Many feminists will feel let down by Germaine Greer this week after she criticised the #MeToo movement. A leading feminist herself, it felt she turned her back on the cause somewhat when she labelled all those who had participated in the phenomenal, online anti-sexual harassment campaign as “whingers”.
Speaking to the media after being named 'Australian of the Year' at an awards ceremony in London, she declared that women should react immediately when faced with sexual abuse or harassment and the #MeToo “business” - as she called it - would not work.
She explained that all the powerful men who were now “in all sorts of trouble” would already be briefing their lawyers. “It's going to be the OJ Simpson trial all over again in spades, it will go on and on, and it will pit woman against woman and I'm really concerned that the women who have given testimony now will be taken to pieces. Because power is power, ultimately, and the people protesting are people who don't have power.”
The author of the Female Eunuch also appeared to speak up in defence of the likes of Harvey Weinstein and Woody Allen. She said if you “spread your legs” because Weinstein said be nice to me and I'll give you a job then “that is tantamount to consent and it's too late now to start whinging about it”.
Of Woody Allen's daughter Dylan Farrow alleging she was sexually abused by him when she was seven, Greer said: “It was 20 years ago, so you want him to stop making movies now? It might be a good idea because he's probably no good any more.”
As you can imagine many women, and men, who previously looked up to Greer, have expressed outrage online about her comments. 'Old dragon' is amongst the politest and more printable.
The fact is, Greer is known for her outspokenness and her forthright manner. It is these very qualities which made people stand up and listen to her many decades ago when feminism was in its infancy and arguably, without her being brave enough to put her head over the parapet then, we wouldn't even be in the position to debate sexual harassment now.
Unfortunately not all women are the emboldened creatures Greer would have them to be, for no fault of their own. And that's why movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp and the 'Women's March' are essential. They give women the courage and strength to unite, in a bid to collectively alter the mindset of society. We still face a huge uphill battle and I recognise Greer's sense of resignation, that there appears very little we can do in the face of such power.
But if we keep collectively raising out voices, then little by little we will start altering what people consider acceptable in society and we will hopefully one day witness a change, which will not just favour those who are prepared to shout out the loudest but every woman, everywhere.
And if all else fails buy Ugg boots – because let's face it without feminism we certainly wouldn't have those. A cocooning, slipper-like boot which women can wear outside the house and which fashion types have condoned can be worn with absolutely everything from jeans to a dress. Unthinkable pre-feminism when 'decent' women only wore heels. Besides Vogue says they are back in a big way this year - literally if you have seen the new thigh high versions – and we need to keep our feet comfy. We've got marching to do.