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The Disappearing Woman

This was the title of Germaine Greer’s talk at York Literature Festival and very powerful it was too.  I’d heard of the gender imbalance in some cultures – more than you’d think – where boys are prized many times more than girls, but I had no idea of its extent until I heard the latest statistics. Millions of female foetuses are aborted each year and many more little girls die as a result of ill treatment or neglect. Those who survive are often condemned to a life of servitude at the hands of their own families and then those that they’re obliged to marry into.

As far as the West is concerned, we’ve come some way since The Female Eunuch (1971) and its sequel The Whole Woman (1999), but there’s certainly no room for complacency, particularly as we get older. It would be a brave man who’d try to get the better of  Germaine Greer, though. As capable as a stand up comic when it comes to dealing with hecklers, she injected a great deal of humour into her serious subject matter last night and the audience roared when she referred to a gushing interviewer who’d assured her that she wasn’t old.

“I’m seventy f***ing five,” she retorted. “Of course I’m old!”

Germaine Greer



21 March, 2014 - Make the first comment on this story

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