Skip to main content

spotlight-studios
25th October 2010

The Female Eunuch

At its heart The Female Eunuch is a call for freedom from a constricting conformity that still exists.
Categories:
TLDR

At its heart The Female Eunuch is a call for freedom from a constricting conformity that still exists. Although flawed and occasionally quaint today, it’s a furious book that’s far from obsolete.
It’s at its best when angry, which is often. The strongest chapters, such as ‘The Object of Male Fantasy’ and ‘The Stereotype’, are those that attack social conventions, particularly the doll-like ideal of passive femininity. Here the writing is both elegantly mournful, ‘It still comes as a surprise to most people to learn that Marilyn Monroe was a great actress, most pitifully to Marilyn herself, which is one of the reasons why she is dead’, and viciously witty, in gleeful lines like ‘No woman wants to find out that she has a twat like a horse collar’. Its combination of detail and vitriol makes it both academic and engaging.
There’s a lot to digest; slang, class, communism, marriage, education, employment, violence and, of course, sex. Inevitably there are weaknesses. The statistical and psychoanalytical sections feel irrelevant now, some parts are too anecdotal, and occasionally Greer tries too hard to be controversial; ‘Hopefully, this book is subversive’. However, these flaws don’t affect the force of the book’s main arguments.
The final chapter, on revolution, is optimistic, and since its publication in 1970 much has improved. However, as long as ‘c*nt’ remains the worst word one can say and politicians have to defend being unmarried, The Female Eunuch will remain powerful and unsettling.


More Coverage

Pairing Books With Taylor Swift’s The Tortured Poets Department 

To celebrate Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour coming to the UK, we’re here with the perfect book recommendation to match some of our favourite songs!

Audible plunges listeners into the depths of George Orwell’s 1984, leaving me dazed and hooked

Andrew Garfield stars as Winston Smith in ‘George Orwell’s 1984’, bringing Airstrip One to life through Audible’s dramatisation and leaving listeners craving more

The problem with publishing

We often view publishing as a way to make our voices heard on a public scale, but what if it is these same industries creating silence, too?

Spotify vs Audible: The battle for audiobook dominance

With streaming giant Spotify making its first steps into the world of audiobooks, could your next Spotify wrapped be dominated by Sally Rooney and Dolly Alderton rather than Taylor Swift?