reward for work change absolutely, women must continue to provide cheap labour, and even more, free labour exacted of right by an employer possessed of a contract for life, made out in his favour.

    This book represents only another contribution to a continuing dialogue between the wondering woman and the world. Do you think women have taken full advantage of the second feminist wave?

    Are they taking full advantage of the third wave? Should they be? Are you? How does this relate to the current transgender movement? What do you know about current trends in waxing and hair removal and are these consistent with feminism? How and how not? Does this match your observations of college women?

    Do you agree?