germaine greer glances back 40 years or so


Feminism was no sooner recognised as a social force than the commercial media were bound to declare that it was over. The odd woman had barely got her bottom on a seat in the boardroom before we were told that high-flying female executives were ditching wealth and power and opting for stay-at-home motherhood. Contrariwise we were told that now that women could have it all, there was no need for feminist activism or even feminist attitudes. Under the twitter could be heard the rumble of massive change. Something terrible happened to marriage. Why do half of all marriages end in divorce and why are so many of those divorces initiated by the partner who has most to lose, the wife? Is this the end of monogamy and the patriarchal family? Are men and women struggling to arrive at rational systems of child-rearing that do not presuppose the subjection of one partner? Or is it just women? Patterns of cohabitation and parenting are disintegrating and reforming, as women walk away from relationships that are at worst demeaning or dangerous, or at best unfair and unrewarding. At the same time, lovers of the same sex are demanding and winning the right to marry. This may look very like chaos, but chaos is the matrix out of which viable structures form.

more from Germaine Greer at the ALR here.