Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Germaine Greer, Fay Weldon, and Magnus Linklater Have Some Reading to Do


An extremely off the mark, nudge nudge wink wink article on the so-called collapse of feminism ("At Times Like This, It's Better to Just Be One of the Boys"), by Magnus Linklater, appeared in the Times Online (UK) last week. Writes Linklater,
"Sometimes it’s a relief to be a man. Watching, at a safe distance, the collapse of feminism is a bit like seeing a huge chunk of melting glacier falling into the sea. You know it’s a sign of something serious going on, but you’re glad not to be anywhere near when it happens."
The commentors in the comments section are doing an excellent job setting ole Magnus straight. My favorite is from "PN," from London, who writes:
"This article is based purely on two feminist thinkers [Fay Weldon and Germaine Greer] who have made comments in the last week which have been jumped on and to some extent distorted by the media. Strangely enough, I don't think my only choices of feminist icon are Anne Hathaway or Diana purely because Germaine Greer happens to have said something about them.

There are things to be said in defense of both Weldon and Greer, but I think the more important point is that the opinions of these two people hardly constitute the collapse of feminism. Perhaps you need to get on the internet and investigate some of the blogs and comments on feminist sites which seem to have missed the newsflash that their movement has collapsed."

Aside from the comments, the most interesting tidbit I gleaned here was that Germaine Greer has a new book out called Shakespeare's Wife. One of my all-time favorite moments in literature is Virginia Woolf's speculation about Shakespeare's sister in A Room of One's Own. (He didn't have one, but Woolf imaginatively speculates about her fate nonetheless. What if she had wanted to write?) Anyway, back in real life, apparently men from James Boswell to Anthony Burgess had all assumed that Anne Hathaway (aka Shakespeare's wife) was either "a lustful, scheming woman who lured Shakespeare into a loveless marriage, or an ugly harridan who drove him away by making his life a misery." Greer takes a new look. The book sounds intriguing.

Now, if only Greer and Weldon (heros, truly!) could stop commenting all over the place that feminism is dead among young women long enough to get themselves online and to a bookstore and take a new look themselves, perhaps they'd reconsider. Or maybe not. Either way, though, it would make for a much fresher article. Then again, Magnus may not be the person to write it. He's too busy dreaming of ice chunks and thanking god (or whoever) for having made him a man.

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