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The Female Eunuch

The landmark book in the history of the womens rights movement

By Germaine Greer
10-minute read
Audio available
The Female Eunuch: The landmark book in the history of the womens rights movement by Germaine Greer

The Female Eunuch (1970) is an explosive feminist classic that confronts the societal expectations holding women back. These blinks argue that it’s womankind’s responsibility to create new definitions of femininity and take ownership of their bodies, sex and lives.

  • Sociology students looking for an introduction to second-wave feminism
  • Budding feminists seeking an empowering read
  • Men who’d like to learn about the forces shaping patriarchal society

Germaine Greer is an Australian writer and academic. She has held teaching positions at the University of Warwick and Newnham College in Cambridge. Greer is also the author of The Whole Woman and Shakespeare’s Wife, among other titles.

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The Female Eunuch

The landmark book in the history of the womens rights movement

By Germaine Greer
  • Read in 10 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 6 key ideas
The Female Eunuch: The landmark book in the history of the womens rights movement by Germaine Greer
Synopsis

The Female Eunuch (1970) is an explosive feminist classic that confronts the societal expectations holding women back. These blinks argue that it’s womankind’s responsibility to create new definitions of femininity and take ownership of their bodies, sex and lives.

Key idea 1 of 6

Society has castrated women.

The qualities that society values in a woman match those of a eunuch – subservience and sexlessness.

Women are expected to be attentive, agreeable and patient. Ambition, confidence and any other signs of a strong personality aren’t tolerated. Rather than actively seeking and taking what they want from the world, women should wait until they’re told what to do. They should show mindless joy when given a gift, demonstrate unfailing devotion to their families and a passionless desire for their husbands.

In pop culture, dominant women typically appear as one of two stereotypes – the cunning and sexy woman or the athletic and arrogant woman.

Whether it’s a blockbuster, a soap opera or a comic book, these dominant female characters are inevitably tamed or overpowered by the hero at the story’s end. Audiences are taught that “dominant” qualities in women, while enticing, will only be detrimental to a man unless he defeats them.

It often seems that the entire concept of “woman” is all aesthetics and no substance. Even the woman’s body should be soft and non-threatening, devoid of signs of power or maturity.

The true essence of the woman is lost as media and brands push women to change their appearances to fit this artificial norm.

By requiring women to behave and appear as if they were castrated, societal norms also communicate the fact that women cannot and should not play a truly equal role in public – or in private.

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