THE WHOLE WOMAN by Germaine Greer


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Greer's ba-a-a-ck in top effing form, as she might say. This book takes up where The Female Eunuch left off, trashing the optimists who believe feminism has moved women along and the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately generation who believe there are no battles left to fight. Greer (Daddy, We Hardly Knew You, 1990, etc.) said that she would never write a sequel to The Female Eunuch (1971), but the ""fire flared up in [her] belly"" when she saw feminism stalled and some feminists asserting that women now had it all. Wrong, asserts Greer: ""On every side, we see women troubled, exhausted, mutiliated, lonely, guilty, mocked by the headlined success of the few."" Greer proceeds to outline, issue by issue, where women are stuck in the mire of an unliberated society. Beginning with a section on ""Body,"" she tackles the Barbie school of beauty, cosmetic surgery, transsexuals, abortion, and mutilation (including episiotomies, cesarean sections, and hysterectomies). In segments on ""Mind,"" ""Love,"" and ""Power,"" she takes on work (including the time women spend working on their appearance), estrogen, testosterone, and sorrow (with comments on the outpouring of grief from women on the death of Princess Diana). She discusses motherhood as a ""genuine career option,"" incest, single women (""no sex is better than bad sex"") plus fear and loathing, rearguing a much discussed line from The Female Eunuch: ""Women have very little idea of how much men hate them."" In fact, she predicts, the second wave of feminism is still ""far out to sea,"" and its power will be demonstrated by poor and oppressed women in countries like China, Thailand, and Iran. The text is highlighted throughout with provocative quotes from poets, writers, performers, and publications on the fringe. Little new information here, but Greer, as always, infuses the questions of ""women's liberation"" with clarity, energy, and insight. An inspiring and passionate challenge to feminists and humanists alike.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1999
ISBN: 0385720033
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Knopf