Germaine Greer

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Germaine Greer (2013)

Germaine Greer (born January 29, 1939 in Melbourne ) is an Australian intellectual, author , publicist and anarchist , who is considered one of the most important feminists of the 20th century.

She is the author of several widely acclaimed books. Your 1970 published book The Female Eunuch (German title: The Female Eunuch ) became an international bestseller. Her theses became common knowledge in the feminist world of ideas and have been discussed lively and controversially since the 1970s.


Germaine Greer was born near Melbourne on January 29, 1939. She was the eldest of three children from Peggy and Reginald Greer, who worked in the newspaper advertising industry. She finished school in 1956 at Star of the Sea College in Gardenvale, Melbourne, which was run by nuns. She then received a scholarship to the University of Melbourne, where she studied English and French literature. She moved to the University of Sydney , where she graduated with honors as a Master of Arts in 1961 .

In the early 1960s, she began her first professional position as a teacher at a girls' school in Sydney. In 1963 she received a tutoring position at the university there.

In 1964 she moved, provided with a Commonwealth - scholarship at the University of Cambridge in England . In 1967 she received her doctorate there on Shakespeare's early comedies. After completing her doctorate , she received a teaching position in drama at the University of Warwick in Coventry . During this time, she frequently wrote articles for respected weekly newspapers, was a guest on talk shows and was a co-founder of the erotic magazine Suck .

Germaine Greer (1972)

In 1968 she married the construction worker Paul du Feu, who occasionally published articles in the underground press. The marriage ended in divorce in 1973.

Her furious attack on the conception of women as a sexual object, the book The Female Eunuch , appeared in 1970. The promotional tour in the United States caused a sensation, especially the discussion with Norman Mailer in New York , who on the occasion described himself as a chauvinist .

Germaine Greer was a freelance journalist in the 1970s. She made extensive trips to Asia and Africa to study the living conditions there. In 1972 she visited Bangladesh and found out about the living conditions of women who had been raped during the war of civil secession with Pakistan . In 1980 she received a professorship in poetics at the University of Tulsa , Oklahoma . There she set up a study center for feminist literature and ran it until 1982.

In 1984 her book Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility was published , which was also to spark a heated public controversy. Based on her experiences on her travels to the Third World , she criticized the Western attitudes towards the nuclear family : The world was only overpopulated by Western standards. She called for a return to the ideals of family life and modesty instead of limitless consumer rights. She painted a positive image of women as the mother of the extended family and promoted chastity as a possible means of birth control. In doing so, she alienated parts of her readership. Both sections of the women's movement and academic feminism criticized their new stance as revisionist and viewed them as part of the backlash .

In 1989 she was appointed as a Fellow and Special Lecturer at Newnham College, Cambridge University. She resigned from this chair in 1996 in protest against the appointment of Rachael Padman as professor of physics . Greer is said to have outed Padman as a trans woman , who therefore has no right to a position at this college founded in 1871 only for women.

In 2003 she caused another public controversy, this time with her book The Beautiful Boy (German: Der Knabe ), a book illustrated with many photographs about the artistic representation of adolescent boys and the art history of these representations. Critics see this book in close proximity to pedophilia . She defends her book with the argument that the portrayal of boys does not imply sexual assault and that she had in mind the ability and right of women to enjoy visual pleasure.

In 2013, the author sold her archive to the University of Melbourne for A $ 3 million . Greer intends to donate the greater part of the sales proceeds, reduced by storage, transport and cataloging costs, to the protection of the Australian rainforest.

As part of the Me Too debate , Germaine Greer spoke critically from 2017 onwards about prominent women who publicly described their experiences of sexual abuse after they had previously kept it secret for years due to confidentiality agreements. In addition, she classified sexual intercourse, which took place between actresses and economically superior men against the promise of film roles, as consensual and thus not as an abuse of power and assault, which she took a different position than many, especially younger feminists. The resulting controversy over her views intensified when Greer published her essay On Rape in book form in 2018 . On the one hand, she describes her own rape as a 19-year-old student, but at the same time speaks out in favor of not continuing to convey to women that rape is the worst thing that could happen to them. Since, according to Greer, the rules of evidence in criminal proceedings only lead to an appropriate punishment of offenders in very few cases, she believes that both a reduction in the scope of the penalty and a shift from retraumatising criminal proceedings to civil proceedings should take place. Greer's theses have been heavily criticized by feminists; Among other things, she is accused of practicing victim blaming , of playing down the violence of rape and of unnecessarily narrowing the concept of rape.

Books by Germaine Greer

Germaine Greer (2006)


  • Elizabeth Kleinhenz: Germaine: the life of Germaine Greer , Melbourne; London: Scribe, 2018, ISBN 978-1-911617-91-4

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Germaine Greer's Background. " Greer describes herself as an anarchist " . English, accessed April 3, 2011.
  2. Germaine Greer - Biography ( Memento of the original from May 22, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (accessed on March 20, 2015) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Clare Longrigg: A Sister with No Fellow Feeling , in The Guardian on June 25, 1997.
  4. Goldader, female in FAZ of November 4, 2013, page 30.
  5. a b Nick Miller: Germaine Greer challenges #MeToo campaign. January 21, 2018, accessed February 18, 2019 .
  6. Germaine Greer: 'Rose McGowan and others have got billions of pounds of free publicity from #MeToo'. Retrieved February 18, 2019 .
  7. Rose McGowan slams feminist writer Germaine Greer for 'shaming' #MeToo movement - PinkNews · PinkNews. Retrieved February 18, 2019 .
  8. Cathrin Kahlweit: A woman about whom an enormous number of people are extremely upset . In: . September 22, 2018, ISSN  0174-4917 ( [accessed February 18, 2019]).
  9. Mithu Sanyal: Controversial feminist Germaine Greer: Who steps on everyone's feet . In: Spiegel Online . October 11, 2018 ( [accessed February 18, 2019]).
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