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The Female Eunuch

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  3,621 ratings  ·  178 reviews
Positing that sexual liberation is the key to women's liberation, Greer['s The Female Eunuch] looks at the inherent and unalterable biological differences between men and women as well as at the profound psychological differences that result from social conditioning. Drawing on history, literature, biology, and popular culture [...]

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Mass Market Paperback, 373 pages
Published March 1972 by Bantam Books (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Barry Pierce
The Female Eunuch is one of the touchstone texts of second-wave feminism. I'll admit, I'm terrified of Germaine Greer. She's on telly quite often and my god she scares the shit out of me. However, through reading her most famous book I now see that she and I are quite similar. We're both very angry and hate a lot of things. I adore her humour and incredibly condescending prose, it's quite a refreshing read for a text that was written 45 years ago.

This book basically Everything You Always Wanted
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Praj
I adore men, I love my cigarettes and scotch, take pleasure in my womanly curves; simultaneously I greatly want women to obtain their freedom of rights.

Feminism may be an archaic phenomenon in the urban world yet it is still in the nascent form in numerous authoritarian patriarchal configurations and societies plagued with female foeticide. This manuscript does justice to such dwellings where women irrespective to their economical standing bear subjugation to various norms of religion and cultu
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Linda
This book was fascinating and made me rethink being a woman. It deals with the suppression of the female intellect, identity, and psychological development. My soon-to-be-husband was NOT happy I read this - I really reacted to what I was reading. I simmered down eventually.
Declan
The Female Eunuch turned 40 this year and in light of this I elected to pick it up. It actually disarmed me. It was clear, the chapters were concise and the arguments never delved into rant. It's really quite exceptional that Greer thought it would swiftly date and fall off the radar. The Romance chapter is biting and totally hilarious and Work is so well-voiced as to weaken the surrounding chapters by comparison. However, I can't go without saying I was nagged by several major criticisms throug ...more
Zanna
Greer cuts through our absurdly patriarchal fantasies of romantic love, diagnosing the misery and anxiety they cause, and draws a picture of the female stereotype as castrated - a passive receptacle for male sexuality. She also implicates capitalism in shaping and reinforcing patriarchy, with some great passages on the history of women in work. The book is also highly readable, non-technical and funny.

I've recently found out that Greer's later work is explicitly cissexist and transphobic, so I'm
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Emma Thompson
I picked up this book not only because of it's historical significance but because a friend mad a blog post about it while having not read it basically saying Greer was an self-important idiot and I really hate ignorance.

Reading this book as a feminist in 2010 there are things about it I don't agree with. I definetley have problems with the blatant transphobia which is a theme through Greer's writings, and she has a rather patchy idea about homosexuality. Some of the things she talks abuot are o
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John
Aug 05, 2008 John rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone should read it, i doubt everyone will like it though
Brilliant. This book should be required reading for everyone, not just women.
J.
To try to review a book this monumental would be somewhat ridiculous, so instead I'll report on what it's like to encounter it for the first time so long after it created the ripples that it did with its impact. I'm blown away by how much late Second Wave feminism is already present in this book from 1970 (still somewhat early in that movement). I'm also blown away by how diverse her argument is, cogently handling psychology as well as biology as well as literature. Even the structure of the boo ...more
Deirdre
Greer can be brilliant, can be infuriating. She can shine and she can let herself down horribly. This is a book of its time and I read it when it was first published. Back then, it blasted the cobwebs off a totally patriarchal society but did it in a witty and winning way. This is Greer at her best.

It is sad that whilst this book is now somewhat dated, the battle it engaged with has still not been won. Today's young women in the main think feminism is passé and are complaisant about the superfic
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Lisbeth
When I picked this up out of the Women's Studies section this past January, I was really adrift in life. Greer's book caught me and refocused me, entire paragraphs eliciting a 'fuck yes' aloud.

Germaine underlines that uncomfortable feeling of what it means to be female in modern society, something I'd never noticed until falling into a heterosexual relationship. What does it mean to be expected to play traditional gender roles, to cater or ignore expectations?

