- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (May 11, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375407472
- ISBN-13: 978-0375407475
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,654,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Whole Woman Hardcover – May 11, 1999
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For women born in the immediate postwar period, there were the years BG and AG--"before Greer" and "after Greer." It's all too easy to underestimate its influence, but the fact is that in 1970 every self-respecting woman on the Left owned a copy of The Female Eunuch. Thirty years later, Germaine Greer is ready to get angry again. In The Whole Woman, she analyzes, among other issues, the invasive ways in which the health industry persuades women to have their bodies and reproductive systems "managed." Greer lays out the facts about the high failure rate and devastating side effects of in vitro fertilization and the incongruence between the "success" of breast implants in achieving the "perfect" mammary to please men and the continuing failures in detecting and treating increasingly prevalent breast cancer.
Greer's polemic has the confident virtuosity of wit and maturity. Celebrating women's successes, The Whole Woman is a more positive book than The Female Eunuch. Her unique combination of outrageous humor and assertiveness continues to lead the way forward for women who want to take control of their lives. --Lisa Jardine, Amazon.co.uk
From Publishers Weekly
The blithe spirit of The Female EunuchAa tart, irreverent feminist screed that crackled across the Western world in 1971Ahas given way to the surprisingly curmudgeonly temperament of Greer's latest effort, with its dim view of humanity and our capacity to change. After 30 years and many books, the Australian-born polemicist who lives and teaches in England has attempted to recreate and update the formula that brought her international acclaim. Like its predecessor, this new work is a loosely connected series of short, idiosyncratic, Menckenesque essays larded with statistics, slangy erudition and disembodied quotations set off in half-tones. This time around, the author gambols over such disparate subjects as female circumcision in Africa (Greer urges tolerance for cultural practices so different from our own) and transgendered people (she blazes with antagonism against sexual reassignments). In one of her pet peeves, she excoriates housewives who waste hours in shopping malls in search of the latest prepackaged foodstuffs while remaining immune to the joys of baking a cake from scratch. At her best, Greer argues passionately for the mystic virtues of ecofeminism and stirringly calls for a return to the values of a simpler life, minus its egregious sexist assaults. Occasionally an aphorism sparkles with the old wit and biteA"One wife is all any man deserves"; "The power of Hillary Clinton's well-trained brain is principally demonstrated to the American public in her spirited defenses of her husband against the charges that he has cuckolded and humiliated her"Abut too often the effect is labored and strained. Greer has grievances aplenty with present-day society, but she offers few prescriptives for improvement besides demonstrations of support for embattled Iraqi and Palestinian women. Agent, Gillon Aitken. 100,000 first printing; seven-city author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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As to the book, is typical Greer, witty, well written, sound arguments. For a married guy, I seem to read alot of "Feminist" lit; perhaps this is why I am a happily married guy :) ). Highly recommend the book, the author, and the vendor---Rick
Consider, if you can, the following random quotes from THE WHOLE WOMAN:
"Some men hate women all of the time; all men hate some women some of the time. I reckon that in the year 2000 more men hate more women more bitterly than in 1970."
"And the women of the rich world had better hope that when female energy ignites they do not find themselves on the wrong side."
"The truth seems to be that men resent having to work and harbor a positive ambition to do nothing, which women do not share. ...In male heirarchies idleness is associated with status."
"Men have dispensed with any necessity to work on their appearance, beyond the choice of shaving or not."
"Women seek relief in tears where men seek relief in masturbation, which may be a distinction to be valued."
Let the questing reader try substituting "woman" or its plural for "man" or "men" in the above citations, and vice versa. Let those who are especially venturesome also try similarly substituting "gay", "lesbian", or the proper name for a protected ethnic class. Aside from a few meaningless generalities (as in the remark about men hating women), surreal absurdities, or unfortunate howlers, the sense of hatred and bigotry that results is likely to alarm--as well it ought. Greer argues for "equality" in ways that already suggest excessive privilege: She would quickly be excoriated for publishing hate speech, if she ranted so against alternative lifestyles or recognized ethnicities, let alone her own gender. So much for the Golden Rule: Reasoned, even-handed, credible arguments about social injustice do not and need not speak in Greer's current voice. What does has been dismissed by the equally controversial Camille Paglia--who considers herself no less of a feminist--as both "a princess mentality of snippy entitlement", and as "an imploding beanbag filled with poisonous self-pity".
If Ms. Greer intended to create a "succes de scandale" by brewing male-bashing, fool's gold generalities, and burning resentment into a potion of unrivalled bitterness, she has certainly succeeded. But should her polemic be sincere (or unless intended as darkest "humor"), this reader, for one, must reach for such descriptions as "puerile", "hysterical", "self-dramatizing", and "paranoiac". In fact, one wonders how anyone but what Paglia terms an author of "instant-canon feminist screeds" could succeed in attracting a publisher. Then again, feminists may find that Greer's rattling--be it that of a metaphorical sabre, or that of death--is useful instruction in how not to argue their cause. THE WHOLE WOMAN might actually have something for everyone, if only by way of negative example.
My only passionate desire is that the Womyn's Movement act upon her enthusiasm for gender segregation, since womynkind will never be truly accepted in his worldwide sexist-to-the-core enclaves.
From beauty to abortion, sex to loathing, big medicine to big business and fashion, Greer's lifelong dedication to womynkind has yet again succeeded in unmasking why the demonic, pathologically insane "freaks of nature" are still keeping womyn of the west firmly entrenched "in their place". Yet the antidote for such poison is so remarkably simple. The Womyn's Movement can immediately put an end to his "business-as-usual" tyranny by abdicating totally from his "protection". For the first time in herstory, western womyn could be free to create those taxpayer funded "all womyn and children" communities on her own terms without his abhorrently sexist behaviour.
Her premise is really quite simple. If you don't like men AND the society he alone still constructs for you on your behalf, then why not go and build and defend your own "female-only civilisations" instead of f*cking over men and boys to do it for you. Feminists will conveniently replace at their own leisure, the above "AND" expression with "OR". Leading Feminists and the vast majority of her gender troops openly HATE men, as per the comments I see about the "weaker sex" from many of your genuinely refreshing and honest comments. Yet somehow I think Feminists and western womyn need her "oppressors" more than he needs them - so they remain trapped in his society, "oppression" and all. Maybe womyn stay around because that same "oppressive" society he alone has created for womyn gives her immense pleasures and longevity in life, at his premature disposability on behalf of her, in war and work, of course (but let's keep that a secret between you and your "oppressors").
Greer offers western womyn a way out of her oppression - but it will remain ignored.
Start preparing to abdicate womyn from his "protection" NOW, as per Greer's segregation prescription while you still have the choice to live a fulfilling live of longevity. As Greer laments, "today" is a deeply hopeless and very confusing state of affairs for western womyn. However, when compared to the living hell of "tomorrow", where equal risk is finally associated with equal rights, womynkind will have finally thrown off the shackles of her "oppression". Both "today" and "Yesterday" will be fondly remembered as a blissful and life preserving yet privileged existence for womynkind. In our grand egalitarian social experiment of tomorrow, gender, like race, will be of no concern.
I won't lie to you about your "chances" ... but you have my sympathies. :-)
Germaine Greer for President? YES PLEASE!