Review: Germaine Greer: “not despondent…worried”

// 28 June 2009

Christabel D reviews Germaine Greer: Four Decades of Fun with Feminism at Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury.

I was afraid that Germaine Greer’s Four Decades of Fun with Feminism gig at Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury might at best be an apology. I feared that at worst it might turn into a renouncement of the Eunuch ‘theories’ for which she has become so renowned. My apprehensions had no grounds, however, as I discovered to my relief and enjoyment as Greer made us laugh, cringe, scoff in mutual disgust and even cry with her reflection on feminism since her most celebrated work was first published in 1970.

In the 90 minutes for which she played, Greer addressed firstly the phrase for which she has been both credited and chastised in equal measure, that “women have no idea just how much men hate them”, explaining how the quote has evolved as a freelance feminist tagline in its own right and been interpreted (and misinterpreted) by feminists and others alike. From there, hammering through issues such as women in the workplace (for which, she cheerfully insists, she should not be “blamed”) and the (ongoing) questions about the role of women as mothers, she was both entertaining and insightful in equal measure.

When discussing female desire Greer, flanked by nods of agreement from most of the audience (and whooping from some!), asserted that women “have not been helped by Sex and the City”, and assured us that she is “not despondent…just worried” about the situation of feminism and womanhood today.

Four Decades of Fun with Feminism exceeded my expectations in almost every way (except that I did expect to be star-struck when given the chance to talk to her directly towards the end, and wasn’t disappointed) and the audience, seemed to share and be endeared by her overall sentiment and bottom-line of not aspiring to be an “equality feminist” (quipping that being male is not something she has ever aspired to) but instead addressing women in their own right to be their own experience, not experiencing life as an ‘other’.

She also thinks that tarragon, as a seasoning in food, is very overrated.

Comments From You

Clare // Posted 29 June 2009 at 1:23 am

Haha awesome!! I really respect her.

Michelle // Posted 29 June 2009 at 3:21 pm

When did bashing of Sex and the City acquire serious feminist cred? I know many poor virginal girls growing up in the evangelical midwestern US who benefitted greatly from the experience of having seen it. It can’t be all things to all people, but to say there was no service whatsoever for the sake of feminism, well, that bothers me.

Ariel Silvera // Posted 29 June 2009 at 5:38 pm

This sounds like there was a Q & A at the end. To this I have to ask, did anyone call Germaine Greer on her offensive, dehumanising comments on trans people?

Laura Woodhouse // Posted 29 June 2009 at 8:08 pm

I’ve found Greer really inspiring in a number of respects both times I’ve heard her speak, but I wish to hell she would rethink her stance on trans people, it’s bloody awful to say the least. Excerpt from The Whole Woman here.

Chrissy D // Posted 29 June 2009 at 9:08 pm

thanks for your comments – no, nobody asked her about her stance on trans people, nor on classism in academic feminism (which I’d hoped to ask myself).

As goes SATC, I see your point though I’m not sure the lesser of two compartmentalisations is the way I like it.

Joanna // Posted 30 June 2009 at 12:09 pm

At last! Someone else who sees Shite and the City for what it truly is – shallow, empty trash perpetrating the myth that all women care about is bloody shoes, dsigner labels and shagging. Awful, awful programme.

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