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The Female Eunuch

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  6,241 ratings  ·  345 reviews
The clarion call to change that galvanized a generation.
When Germaine Greer's The Female Eunuch was first published it created a shock wave of recognition in women, one that could be felt around the world. It went on to become an international bestseller, translated into more than twelve languages, and a landmark in the history of the women's movement. Positing that sexua
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 5th 2002 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1970)
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Petra-X has been locked down for one full year
This review is about two issues that seem unrelated. Menstruation and Black women's hair. What links them is attitude.

"Women still buy sanitary towels with enormous discretion, and carry their handbags to the loo when they only need to carry a napkin. They still recoil at the idea of intercourse during menstruation, and feel that the blood they shed is of a special kind... If you think you are emancipated, you might consider the idea of tasting your menstrual blood--if it makes you sick, you've
Barry Pierce
Disclaimer: Ignore this review. Greer hates trans people.

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 ye
Nandakishore Varma
Luckily I read this book after I got married, otherwise I wouldn't have married at all. After reading it, I sat down to discuss it with my wife (it was immediately after marriage, and I had high hopes that we two could have long intellectual discussions in our life together). After I gave her a précis of the book, I suggested that she read it.

What she suggested I do with the book was not entirely polite.

However, I learnt one thing: women's freedom consists of NOT choosing to read feminist li
Apr 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: The F-Word
As the new "American Healthcare Act" comes to light, one thing that strikes many of us is how many pre-existing conditions on the list are specific only to women: pregnancy, C-section, hysterectomy, just to name a few. There's also rape and domestic assault which are also pretty specific to women, but I'm not naive enough to believe that only women and raped and assaulted. It's ridiculous to consider those pre-existing conditions in any case, and I would bet good money that the reason for their ...more
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
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
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
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
May 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 07, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book a long time ago, when I was living abroad and I had my first contact with feminism. I saw a "gender studies" shelf on a bookstore for the first time, and I went ahead and bought the works of the people I had heard of before. One of them was Germaine Greer.

Apparently she's always been a controversial figure, probably more so today that social media has amplified her views. I'm being euphemistic - she's a repulsive attention-seeking troll who clearly takes pleasure in making inf
Mar 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Nick Imrie
It's so strange reading this again for the first time since I was a teenager. Greer is amazing: witty, funny, spookily perceptive on some things, and hilariously wrong on others. She wastes no time hemming-and-hawing around an idea, but she's pretty humble about how wrong she might be too.

She's definitely in my top ten for who would you invite to a dinner party if you could invite anyone at all.
Forty five years ago, a softly spoken Australian published a delicate commentary on the position of women in the existing patriarchal society and how a small movement known as feminism has taken on a second attempt at evening things out a little. In reality this turned out to be a feisty, blunt and uncompromising assessment of where the first wave of feminism has gotten us (and yes I mean us, men as well as women) and where the second wave needs to focus and get changes made (basically everywher ...more
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
Gabrielle Dubois
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in a French paperback book published in 1973, with a very small font, almost no margins, 450 pages long, no preface, and the most horrible bookcover in the world! How and why did I get this book? I can’t remember. What I do know is that I should have read it when I was young, it would have changed my vision of women, my vision of myself.
Today, after having read George Sand, Mary Wollstonecraft, Virginia Woolf, and so many other great women authors, Germaine Greer's book has rein
Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
My full review of The Female Eunuch is up now on Keeping Up With The Penguins.

I just don’t think that The Female Eunuch has any value anymore. It’s not old enough, or well-written enough, to have the historical status and respect afforded to suffragette writing. It’s been too thoroughly debunked and overwritten to stand alongside later works of feminism. It’s out of date: scientifically, socially, and legally. It’s too deeply rooted in a colonial version of society to have any resonance or relev
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
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All Women and Men
Shelves: fem-woman-ist
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! ...more
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
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: feminism, nonfiction
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. ...more
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Nov 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It's validating, this book, from the first sentence. Talk of women breaking through the glass ceiling only to settle. Fighting for equality only to go to college to STILL shop for husbands. Great book. Sad nothing's advanced since. ...more
Nick Davies
Dec 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
Picked up by myself in a charity shop in a Welsh market town, with a nod to the book's prominence in the early Adrian Mole books, this was actually a surprisingly pleasant read. The main reasons for this are Greer's intelligence and wit, and also due to it being far from the disagreeable 'man hating' treatise that I perhaps expected it to be.

The author examines the subjugation of women in Western society via a series of intelligent and generally well-balanced essays on subjects pertinent to gend
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
...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.
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I apologize in advance for the length of this review. As a pivotal sociological/feminist work, I felt it was incumbent upon me to be thorough. Overall, I found the work to be about 1/3 spot on; about 1/3 very dated; and 1/3 to be questionable in its argument. Of course, I have the benefit of hindsight and the importance of this work is in the fact that it was very much a call to action in 1970.

In her introduction to the 1990 release, Greer notes that she had expected the book would quickly date
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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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“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.” 150 likes
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