A milestone.
Madhulika Liddle
When it was first published in 1970, Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch drew flak, derision—and accolades for its bold stance on feminism. In her introduction to the 21st century edition of this best-selling book, Greer writes that she wondered back then whether the book would be outdated by the time the 21st century came round.

Not, sadly, to much of an extent. In some ways, women are better off than they were nearly half a century ago. In most ways, though, we seem to be stuck pretty much wher
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Siria
It's a classic, which is why it should still be required reading for any feminist trying to educate themselves. But it's very, very much of its time, very much the work of a second waver with all the problematic attitudes towards sexuality, homosexuality and race that that implies. Worth reading as an historical record, but not something that I base my own thought on, really.
Vanessa
Germaine Greer is probably the first name that springs to mind when anyone brings up the subject of feminism, whether you know much about the movement or not. I'll admit that this was the case for me anyway, but I have to say that I did not know too much about her. In fact, I believed her to be one of the 'feminazis', man-hating and bra-burning amongst other things. I decided to pick up her seminal text The Female Eunuch because it came on my radar in the last month or so through YouTube, and I ...more
Charles
The problem with reading a book like this decades after it was written is you aren't a part of that time, and the Female Eunuch was very much a part of that time. Some of it still stands up, but other parts are the statements of a youthful movement, confident in the absolute correctness of its untested positions. Since Greer wrote this, parents have attempted to raise children in a neutral way and seen boys blowing up dolls and nursing fire trucks, suggesting things are a bit more complex than o ...more
abatage
When I started reading this book I was hoping that it would be an irrelevant, but interesting account of 70s feminism and that most of its messages could now be seen as history. Unfortunately, there's far too much about the concepts and obervations that Greer discusses in this book that are all too relevant to our current society.

While many of the statistics are outdated and even perhaps the intensity of the need for change, there is still a very strong message to be found within. I personally c
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Leo Robertson
If I met someone at a party who described herself as a speculative anthropologist (which Greer does not, btw), I'd be hard put not to snort in her face, let alone offer to read her unscientific speculatively anthropological text. So many paragraphs of ungrounded but somewhat believable "men act this way, women are made to act this way", it's tiring and not insightful enough for me to continue.

Which is disappointing, because if anyone was ready to feel ashamed of the antics of his own gender, it
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Meghan
Apr 05, 2014 Meghan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Women and Men
Shelves: womanist
Amazing! All women should read this! Greer really explains how I have been feeling about life, the world, being married, suppressed, not listened to, dismissed, abused and so fourth. This is the first book I've read that says I'm not crazy! I have so much to say but I want to read this again, it was so life inspiring and opened my eyes!
Beth
Despite the age of this book, I still think that most of the insights ring true even today. This book definitely stirred me to support the cause and I particularly admire the passionate way Greer writes. This book played on my mind for a long time after I read it, which I think shows its power even 40 years on
Rob
As a male in my late 50s this as a book of my time - yet I'd never read it - and felt it was high time I did. I found it fascinating but as another goodreads reviewer said it was a book that needed to be read in the context of the time in which it was written.
Clearly Germaine has a soaring intellect and the book is written as if she just needed to 'get it out' and she did! While I feel many of the assertions are 'a bit over the top', many are as valid today as they were then. I found a number o
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David
This is an interesting book, with lots of important and thoughtful points to make, but I couldn't honestly recommend it. The reason for this is not that it is 'of its time'. It is true that many of the common circumstances Greer describes are no longer common, but she writes in such a way that this doesn't matter. She contextualises her descriptions so that we can see how they still apply (and applied even then to groups she wasn't addressing at the time, e.g. non-western, or non-white, or poor) ...more
Kat
I read this for three reasons. It started something that is very close to my heart. Much of my childhood was lived with a background of discussion and pop culture reference to Germaine Greer. I wanted to see how it has dated and whether Greer's nasty points outweigh her positives.

