Are her critics really answering the question asked above? I'm seeing things like:
The MPs' report... says that Ms Greer takes "no account of the purposes of female genital mutilation, nor the lack of choice for those young girls on whom it is inflicted. Equating the forcible clitoridectomy of an eight-year-old girl with the voluntary body-piercing of an American teenager is absurd"....
Because the operation is often carried out in non-sterile conditions, sometimes using kitchen knives or pieces of glass, there is a risk that the child or woman could die of infections such a septicaemia.But the quoted question refers to "the same right" and to "the Somali woman." Again, I have not read the whole book and don't know everything Greer may have said, but going on only the quoted question above, I see her talking about voluntary surgery, performed within high-quality medical facilities, on adult women. That is what the same right would look like.
What's the answer to that question? Come forward and say that gender reassignment surgery should be forbidden or explain what the difference is! We've learned — within our own culture — to be sympathetic or at least silent and uncritical of our culture-mates who want radical surgical rearrangement of their genitalia. I see Greer's question as a call to examine our own prejudice and hypocrisy. It's a fallacious move to tell us about coerced, unsterile surgery with a blunt instrument performed on a child. What a bad analogy! It's like responding to an argument about consensual adult sex by acting like the topic is the rape of a child at knifepoint.
I got to the linked article — at BBC.com — via Instapundit, who says:
I READ A REVIEW OF HER YEARS AGO THAT SAID NO ACT IS TOO UNSPEAKABLE FOR HER, SO LONG AS THE HAND THAT PERFORMS IT IS SUITABLY BROWN AND WEATHERED: Feminist Icon Germaine Greer Supports Female Genital Mutilation On Grounds Of Cultural Sensitivity. Female eunuchs are okay, so long as they’re not Europeans, I guess.It's funny to say that, but if that's not missing the point, it's missing a point.
I've written a few posts about Germaine Greer over the years. I won't review them all, but the first one was written in the first month of this blog, and I said:
The first time I ever sprang for the hardcover price of a book because I couldn't wait until it came out in paper, it was for a book by Germaine Greer. The price was $5.95. What great fun that book was back then! I well remember the shock--more shocking than Janet Jackson's Superbowl breast--of the photo of the brash feminist as she appeared on the back of the book: she wore heavy eye makeup right when it had seemed that we weren't going to do that any more.Germaine Greer challenges your complacency, and I'm sure she's happy to grab the world's attention one more time by shocking people. I'm sure she'd like to sell some more copies of "The Whole Woman," and frankly, I feel that I need to buy it so I can blog about what it really says, a feeling I'd never had before, but if people are going to get all outraged and pander what look to me like distortions, that's where I go.