Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Greer Window

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Greer Window

Article excerpt

"And she was the one who sold the--what's it called--the Rabbit!" As I sneak into the back of the room, a hundred sixth-form girls are watching Germaine Greer with rapt, silent attention. A few mothers look less pleased that she's talking to them about sex toys. But it's Germaine Greer--what did they expect?

Greer is at a private school in chichi South Kensington to talk to the girls there about "inspirational" women--a concept she loathes--and the future direction of feminism. The girls love her. She fires off opinions with the nonchalant rat-tat-tat of a machine-gunner picking off targets. The sinking of the Belgrano--a war crime. The Nobel Prize--covertly anti-communist. Aung San Suu Kyi--a "beautiful statuette".

The effect is mildly intoxicating; there's little time to be amused, or enraged, before the next provocation hits you.

Greer has made a career out of calculated outrages. My favourite description of her importance to feminism came from Laura Miller on Salon: "it was thrilling just to know that somebody had travelled that far out into the territory of acceptable female behaviour and planted her flag there. It created more room for the rest of us."

Where she has always been most interesting is on the field of sexual politics. Greer, raised by nuns--who told her that she could only kiss boys "as if your mother was in the room"--took the opposite path, posing for Suck magazine totally naked, with her ankles around her ears. …

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