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Germaine Greer naked from Suck Magazine

Germaine Greer

Selections from The Female Eunuch

TSLG loves Germaine Greer. She is one of the many "brilliant women" we laud in this book and her feminism was of the bitingly clever and brilliantly insightful, though not spiteful, sort.

Inclusion of her picture here may infuriate some of her fans. Greer was not too happy about it either when it appeared in the European SUCK magazine in the 1970s. Apparently, each of the mag's writers were to have contributed naked photos and Greer gamely submitted hers only to discover that most of the others had backed out, leaving her the lone asshole. I believe that Greer's willingness to submit this photo is further evidence of her brilliance in that she fearlessly rejected the absurdity of social mores and terror regarding the undraping of the human body. In actuality, Greer is far too radical for many of today's feminists.

In the course of my research for TSLG, I compiled the following quotes from Germaine Greer. While some of what she writes is outdated, much of it is still relevant and still brilliant.

The degree of attention which breasts receive, combined with the confusion about what the breast fetishists actually want, makes women unduly anxious about them. They can never be just right; they must always be too small, too big, the wrong shape, too flabby. The characteristics of the mammary stereotype are impossible to emulate because they are falsely simulated, but they must be faked somehow or another. Reality is either gross or scrawny. A full bosom is actually a millstone around a woman's neck; it endears her to the men who want to make their maumet of her, but she is never allowed to think that their popping eyes actually see her. Her breasts are only to be admired for as long as they show no sign of their function; once darkened, stretched or withered they are objects of revulsion. They are not parts of a person but lures slung around her neck, to be kneaded and twisted like magic putty, or mumbled and mouthed like lolly ices. The only way that women can opt out of such gross handling is to refuse to wear undergarments which perpetuate the fantasy of pneumatic boobs, so that men must come to terms with the varieties of the real thing. (p.24)

For women, there is one aspect which is common to both situations: demands are made upon them to contour their bodies in order to please the eyes of others. Women are so insecure that they constantly take measures to capitulate to this demand, whether it is rational or not. The thinnest women either diet because of an imagined grossness somewhere or fret because they are not curvaceous: the curviest worry about the bounciness of their curves, or diet to lose them. The curvy girl who ought to be thin and the thin girl who ought to be curvy are offered more or less dangerous medications to achieve their aims.(p.25)

Every human body has its optimum weight and contour,
which only health and efficiency can establish. Whenever we treat women's bodies as aesthetic objects without function we deform them and their owners. Whether the curves imposed are the ebullient arabesques of the tit-queen or the attenuated coils of art nouveau, they are the deformations of the dynamic, individual body, and limitations of the possibilities of being female. (p.26)

Their hair was a sign that they did not accept the morality of the crop-haired generation of bureaucrats which sired them. (p.27)

The rationale of depilation is crude. Sexuality is quite falsely thought to be an animal characteristic, despite the obvious fact that man is the most sexually active of the animals, and the only one who has sex independently of the instinctual reproductive drive. In the popular imagination hairiness is like furriness, an index of bestiality, and as such an indication of aggressive sexuality. Men cultivate it, just as they are encouraged to develop competitive and aggressive instincts, women suppress it, just as they suppress all the aspects of their vigor and libido.

Nowadays it is not enough to neutralize perspiration and breath odors; women are warned in every women's magazine of the horror of vaginal odor, which is assumed to be utterly repellent. (p. 28)

If women find that the clitoris has become the only site of their pleasure instead of acting as a kind of sexual overdrive in a more general response, they will find themselves dominated by the performance ethic, which would not itself be a regression if the performance principle in our society included enterprise and creativity. But enterprise and creativity are connected with libido which does not survive the civilizing process. Women must struggle to keep alternative possibilities open, at the same time as they struggle to attain the kind of strength that can avail itself of them. (p.35)

