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Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility Hardcover – March, 1984

3.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 541 pages
  • Publisher: Harper & Row; 1st edition (March 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060151404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060151409
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 2.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,609,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Germaine Greer takes no prisoners in this extensively researched, insighfully analytical account of human fertility - and the First World's influence upon fertility in the developing world. Unlike many progressive thinkers hesitant to criticize the family planning movement for fear of landing themselves in bed with the "radical religious right", Greer takes on Planned Parenthood founder, eugenicist Margaret Sanger; her cohort, Marie Stopes; UNFPA; USAID; and more. A caustically-written yet somber look at the harm incurred by both misguided and insidious meddling in foreign affairs.
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Format: Hardcover
This book ought to be required reading in every high school. Unfortunately, it's out of print and has received all of two Amazon reviews--indicating that it must be some kind of radical nonsense from an academic apostate who probably rose to fame as a result of all that hippy stuff back in the sixties. Of course, plenty of people don't like Germain Greer--she must be on the Guiness list of "most unliked" people--but that's because she was ahead of her time. This book makes the case that the first world shouldn't tell the the third world how to have families, for two very good reasons. First, we don't understand the third world and so we can't tell people what to do. Secondly, we don't understand sex, so we have no business telling people how to have sex. It's not a difficult argument to follow, it's just unpleasant and many people are offended by the idea that they don't understand anything about anybody and should shut up. It really annoys bullies when they are revealed to have feet of clay and brains of dung. Germain Greer is still ahead of her time. One day, in the far future, somebody will read her and exclaim "What's so radical about this? It's common sense!" but that day is not today. Today, most of the smarty-pants who still read books will read Sex and Destiny: The Politics of Human Fertility and start to take it apart on logical grounds, disputing Greer's portrayal of blissful Indian families, when we all know that woman burning is a popular hobby in India. They'll also point out how she's suggesting weird and kinky sexual practices instead of straight-up manly sex like God intended. Or Goddess. Go ahead. Edit your rebuttal to taste. It's only humanity.
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Format: Hardcover
Greer misappropriated a quote she'd read, without attribution, by Ernest Becker. Here's that quote:

“Mother nature is a brutal bitch, red in tooth and claw, who destroys what she creates.” ... from Ernest Becker's 1974 Pulitzer Price-winning book "The Denial of Death".

The problem with the quote was that Greer tried to substitute the word "mother" for the phrase "mother nature", as a means of justifying abortion.

I thought it was appalling that she would use the quote in that manner. Mother nature may be a "brutal bitch", but mothers should be nurturers! As should fathers, for that matter!

Our future relies on our willingness to protect our progeny.
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Format: Hardcover
Greer worries at the beginning of this book that she may be overdoing it, and people may be alienated rather than persuaded. That's certainly true for me.

When people found this book to be an odd contrast to The Female Eunuch (which I also didn't like), Greer said that it is consistent, being taken from the bits of the earlier book that no-one liked. The parts where Greer, moved by loving close-knit Italian family life decides that it would be a great idea to buy an Italian farm and have her children raised by her tenants. Except for visits, she would continue her sophisticated life in decadent England. (She has denied this, but read the book.) The parts where she said she changed her style of dressing in order not to make a spectacle of herself in rural Italy, after urging the rest of us women in the Western-industrial cultures (WICs) to join her in making a spectacle of ourselves at home.

The greatest flaw in Greer's consideration of birth control is that she seemingly cannot see the difference between having two children, or twelve, or twenty-two. She argues as if one is for or against children, and cannot want a limited number of them. She is wildly indignant about the death of one woman from an IUD and oblivious to the much more common deaths of women from complications of pregnancy and childbirth. She incidentally defends selective female infanticide and argues that women may be responsible for rape, since men may need for us to appear to be afraid of them.

I can appreciate the need to accept other people's right to their own values, but why is Greer such a hypocrite about it? She is extremely intolerant towards anyone in WICs, even, or especially, if they seem to share the attitudes that she lauds here.
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