I have to preface this by saying I didn’t read Louis Nowra’s piece on the anniversary of Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch (this explains it best: Louis Nowra needs a good vajazzling), nor did I read Charles Waterstreet’s response to it (simply because I never read his column). But I did read Elizabeth Farrelly’s piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald: Feminism’s gains are due to, not despite, its spiky icon:
As Nowra points out, feminism has its disappointments, not least in women’s evident aptitude for consumerism, their clear preference for shoes without high ideals.
No no no. You can’t blame feminism for causing consumerism – if f caused c, then only women would shop. And we all know there are as many men who like shopping as there are women who don’t.
What I wish Nowra’s opening paragraph had said – instead of ridiculing Greer’s 71 larrikin years – is this. Isn’t it wonderful even in the nethers of life she remains as feisty and unafraid as ever? Isn’t it fabulous to have a loud, brainy, articulate, unbashful, f-you old female in the world?
Isn’t it thrilling her intellect is still distinguished by its belligerence as much as its acuity, and her face by its outright refusal to paint, tighten and smooth as the television gods require? Shouldn’t we be proud that although she finds Australia too small to inhabit, we can nevertheless claim her as ours? Isn’t she someone to be both grateful to and grateful for?
Ah, that’s better.
Harm to women is too often now self-harm: witness the resurgence of young female smoking (thinness despite cancer) and of stilettos (elegance despite musculoskeletal ravages). Witness, also, nanotech cosmetics, smoothing as flattery, and as sinister.
No no no. For starters, the makers of cosmetics and sunscreens don’t have to say whether they’ve got nanoparticles in them, despite growing evidence that they are baaaad. Tobacco companies spend enormous amounts of money on psychological research and using this in advertising to get young people to smoke. As for stilettos, you can’t blame young women for what the international fashion industry decides is “on trend”. And women wore heels waaay before feminism. Besides, one of the defining characteristics of being young is feeling invincible. That cancer is something that happens to old people. This ain’t feminism’s fault.
Commenter Lou Robson said on Bad Hostess (the vajazzling link above) that the “best way to mark the anniversary of The Female Eunuch would be to go out and buy brand new copies (to supplement Germaine’s retirement fund) and give them to impressionable young women of your acquaintance”.
I’m going to the bookshop after work.