What Jackie Collins is expressing is the commonest romantic ideal of the perfect fuck. It shows how deeply we believe in the concept of male mastery.
Miss Collins's heroine was manipulating her mate's colonizing sexual urge, making him wait, as long as his importunacy lasts, until she is ready. In manipulating his violent impulses she exercised an illusory superiority, for she is tender, sentimental and modest, loving not for her own gratification, but in expression of esteem, trust and true love, until she could civilize him into marriage and the virtuoso sexual performance. The complicated psychic aspect of his love is undervalued; she is still alone, egotistical, without libido to desire him or bring him to new pleasure in her. Jackie Collins and the sex-books show that we still make love to organs and not people: that so far from realizing that people are never more idiosyncratic, never more totally there than when they make love, we are never more incommunicative, never more alone. (p.37)

Little girls only learn about the pleasure of sex as
an implication of their discoveries about their reproductive function, as something merely incidental. Much more care is taken to inform them about the approaching trauma of menstruation and the awful possibility of childbirth if they should "lose control or "give in" to sexual urges in the first place. So the growing girl knows more about her womb than she does about her external genitalia, and not much of what she knows is good news. (p.38)

As long as she is young and personable, every woman may cherish the dream that she may leap up the social ladder and dim the sheen of luxury by sheer natural loveliness; the few examples of such a feat are kept before the eye of the public. (p.50)

She is the Sexual Object sought by all men, and by all women. She is of neither sex, for she has herself no sex at all. Her value is solely attested by the demand she excites in others. All she must contribute
is her existence. She need achieve nothing, for she is the reward of achievement. She need never give positive evidence of her moral character because virtue is assumed from her loveliness, and her
passivity. (p.50)

Gynolatry (The gynolatry of our civilization…all
consecrated to the reigning deity, the female fetish.)

Her essential quality is castratedness. She
absolutely must be young, her body hairless, her flesh
buoyant, and she must not have a sexual organ. No
musculature must distort the smoothness of the lines
of her body, although she may be painfully slender or
warmly cuddly. Her expression must betray no hint of
humor, curiosity or intelligence, although it may
signify hauteur to an extent that is actually absurd,
or smoldering lust, very feebly signified by drooping
eyes and a sullen mouth (for the sterotype's lust
equals irrational submission), or, most commonly,
vivacity and idiot happiness. (p.52)

So what is the beef? Maybe I couldn't make it. Maybe
I don't have a pretty smile, good teeth, nice tits,
long legs, a cheeky arse, a sexy voice. Maybe I don't
know how to handle men and increase my market value,
so that the rewards due to the feminine will accrue to
me. Then again, maybe I'm sick of the masquerade.
I'm sick of pretending eternal youth. I'm sick of
belying my own intelligence, my own will, my own sex.
I'm sick of peering at the world through false
eyelashes, so everything I see is mixed with a shadow
of bought hairs; I'm sick of weighting my head with a
dead mane, unable to move my neck freely, terrified of
rain, of wind, of dancing too vigorously in case I
sweat into my lacquered curls. I'm sick of the Powder
Room. I'm sick of pretending that some fatuous male's
self-important pronouncements are the objects of my
undivided attention, I'm sick of going to films and
plays when someone else wants to, and sick of having
no opinions of my own about either. I'm sick of being
a transvestite. I refuse to be a female impersonator.
I am a woman, not a castrate. (p.53)

April's incompetence as a woman is what we must expect
from a castrate, but it is not so very different after
all from the impotence of feminine women, who submit
to sex without desire, with only the infantile
pleasure of cuddling and affection, which is their
favorite reward. As long as the feminine stereotype
remains the definition of the female sex, April Ashley
is a woman, regardless of the legal decision ensuing
from her divorce. She is as much a casualty of the
polarity of the sexes as we all are. Disgraced,
unsexed April Ashley is our sister and our symbol.

