Thursday 4 March 2010

Man tells woman how to be a woman: Germaine Greer vs someone we've never heard of

Oh dear. Some GUY trying to make a name for himself is savaging Germaine Greer, author of The Female Eunuch, for not knowing "what makes a woman tick".

With an essay to plug and a career to build, Louis Nowra (who he?) emerged from nowhere and accused Greer, the author of a book that inspired millions of women around the world, of being "hopelessly middle-class". The evidence he provides is that she, horror of horrors, confused poor working-class wimmin with her book "with its many quotes from Nietzsche, Blake and Shakespeare".

Speaking as a working-class woman who left school at 16, I didn't read the Greer until many years after its 1970 publication, but I was reading Nietzche, Blake and Shakespeare in my teens. So were many of my peers. One did that in those days. Britain had a first class culture, a state education system that rivalled the best public schools, a fascinating and informative media, and people in charge of bits of the BBC who cared about culture and society. The writers we didn't know we could always look up, also having an excellent library system. Louis, when I saw discussion in the old New Musical Express about an author called William Burroughs, it didn't scare me. I simply went out and read him.

Louis finds the current state of things not worth challenging because "young women today love shopping more than ever". His accusations of misogyny sound very stupid coming from someone who sees botox injections as a "rite of passage".

Yes, Greer does tacky reality shows. Yes she's shrill. Yes, most definitely, she annoys the hell out of me. But after making such a massive contribution so young, she's earned it. She may be a batty publicity-hungry once-glorious figure, but she's OUR batty ... etc. We'll be our own Blue Maenyads, thanks ever so much. We don't need no bloke teaching granny how to rip our icons apart.

Geezers who reckon they know what makes a woman tick better than women themselves need to be strapped to a ticking time-bomb and sent on walkabout in the middle of the outback. Louis -- you're simply trolling. And you're SO totally pwned.


claude said...

I too read that bit Nowra (who's he, exactly) said.
Absolutely pathetic.

thespanishprisoner said...

His comments are so condescending. What does it tell you that the media take him seriously?

VenerableSage said...

A Greer eye for the straight guy?

Gregor said...

‘The evidence he provides is that she, horror of horrors, confused poor working-class wimmin with her book "with its many quotes from Nietzsche, Blake and Shakespeare".’

These well-meaning patronising types, eh? One of them showed up at my blog pointing the J’accuse finger at me because I don’t identify myself as middle class despite doing skilled work. I suppose I am ‘middle class’ if that means someone who sits down to work, though it strikes me as very reductive.

Oddly enough, I’d say being a bibliophile (and one who buys most of their books in charity shops) is, if anything, one reason why I don’t regard myself with the British middle classes. From the newspapers it seems that the upper middle classes are amongst the most vulgar people on the planet. And just look at how the Tories and New Labour supported the bail-out on terms that were deeply unfair to the taxpayers whilst there are plans underway to cut funding to museums and libraries.

I was talking to a fellow Russophile about how the Tories are only interested in Russia to the extent it agrees/ disagrees with the USA and neo-liberal dogma. If you asked a lot of leading mainstream politicians to name the greatest Russian, they’d probably name the wealthiest one.

One thing that I think influences this debate is the ‘Essex man’ myth: that the coarsening of British society in the 80s/90s was due to increased social mobility. In fact social mobility decreased at that time and it’s more likely that the vulgarity was embodied by the privileged children of the 60s/70s.

Just look at Bullingdon boy Boris Johnson and the way that he claims to be inspired by Pericles. I suppose he is, if Periclean liberty means being a tax bore who supports flogging off state assets. But I personally read his speech recorded by Thucydides with a more holistic view of freedom than opposing EU legislation against hedge funds.