3 out 5 – An Interesting but flawed book.
Well this is a hard book to review. I got it because I saw a program about
Greer and it’s imminent release. Since I have been chatting with a feminist
friend I thought I would see what I guessed was a feminist "leader"
had to say. The book is basically a series of essays on various aspects of
modern society. Some chapters are quite good some are appallingly bad. They are
all very negative and have little suggestion as to what should be done to
remedy the problems outlined. I started off thinking the book good. Then as no
solutions were suggested and Greer repeatedly took two partially true
statements and combined them in her lines of thinking to make ridiculous
assumptions about men I started getting fed up with her and wondered what had
happened to the seemingly intelligent and well thought out person portrayed on
TV. I stuck with the book and again found chapters full of common sense (but
still negative as no doubt a woman’s life can be) and I thought perhaps the
book will come up with some suggestions at the end. In fact it did in the final
chapter a long time after a lot of people might have given up on her. I noticed
a couple of times the books is written to a female audience (although it is
full with interesting but blatantly biased Statistics). It also mentioned that
feminists spend a long time arguing about their philosophies with each other.
It struck me this book would achieve more if it had been better aimed at both
sexes. If it put me, a liberal minded male, off at times there is no way she
will change the males she really wants to get through to and educate. She just
looks like a moaning woman and the book is worth a lot more than that.
To show you how it annoyed me here are some early notes :-
I got this book because I have been chatting to a fellow ME sufferer about
Gender and Feminism etc and I expected Greer to be a good person at putting
things a cross. But if she is no wonder she spends the book bleating about how
poor woman’s lot is compared men’s. I read the chapters on beauty, manmade
woman, womb, breasts and food and thought them all at least reasonable. Then I
got onto Pantomime dames which I knew would be interesting as she is against
Transexuals and my brother has recently worked out he/she is one. The argument
put seemed fairly reasonable from a logical level. I.e. Transexuals probably
would not exist to the same degree if men could get by with being
"feminine". The world is not perfect though and we do have all these
image problems with people so I don’t think that is a reason to reject these
people. She also barely mentions female to male Transexuals. I wonder why!
Abortion was where I started getting annoyed with her. She is just blaming men
because men happen to be the people running the world and giving woman what
they want or are manipulating into wanting. Each topic has an interesting point
of view in it and I was interested that she seems to be support woman’s rights
for self mutilation etc but by the time I got to the "Work" chapter
it was starting to get to the same boring themes. Woman are mugs that don’t
seem capable of organising themselves into decent paid jobs and Men are a lazy
idle good for nothings seems to be her main thrust. She gives all sort of
fascinating stats (I thought woman aren’t interested in stats? I heard a
leading female sports commentator says so only recently.) about how much more
woman do then men and then seems to defeat her arguments about unpaid work by
claiming even when woman aren’t doing the housework they are still working
because they working on their appearance.
A typical example of my problem with Greer is that she takes reasonable
interpretations of things and the builds on them on builds on them until she
comes out with statements like "we might find ourselves having to admit
that men are attracted to the infantile female in the same measure that they
are repelled and revolted by the adult child-bearing female." She seems to
take one negative view and then multiply it by another negative view to come up
with an even more negative view that she has no solutions for.
I have been reading Greer on Marriage today. She was using Marriage stats
the Most female divorces of Men are for unreasonable behaviour or adultery.
I.e. implying that fact men are bad. This is backed up by men not bothering to
defend themselves. It is this kind of false representation that makes the book
so dubious. These to methods are the fastest and it is a waste of money
disputing them as the divorce will still happen.