Energy is the power that drives every human being. It
is not lost by exertion but maintained by it, for it
is a faculty of the psyche. It is driven to perverted
manifestations by curbs and checks. It is not too
hard to point out to the averagely perceptive human
being that women have plenty of the destructive kind
of energy, but far fewer people can see that women's
destructiveness is creativity turned in upon itself by
constant frustration. (p.56)

"…before it gains proportional strength, produce that
pitiful cunning which disgracefully characterizes the
female mind and I fear will characterize it whilst
women remain the slaves of power."—Mary
Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Women,
1792, p. 378. (p.56)

However, unless feminists admit that the phenomena
described by critics of women's performance in
industry, offices, schoolrooms, trade unions and in
the arts and sciences are real, they must fail to
identify the problem, and therefore to solve it. It
is true that opportunities have been made available to
women far beyond their desires to use them. It is also
true that the women who avail themselves of
opportunities too often do so in a feminine, filial,
servile fashion. It must be understood that it will
not suffice to encourage women to use an initiative
that they have not got, just as it is useless to
revile them for not having it. We must endeavor to
understand how it is that women's energy is
systematically deflected from birth to puberty, so
that when they come to maturity they have only fitful
resource and creativity. (p.59)

It was not the insistence upon her sex that weakened
the American woman student's desire to make something
of her education, but the insistence upon a passive
sexual role. In fact the chief instrument in the
deflection and perversion of female energy is the
denial of female sexuality for the substitution of
femininity or sexlessness. (p.59)

The acts of sex are themselves forms of inquiry, as
the old euphemism "carnal knowledge" makes clear: it
is exactly the element of quest in her sexuality which
the female is taught to deny. She is not only taught
to deny it in her sexual contacts, but (for in some
subliminal way the connection is understood) in all
her contacts, from infancy onward, so that when she
becomes aware of her sex the pattern has sufficient
force of inertia to prevail over new forms of desire
and curiosity. This is the condition which is meant
by the term female eunuch. (p.61)

Energy does seem diabolical to us, because our whole
culture is bent on harnessing it for ulterior ends:
the child must be civilized; what this means is really
that he must be obliterated. (p.63)

What happens to the Jewish boy who never manages to
escape the tyranny of his mother is exactly what
happens to every girl whose upbringing is "normal."
She is a female faggot. Like the male faggots she
lives her life in a pet about guest lists and sauce
béarnaise, except when she is exercising by divine maternal right the same process that detroyed her lusts and desires upon the lusts and desires of her children.….(p.68)

While little boys are learning about groups and
organizations, as well as the nature of the world
outside their homes, little girls are at home, keeping
quiet, playing with dolls and dreaming, or helping
Mother. At school they use their energy to suppress
themselves, to be good and keep quiet, and remember
what they are hearing and doing. At home they perform
meaningless physical rituals, with no mental activity
attached to them. So the sensual and intellectual are
even more widely separated in them than they are in
their brothers. (p.69)

Some geniuses have broken right through the chain
reaction and have seen it for what is was, but most
creative women bear the stamp of futility and
confusion even in their best work. (p.69)

No sooner does her pubic hair appear than she has to
learn how to obliterate it. Menstruation must be borne and belied. She has been so protected from accepting her body as sexual that her menstruation strikes her as a hideous violation of her physical integrity, however well she has been prepared for it. This is the time when she will reap the fruits of the whirlwind. All her conflicts come home to roost. If she cannot strike an equilibrium between her desires and her conditioning this is when she breaks down, runs away, goes wrong, begins to fail in school, to adopt forms of behavior which are not only antisosial but self-destructive.

All observers of female psychology, from Freud and Deutsch to Horney and Terman, agree that the girl's intellectual and other abilities suffer a marked diminution during and after puberty. The slight advantage that she enjoys over the boys in school is lost. Dr. Chapman thinks that "women are to be congratulated on being able to traverse this stage of life retaining any semblance of emotional stability" but what he means by it is yet another discrimination against women. It is a male chauvinist position to suppose that any creature that bleeds from the site of its torn-off sexual organ ought by rights to be a maniac. If we listen to what pubescent girls themselves are saying, we may find ample cause for conflict, without citing the secret ministry of biology. (p.77)

