The Female Eunuch

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Contents

  1. Find a copy in the library
  2. Reading Australia: 'The Female Eunuch' by Germaine Greer
  3. Top Authors
  4. The Female Eunuch. Summary by Germaine Greer

Rather than living in fear and shame, women must take ownership of their bodies and let their own gynecology empower them. This is the first step toward a new definition of femininity that goes beyond the batting of eyelashes. Why do women find men in uniforms, from cops to military men, so alluring?

Women have learned to tacitly or explicitly condone violence. If women stopped thinking of violence as heroic, men would have far less incentive to risk their own lives and those of others in dangerous acts. Just as women are under pressure to play the damsel in distress, swept off their feet by male machismo, men are forced into the role of the brave and aggressive hero. Women should instead only let themselves be impressed by intellectual bravery.

Women must also rethink marriage. Many women live their lives with the goal of finding a man to depend on as fast as possible. Even career-driven women find themselves pressured to quit their jobs once they get married and have kids, leaving them financially reliant on their husbands.


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By rejecting the dependency of marriage and taking ownership of their lives, women have a shot at achieving true independence. Through experimentation and trial and error, women can discover what it is they really want, both from their careers and from partners. The task now is to create and normalize a new, liberated definition of a woman. Women must show the world that they have far more to offer than the castrated slaves that society pressures them to be. Societal pressures encourage women to behave as if they were eunuchs, to look entirely non-threatening and to view the natural processes of their bodies as shameful.

By rejecting ideals of female dependence, women can create and demonstrate a new and empowering definition of femininity. Read this summary first: Feminism made great strides in the twentieth century. Germaine Greer, a major voice of the feminist movement, addressed these issues in her seminal text, The Female Eunuch.

This book summary explain her theories. The Female Eunuch Key Idea 2: Our cultural definition of heterosexual sex limits the sexual potential of women. Greer's thesis is that the "traditional" suburban , consumerist , nuclear family represses women sexually, and that this devitalises them, rendering them eunuchs. The book was published in London in October It received a mixed reception, but by March , it had nearly sold out its second printing. It has been translated into eleven languages. The book is a feminist analysis, written with a mixture of polemic and scholarly research.

It was a key text of the feminist movement in the s, broadly discussed and criticised by other feminists and the wider community, particularly through the author's high profile in the broadcast media. In sections titled "Body", "Soul", "Love" and "Hate" Greer examines historical definitions of women's perception of self and uses a premise of imposed limitations to critique modern consumer societies, female " normality ", and masculine shaping of stereotypes quoting, "The World has lost its soul, and I my sex.

Greer argues that men hate women, though the latter do not realise this and are taught to hate themselves. Greer argues that change had to come about via revolution , not evolution. Women should get to know and come to accept their own bodies, taste their own menstrual blood, and give up celibacy and monogamy. Yet they should not burn their bras. In a foreword added to the 21st anniversary edition, Greer references the loss of women's freedom with the "sudden death of communism" as catapult for women the world over for a sudden transition into consumer Western society wherein there is little to no protection for mothers and the disabled; here, there is no freedom to speak:.

The freedom I pleaded for twenty years ago was freedom to be a person, with dignity, integrity, nobility, passion, pride that constitute personhood. Freedom to run, shout, talk loudly and sit with your knees apart.

Find a copy in the library

Freedom to know and love the earth and all that swims, lies, and crawls upon it In a interview, Greer said of her book that "The title is an indication of the problem. Women have somehow been separated from their libido, from their faculty of desire, from their sexuality. They've become suspicious about it. 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.

The Female Eunuch Key Idea #1: Society has castrated women.

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.

Reading Australia: 'The Female Eunuch' by Germaine Greer

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: men might well feel that as sole custodians of sexual energy and universal protectors of women and children they have undertaken the impossible, especially now that their misdirected energies have produced the ultimate weapon. 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.

Top Authors

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.

The Female Eunuch. Summary by Germaine Greer

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.

To deny that a mistake has been made when its results are chaos visible and tangible on all sides, that is irresponsibility.

Professor Germaine Greer - An Insight - Full Interview

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.