Germaine Greer, the storied feminist thinker whose book, The Female Eunuch, helped mark second-wave feminism in 1970, was greeted with skepticism by a crowd of young Indian women at the Tata Literature Live festival in Mumbai last week, the latest in a series of controversies for Greer.
This time, Greer was told by the crowd that she was being too easy on Indian society for the ways in which they unfairly treat women, according to The Wire. Greer had spoken about how dignified the life of a housewife in India was, and how being a matriarch required skill and diplomacy and held the family together when men migrated. She lauded the way elderly women were treated gently and respectfully in Indian society compared to the way they were discarded in Western society, and said that India’s reputation of violence toward women is unfair given the prevalence of rape in Western culture.
But women in the audience told Greer during the question-and-answer portion of the event that she was painting too “rosy” a picture of the culture, and pointed out that girls eat after boys at family meals, and men want fair complexions in their brides — not intelligence.
“I was only trying to point out the positives, because India is always projected wrongly, and Indians are always willing to say ‘Yes, we are bad.’ You are not bad,” Greer said in response to the audience members’ points.
“I came to India after writing The Female Eunuch to find out if there was another way we could live, another life course,” said Greer. “I fell in love with India. What hurts and annoys me is the common prejudice against India by people who know nothing about it.”
Greer stirred up controversy last month when she made comments claiming transgender women are not real women and criticizing Caitlyn Jenner. Students at Cardiff University, where Greer is scheduled to give a lecture, created a petition protesting her appearance on campus. The lecture is scheduled to go ahead.
Read the full story at The Wire.