Germaine Greer at the Women’s Liberation March in Hyde Park Sydney on the 11th of March 1972. (Getty)
Germaine Greer is an author and intellectual who, at the age of 31, published the 1970 bestseller The Female Eunuch, a canonical feminist text. Her arguments proved hugely influential in the second-wave feminist movement in the latter part of the 20th century.
The opening bars of Led Zeppelin’s Good Times and Bad Times play over the show’s introduction, immediately capturing an at once anarchic and nostalgic spirit (“In the days of my youth…”). Germaine Greer reflects on her youth and the publication of The Female Eunuch – and the media storm that followed it. The show provides further background on the book, explaining how The Female Eunuch fits into the feminist canon alongside the likes of Simone de Beauvoir.
Director Clare Beaven interviews Greer at home in Essex, and chats about flowers and geese are interspersed with loud archival footage of protests and speeches from the late 70s, and Greer’s more fiery comments about a range of modern topics, from #MeToo to marriage. In this way, the film also charts the evolution of Greer’s ideas and how she herself has changed over time.
There are also tributes; Rosie Boycott, Bea Campbell and Camille Paglia speak about the importance of The Female Eunuch: “It was like a fairy godmother bestowing a spell and saying ‘wake up!’,” Boycott says.