Renowned second-wave feminist Germaine Greer got caught in a controversy storm this weekend after dismissing trans women as “not real women”.
The Female Eunuch author claimed that women who had begun life as men did not “look like, sound like or behave like women” – even if they undergo surgery and hormone replacement therapy. She also undermined the success of Caitlyn Jenner; accusing the former Olympian of desperately “stealing the limelight” from the rest of the Kardashian women.
“It seems to me that what was going on there was that he/she wanted the limelight that the other, female, members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that,” she said. “I think misogyny plays a really big part in all of this, that a man who goes to these lengths to become a woman will be a better woman than someone who is just born a woman.”
The comments are obviously at odds with the sort of feminism Greer became famous for in the 70s – particularly the parts about how a women should “look”, “sound” and “behave” – and have understandably caused a lot of upset. And unfortunately, it's not for the first time. Greer also came under fire at a Cambridge University talk earlier this year after saying that trans women will never be women because they don't know what it's like to have “big, hairy, smelly vagina”.
The author has refused to apologise for the comments, even after hearing about a recent 2000-strong petition to stop her talking at Cardiff University.
“I don’t really know what I think of (the petition),” Greer told The Guardian. “It strikes me as a bit of a put-up job really because I am not even going to talk about the issue that they are on about.”
“What they are saying is that because I don’t think surgery will turn a man into a woman I should not be allowed to speak anywhere.”