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Flashes of brilliance and loony paranoia
on 17 May 1999
Poor old Germaine! Just when you're thumping the page and crying a quasi orgasmic "yes! yes!" she lets you down in the next chapter with a diatribe on some imagined male conspiracy against women. Hers is a brain that takes logical arguments to such an extreme that, eventually, she loses the plot entirely. It's a shame, because when she gets it right there is no-one to compare with her. I was disappointed that she has done such an about turn on the subject of female circumcision, and amazed that her usually well-toned encephalon didn't grasp the glaring truth. It's so blind to justify the act on the grounds that women themselves perform the operation. Of course they do! They have no choice. They are impoverished and uneducated and if they don't mutilate their fannies they won't find a man to rescue them from the gutter. Now THAT is the kind of invidious sexual injustice that I would expect Germaine Greer to challenge. Instead, she concentrates her energies on implying some Orwellian subjugation lies behind health screening for women in this country. Women, she says, are being falsely alarmed about their bodies and this fear is disempowering. I would have thought women can only be empowered by improved healthcare. Isn't it more alarming that testicular cancer is one of the greatest modern killers, but we hardly dare mention it because, well, it's embarrassing! The chapter on fathers is great, and Greer at her best. She shows a softer side here, and one we always suspected was lurking under her pissed-off exterior. In spite of the mass of contradictions, I'd still recommend this book. It is intelligent (rather than academic) in an appealingly chaotic way and, even if your disagree with most of what is written, at least it fires you up.