Kinsey's statistics that 90 percent of males masturbated while 62 percent of women have done so at least once, give a very imperfect idea of the actual difference in the autoerotic activity of boys and girls. In this critical period a girl is expected to begin her dealings with men, dealings based upon her attractiveness as a sexual object, dealings which can only be hampered by any consideration of her own sexual urge. In these palmy days of the permissive society this situation has given rise to some perversions which are extremely depressing. It is not uncommon for a girl seeking "popularity" or approbation from boys to allow boys to take extraordinary liberties with her, while neither seeking nor deriving anything for herself. (p.78)

All the causes that Hemming mentions are products of
the root cause: the necessity for the adolescent girl
to adopt the role of the eunuch. Her seeking guidance
is one essential symptom of her abandonment of her
autonomy. She has always been subjected to more
control and supervision than her brother, and now she
is required to adopt the proper feminine passivity and
continue her own repression by herself. It is a
delicate operation, and, given the stresses that have
sprung from it since her infancy, it is not surprising
that puberty appears as the breaking point.

"In analyzing women with neurotic troubles or
character disturbances, one frequently finds two
conditions: (1) although in all cases the determining
conflicts have arisen in early childhood, the first
personality changes have taken place in
adolescence…(2) the onset of these changes coincides
with menstruation." --Karen Horney, ref. 7 (Horney is a
prominent Freudian personality psychologist). (p.79)

Karen Horney follows this observation by listing the
main types of disintegration to be found in these
neurotic characters—sexual guilt and anxiety, the fear
that they do not measure up to the feminine ideal,
deep defensiveness, and suspicion and antagonism. In
considering her own observations, Horney finds that
she must deny some of her own earlier Freudian
opinions, and risk heterodoxy. The traditional
argument was that what puberty aggravated was the
individual's inability to accept her natural, proper
sexual role, femininity miscalled womanhood. What
Horney found was that femininity itself produced these
aberrations, although she hardly dared say so in so
many words. She closed her paper with a tentative
admonition that it is better "to educate children in
courage and endurance instead of filling them with
fears. Even so grudging a conclusion takes the weight
of guilt for inability to adapt to the feminine role
from the shoulders of those who suffer most by it.

But what is the use of courage and endurance when the
whole point of a woman's existence is to be exploited
by Mr. Right? A girl finding that she is only valued
in the dating situation for qualities which her school
training sought to devalue must make a damaging
decision either way. The adoption of the attributes
of the sexual decoy is painful and halting. Waiting
for the telephone to ring, learning not to seem too
eager, pretending that she doesn't care, the girl
applies a self-discipline which can become radical.
On very rare occasions she may find herself in a
situation where these curbs are not absolutely
necessary. (p. 80)

What we ought to see in the agonies of puberty is the
result of the conditioning that maims the female
personality in creating the feminine. (p. 81)

As far as the woman is concerned, psychiatry is an
extraordinary confidence trick: the unsuspecting
creature seeks aid because she feels unhappy, anxious
and confused, and psychology persuades her to seek the
cause in herself. (p.82)

Freud is the father of psychoanalysis. It had no
mother. (p.83)

…if they posses the feminine quality of intuition to a
great degree, they are ideal collaborators who often
inspire their men, and are themselves happiest in this
role. They seem to be easily influenceable and adapt
themselves to their companions and understand them.
They are the loveliest and most unaggressive of
helpmates and they want to remain in that role; they
do not insist on their own rights—quite the contrary.
They are easy to handle in every way—if one only loves
them. Sexually they are easily excited and rarely
frigid; but precisely in that sexual field they impose
narcissistic conditions which must be fulfilled
absolutetly. They demand love and ardent renunciation
of their own active tendencies.

