Germaine Greer is renowned as an outspoken advocate of feminist issues. Greer, a 76-year-old Australian academic and writer, has been a controversial figure since the release of her first book, The Female Eunuch, way back in 1970. Greer’s views on feminism have drawn support and opposition in equal measure through her long writing career. Greer comes from a school of thought that seeks female liberation from, rather than equality with, men. As such Greer’s views have often been seen as controversial.
Never one to avoid controversy, Greer has drawn criticism after she launched a vicious attack on Caitlyn Jenner after speculation emerged suggesting that Jenner is in the running to be named as Glamour‘s Woman of the Year. Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight program, Greer launched an astonishing attack on Jenner, in which she claimed that Jenner underwent gender reassignment to steal the limelight from female members of the Kardashian family. According to the Daily Mail, Greer also accused Glamour of misogyny and said that a transgender woman should never be considered a better woman than someone born female.
According to the Mirror, many viewers were outraged at Greer’s attack and thought that Greer’s words were transphobic. Greer has gone so far as to say that transgender women are not women because they do not “look like, sound like or behave like women.” When asked about Caitlyn Jenner’s gender reassignment, Greer basically claimed that Jenner was attention seeking.
“It seems to me that what was going on there was that he/she wanted the limelight that the other, female, members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that.”
According to the Guardian, Greer was even more dismissive when asked about Jenner being in the running for the Woman of the Year award.
“I think misogyny plays a really big part in all of this, that a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone who is just born a woman.
“I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that [gender reassignment] procedure. What I’m saying is that it doesn’t make them a woman. It happens to be an opinion. It’s not a prohibition.”
Greer’s outspoken views are, of course, her own opinion, but it was an opinion that many condemned. Many who heard Greer’s comments took to social media to condemn Germaine’s views. Students at Cardiff University even started an online petition to have Greer barred from giving a lecture at the college titled “Women and Power.”
The online petition was set up by Rachel Melhuish, who is the women’s officer at the Welsh University. Melhuish vigorously attacks Greer’s views, claiming that they “should have no place in feminism or society.” The petition, which has attracted almost 2,000 signatures, slams Greer’s views as “hateful and problematic towards a marginalized group.”
“Greer has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.
“Allowing Greer a platform endorses her views, and by extension, the transmisogyny which she continues to perpetuate.”
Greer’s views were widely condemned. Alison Hood, a transgender woman, said that Greer’s views are “uninformed and transphobic” whilst Jacqui Caren says that Greer focusses on denying the rights of others and says that Greer’s views should be “treated as a hate crime.”
Greer was unrepentant when her comments were addressed and dismissed the view that she was being hurtful.
“People are being hurtful to me all the time. Try being an old woman. For goodness sake, people get hurt all the time. I’m not about to walk on eggshells.”
What do you make of Germaine Greer’s comments? Please let us know.
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