Germaine Greer

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Germaine Greer, born on the 29th of January 1939, is an Australian Academic, journalist and schooler of early Modern English literature. She is well known for being a significant figure in late 20th century feminism. She is also easily Australia’s most famous feminist. Greer was born in Melbourne in 1939 and grew up in Mentone, her father was a newspaper rep’ who served in the wartime Royal Australian Air Force. She went to a private convent school, Star of the Sea College, in Gardenvale. In 1956 Germaine Greer won a teaching scholarship and enrolled at the University of Melbourne. When Germaine Greer graduated from university with a degree in English and French language and literature, she moved to Sydney While in Sydney she became a part the Sydney Push social milieu and the anarchists Sydney Liberations at its art centre. In 1972 Germaine Greer was identified as an anarchist communist, close to Marxism. In her unauthorised biography, Christine Wallace described Germaine Greer at this time: “For Germaine, [the Push] provided a philosophy to underpin the attitude and lifestyle she had already acquired in Melbourne. She walked into the Royal George Hotel, into the throng talking themselves hoarse in a room stinking of stale beer and thick with cigarette smoke, and set out to follow the Push way of life – 'an intolerably difficult discipline which I forced myself to learn'. The Push struck her as completely different from the Melbourne intelligentsia she had engaged with in the Drift, 'who always talked about art and truth and beauty and argument ad hominem; instead, these people talked about truth and only truth, insisting that most of what we were exposed to during the day was ideology, which was a synonym for lies – or bullshit, as they called it.' Her Damascus turned out to be the Royal George, and the Hume Highway was the road linking it. 'I was already an anarchist,' she says. 'I just didn't know why I was an anarchist. They put me in touch with the basic texts and I found out what the internal logic was about how I felt and thought.” Germaine Greer’s first teaching post was when she lectured at the University of Sydney. She also got her first class MA in romantic poetry in 1963 for a thesis titled The Development of Bryon’s Satiric Mode. 1 year later she won a Commonwealth Scholarship for this thesis. She used her prize winning money to fund her doctorate at the University of Cambridge, England. While there, she became a member of Newnham College, an all-women establishment. In an article written by Lisa Jardine, who was a fellow pupil with Germaine Greer wrote “The principal called us to order for the speeches. As a hush descended, one person continued to speak, too engrossed in her conversation to notice, her strong Australian accent reverberating around the room. At the graduates' table, Germaine was explaining that there could be no liberation for women, no matter how highly educated, as long as we were required to cram our breasts into bras constructed like mini-Vesu4viuses, two stitched white cantilevered cones which bore no resemblance to the female anatomy. The willingly suffered discomfort of the Sixties bra, she opined vigorously, was a hideous symbol of male oppression.... [We were] astonished at the very idea that a woman could speak so loudly and out of turn and that words such as 'bra' and 'breasts' – or maybe she said 'tits' – could be uttered amid the pseudo-masculine solemnity of a college dinner.” One of Greer’s most famous pieces of work was, The Female Eunuch. In it she argued that women did not realise how much men hate women, and how women are taught to hate themselves. There were stories of women hiding the book away from their husbands and even women leaving their husbands after they had finished reading The Female Eunuch. She also joined an ammeter theatre company, known as the Cambridge Footlights. This introduced her into the London Arts and Media scene. She also wrote a column in the...
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