If gifted in any direction they preserve the capacity
for being original and productive, but without
entering into competitive struggles. They are always
willing to renounce their own achievements without
feeling that they are sacrificing anything, and they
rejoice in the achievements of their companions, which
they have often inspired. They have an extraordinary
need of support when engaged in any activity directed
outward, but are absolutely independent in such
feeling and thinking as relate to their inner life,
that is to say, in their activity directed inward.
Their capacity for identification is not an expression
of inner poverty but of inner wealth. (ref. 11, p. 87)

Bruno Bettelheim argues that "we must start with the
realization that, as much as women want to be good
scientists or engineers, they want first and foremost
to be womanly companions of men and to be mothers.
(ref 12, p88)

Basically it all comes down to the same fact: the
Freudian system describes the status quo as a
desideratum of the nineteenth-century middle class.
Facts are irrelevant to what is basically a value
system. If we are to place our strongest values in
external reality, we can reject the premises of
Freudian psychoanalysis as extra weight in the
autorepressive process, relying instead upon our own
observation and the results of our own experiments
with our environment. (p.89)

"If she is normally developed mentally, and well-bred,
her sexual desire is small. If this were not so the
whole world would become a brothel and marriage and
family impossible. It is certain that the man that
avoids women and the woman that seeks men are
abnormal…nevertheless the sexual sphere occupies a
much larger sphere in the consciousness of women than
that of men, and is continual rather that
intermittent."--Krafft-Ebing (ref. 15, p.89)

If marriage and family depend upon the castration of
women let them change or disappear. The alternative
is not a brothel, for brothels depend upon marriage
and family for their exsistence. (p.89)

"The passive form of the symbiotic union is that of
submission or…of masochism. The masochistic person
escapes from the unbearable feeling of isolation and
separateness by making himself part and parcel of
another person who directs him, protects him; who is
his life and his oxygen as it were. The power of the
one to whom one submits may be inflated, may be a
person or a god, he is everything, I am nothing,
except inasmuch as I am part of him. As a part, I am
a part of greatness, of power, of certainty. The
masochistic person does not have to make decisions,
does not have to take any risks; he is never alone—but
he is not independent; he has no integrity; he is not
yet fully born…the person who renounces his integrity,
makes himself the instrument of somebody or something
outside himself; he need not solve the problem of
living by productive activity." (ref 16, p. 90)

Nonverbal cognitive abilities like counting,
mathematical reasoning, spatial cognition, abstract
reasoning, set-breaking and restructuring, perceptual
speed, manual, mechanic and scientific skills have all
been tested, and no significant pattern of difference
has emerged, except this slight preeminence of the
girls, who may have this advantage for reasons
connected with their enculturation, more time spent
with adults, more sedentary habits, greater obedience
and credulousness. (p.93)

"For both sexes there is a tendency for the more
passive dependent children to perform poorly on a
variety of intellectual tasks, and for independent
children to excel…" (ref. 3, p. 95)

Children who "refuse to accept authority" do well in a
variety of tasks, as do those who resist "conformity
pressures." "Mothers who were less nurturant towards
daughters during pre-school years had the more
academically successful daughters…For girls by
contrast (with boys) the crucial factor in the
development of I.Q. appears to be relative freedom
from maternal restriction—freedom to wander and
explore." (ref. 4, p. 95)

Barron reports that originality is associated with
"responsiveness to impulse and emotion." (ref. 5,

One way or another, women will win this struggle.
There are retrograde steps: women in America are
reported to be manipulating their menfolk by
pussy-power, which is wheedling and caressing, instead
of challenging. (p.122)

A girl who studies medicine will qualify if she works
hard enough—but it is true that women patients prefer
male doctors and so do men. A girl may qualify as an
architect or an engineer and if she can get employers
to regard her seriously she may do well. Beatrice
Dinerman has traced the patterns of discrimination
against American women in the professions of the law,
architecture and engineering, where men soon outstrip
the female minority (one percent in engineering and
architecture, and around four percent in law) in
earnings, prestige and achievement. The effect seems
to be that a woman in these fields must try to be
twice as good as a man, if she wants to be recognized
as just a good. In doing so she must not bruise the
male ego or all is lost. (p.128)