Her views on homosexuality and transsexualism are distressing. She moves from writing that women should be able to choose their own identities, to saying that trans people should stay the sex they are born as and that
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Maria
Originally, I was interested in The Female Eunuch as a historical reference for the feminist outlook. However, I soon realised that MANY issues discussed in Germaine Greer's book (published in 1970) still very much exist in the modern society – some have even remained undiscussed to this day.

I don't have to go any further than to examine my own upbringing (I was instilled with a conservative and, thus, pretty screwed up idea of my gender), observe my own and my friends' relationships (I’ve seen
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Helynne
The Female Eunuch may seem a little dated by now, but back in the early 1970s when it first appeared, Australian feminist Germaine Greer really raised social consciousness with her ideas that women in various societies throughout history have been figuratively castrated (hence, the title), and forced to be much less in society than they should be. There are some really interesting facts and figures in Greer's study. I remember shortly after this book was published, Greer was a guest on William ...more
Mickey Schulz
I think this book has some really important observations and ideas. I also think that in some ways it is exceptionally dated in terms of the science it references, and attitudes towards transgendered individuals. Having spent most of my adult life involved with sex positivity, I find a lot of her sexual attitudes kind of quaint, even given that they were extremely progressive at the time.

The book is written with exceptionally academic language, which I can see being offputting to anyone who is
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Merinde
I read this book at 14, and it was possibly the best thing to read for a vaguely angry but not entirely sure why girl who grew up in a strict religious environment with a serious problem with women being their own person. I still remember suddenly realizing just how screwed up my idea of my gender was, how out-dated the opinions of those around me even compared to a 70s book. I've not yet read it again, mostly because I expect it to let me down. Though it's been years, I still remember some very ...more
Vibina Venugopal
With international woman's day gaining much of global recognition, the word feminism is undergoing a whole radical shift in our thoughts and outlook..Now days being a feminist can lead to be labelled into certain class whose thoughts are largely ignored as being mental frustration.. but then what is really being a feminist mean??? In early days when women where refused their share of right, a group of women with similar thoughts, theories and philosophy on women decided to fight for themselves, ...more
Straton
...very compelling arguments on feminism, and a strong case the 'rational' of subjugation women.
I would recommend this book to every woman, but importantly, to men.
Molly
Sep 23, 2008 Molly marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Written with outrageous wit, bombast, and vicious intelligence, yet somehow not nearly as engaging as Ms. Friedan's "Feminine Mystique" to me. Both writers also display casual racism and classism, as well as disturbingly violent homophobia, that are definitely products of a bygone age, and undermine an otherwise worthy polemic.

I still want to finish "The Female Eunuch". Greer is brilliant, and despite the book's flaws, the sheer beauty of her writing and certain arguements induces rapture that i
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Rai
I know this is one of the definitive feminist texts and is recommended to anyone interested in feminism, I know it's second wave feminism and as such is a product of it's time, but no, I just couldn't do it. We're greeted with rampant transphobia on the first damn page! When 'The Female Eunuch' was first written Greer was transphobic, homophobic and didn't seem to care about the oppression of any woman who wasn't rich, straight, cis and white. Judging from the foreword of the 20th Anniversary ed ...more
Cliff Watt
3 stars for its historical content as a snapshot of feminism 40 years ago. But the writing style wasn't hugely appealing for me and Greer's argumentative approach got my back up at times.

Greer believed when the book was published that it would quickly date and fall into obscurity.

Date, it has done, but not as quickly as Greer may have imagined and it certainly hasn't fallen into obscurity.

I guess I was pleased that none of the women I know fell into the stereotypes Greer describes, though I'm
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Feminist Reading ...: First Reading! 4 14 Jun 01, 2014 09:37AM  
The Female Eunuch (Paperback) by Germaine Greer 2 27 Mar 08, 2008 08:16PM  
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Germaine Greer is an Australian born writer, journalist and scholar of early modern English literature, widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of the later 20th century.

Greer's ideas have created controversy ever since her ground-breaking The Female Eunuch became an international best-seller in 1970, turning her overnight into a household name and bringing her both adulatio
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More about Germaine Greer...
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“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.” 115 likes
“Security is the denial of life” 38 likes
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