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4.3 out of 5 stars30
4.3 out of 5 stars
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 1999
I love this book. It is amazing, and, it has to be said, very few people still write anything like this. I don't agree with everything Greer says, but then i don't have to: she is forty years older than me and if her book inspires someone of my generation to write the next 'Female Eunuch' then it will have served its purpose. When I read her first novel, the Female Eunuch, it wasn't so much as a piece of feminist literature as a primary historical source. Yet I feel I owe a debt to Greer and her contemporaries for writing such works and creating the workd in which I grew up.
Many criticisms of The Whole Woman have centred on Greer's discussion of 'Pantomine Dames' and supposed defence of female genital mutilation. Whether or not you agree with her conclusions, I think she raises some extremely valid points surrounding these topics, such as, do we construct the Female negatively (ie. by the omission of a male genitalia rather than the possession of female genitalia?) - and, of course, the post-colonial relationship between Western women and women in developing nations. Whilst I will support any woman, anywhere, in her struggle for recognition and emancipation, Greer points out that it isn't my job to tell her how to do it. The West has been doing that for far too long.
This isn't, to me, a book of answers. It's a book of questions which I haven't heard asked before. My greatest problem with Greer is that I still find her somewhat dismissive of men. After all, men are our lovers and our sons, and I think few women want that to change. But she reminds us that we have a long way to go in reconstructing our society and redefining the gender roles within it to improve life for men and women.
To all those twenty year olds out there: our mothers did a hell of a lot for us. We owe it to them to do a hell of a lot more!!!
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7 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 21 April 1999
I write as a member of the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) Support Group. Professor Greer has not researched or understood the biological and social facts about AIS; and instead of checking the medical literature has quoted, out of context, from newspaper and magazine articles and then added her own interpretation. The socio-cultural premises that she puts forward about AIS women, and which she pretends to derive from biological principles, therefore have no foundation whatsoever. I bought the book, read what she had written about AIS, and took it back and got a refund. I have no inclination to check whether the rest of her book is any better argued.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 1999
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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 June 2000
Excellent! A well written book that as well as being historically informative gives women the tools and understanding to "turn and fight". It gives a cold insight into the world that women live in today, it is harsh and unforgiving but i wouldn't expect anything less from Germaine Greer. This book made me cry, it also made me laugh, most of all it made me strong. I recommend that every woman should read this book and keep it in place of her bible.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 April 1999
The Whole woman represents a welcome break from the endless psycho-babble surrounding women's, and indeed everyone else's, issues; by the smoking pen of one who has obviously been there, done that and bought the venerial disease cream. Call me biased,I first read the 'Female Eunuch' aged twelve and have been a raging lesbian feminist ever since (hold that, strike the lesbian bit), but if this isn't the new feminist text-book I'll eat my dungarees. However, if you are looking for a scienific study you will be disappointed, as I was, to find that Greer's scienific accuracy falls notably short of her socio-political analysis - perhaps the result of too long spent in the library and not long enough in the lab, Germaine ? Still, if you are looking for something to pass the commercial break (between Spice-Girls in concert and TOTP), you might like to have a look at her striking attack on 'grrl'-power, then go and do something constructive, like buying her other books for example. All in all a well argued case, and one more sheep back to the feminist fold.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2014
Every morning, after having read Greer's thought on what it's like to be a woman... I thank God I'm a man. She makes being a woman sound like a disease. There are a great many beautiful and charming and strange women on the Earth, who adore themselves, who are fit and healthy, and affirmative about being a woman. Greer totally ignores them
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7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 3 February 2003
I thoroughly enjoyed this work; the first of Greer's I have read. The introduction to feminism left me refreshed and redefined my ideas of myself, my role in society and the defnitions of what it is to be a woman. Greer is angry, direct and forceful, reaffirming her ideas with often witty, sometimes disturbing and always effective and thought provoking facts, figures and quotations giving the work an added depth and dimension. My only criticism would be that the unrelenting aggresive tone of the text does not make light reading, but given the subject matter perhaps this is fitting. I would recommend this book specifically to any woman looking for an affirmation of self and an excuse to 'man-bash'!
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 18 May 2015
I love Greer's feminism, but it's very dismaying that her rather determinist idea of femininity excludes the trans community, whom she simply and unsubtly denigrates as liars and fakers. Has she ever asked an M to F trans person if they would like a womb and ovaries? Even if they say no, does she really want to say that gender identity is simply a matter of reproductivity? I suspect this chapter, her opposition to the appointment of a trans woman at Cambridge, and her disgraceful remarks on April Ashley in the significantly titled The Female Eunuch will come to seem as great an embarrassment as Wagner's or T S Eliot's antisemitism. She should be ashamed of herself.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 September 2015
Having read and unconditionally loved "The female eunuch", i was deeply curious to see what Ms. Greer had made of the mores of a more modern era. I was sadly disappointed: some good insights are offset by outrageous positions, notably on FGM, where she misses the point by a mile, and transgender women, whom she doesn't consider bonafide females. Although i appreciate her effort of avoiding a Western-centric PoV, i cringed at the author's apparent belief that in Third World societies women aren't oppressed.
She seems to regard femaleness as an intrinsically biological destiny, with little regard (and, sometimes, what sounds like open contempt) for personal stances that transcend traditional gender or simply don't sanctify it. I wondered sometimes if she assumes that one half of the world population should venerate their own uteruses instead of loving themselves as simply being, well, people.
i feel a bit sad for this book, as even in the 21st century micro- and macro- discriminations are still well alive and kicking, sadly, and we still desperately need feminism -- but not this female-as-Mother-Nature-incarnation, post-new-age feminism. Paradoxically, "The Female Eunuch" is much more modern and healthily raging, and if you want to read a Greer's book, i definitely recommend that one.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 17 November 2011
I have read and read this book over so many years.. I have the hard back version. I find it so sad that it displays the worst form of trans-phobia available in literary form. I think anyone reading this chapter would wonder if it had been written by a Daily Mail journalist. In fact i think it borders on hatred.
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